How to wear high heel shoes for beginners

Last updated August 16, 2016

There is a saying that Norwegians are born with skis on their feet. We women would certainly like to be born with heels on our feet. If that’s not the case and you have never worn pumps before, there is some training you should go through in order to walk well in heels.

How to choose high heels

Let us be clear from the beginning that every woman should know her highest heel height. If you weren’t aware of it, there is a top height that is unique for each woman. You shouldn’t wear heels higher than the maximum height, and you probably won’t be able to do so. Here is how you find your max heel height:

Stand up on your tiptoes as high as you can. Stand next to a wall and mark the point on the wall approximately in the middle of your heel. The height from the floor to the point is your natural maximum heel height.

max heel height

The heel of a shoe may be higher if the shoe has a platform or an elevated bottom sole.

Scientists in England have also come up with a formula that you can use to calculate your highest heel height in a given moment of your life. I’m not sure if it’s good, but here is a reference to the formula if you’d like to try it out.

How to start wearing heels

If you have never worn high heel shoes, I would recommend to start with a lower heel or a wedge to get a little bit of confidence. This will make your feet adopt gradually and you will wear your high heels more gracefully later.

If you don’t have the patience to build up confidence, here is a couple of quick start steps to try to make the process as short as possible.

  1. Start at home. Put the heels on. Stand straight up for a while to get the feeling of the right posture.
  2. Walk forward while trying to not to bend either forwards or backwards. Walk along a line (like the test the drunk people do in front of police officers).
  3. The proper way to walk in heels is to walk from heel to toe. Not toe to heel! Only your feet and the behind should move from side to side. Watch your back it shouldn’t move! Hold your head straight up.
  4. Walk in small steps. Do not try to run or be in a hurry.
  5. Walk at home for a while and then take a break. Walk again.
  6. Go outside and walk to the nearest shop or any other place not too far away. Watch your back and the head! Practice walking in high heels until you get used to wearing them without falling and bending your body.
  7. Go longer and longer distances for each day until finally you are able to wear the heels naturally. Check your posture in windows. Is it still straight up?

Wasn’t it quite clear what to do? Watch this great video for more tips for walking in extremely high heels like stilettos:

Buy a lower heel if you are unable to wear the high ones with the straight head. It is nicer to walk beautifully than to have the highest possible heel and walk like a duck.

Easiest heels to walk in

The lower the heel, the more easier it is to walk in it. That is a general rule. Every rule has exceptions:

  • Shoes with a platform or a padded bottom are easier to wear due to a lower elevation of the foot.
  • If the heel is too far back, then it will be more difficult to wear shoes. Choose a more comfortable heel to wear in the beginning. And with this I mean: do not start with wearing Louboutin shoes!
  • Choose heels with straps in the beginning. This will help you hold the shoe on the foot. At least it won’t fall off!
  • If the toes of the shoes cover your toes completely, then the shoes will hold better and you will have better time practicing to walk.

Ollio Women's Shoe Platform Open Toe High Heel Ribbon Accent Multi Color Pump

In short, start with heels that other people consider comfortable and work your way thereafter.

How should high heels fit

The heels are not supposed to be loose or be too tight.

  1. Not too tight! If you take on the shoes and they are tight, chances are your feet will hurt badly after a while. Your feet muscles work a lot while walking in high heels and that will make them swell a bit, especially if the shoe is made of closed leather.
  2. Not too loose! If the shoe is loose, the muscles of your feet will have to work extra hard to hold the shoe. This will make your feet tired fast.

The heels must fit just right!

Books to read

There are several very good books on how to walk in high heels.

There are also books with style on how to walk in high heels and about fashion in general: