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These heels were made for walking

ABHISHEK LAL is co-founder and director merchandising of bestylish. com

Astiletto is a killer dagger with a long, slender blade with a needle point that can inflict considerable hurt. Stiletto heels can be quite killing too but what makes the pain totally worth it is the look of elegance and power they exude.

They could be a mean pair of black boots with spiky silver heels and laces right up to the knee. Or a provocative fire-engine red duo that sets off a short, black dress.

Stiletto heels come in many styles and colours, but in order to be called a stiletto, a shoe must have a very thin heel, although the height can vary from 3 to 12 inches. Stilettos have been around for many decades;there are even drawings dating from the 1800s.

Of course, stilettos cannot really be comfortable in any usual sense of the word. The term "comfortable high heels" is a misnomer. The tiny end of the heel exerts a great deal of pressure, and the feet suffer from being placed in positions that are not natural to the foot. Wearing stilettos too often can cause damage to muscles and bones. So, how has such an uncomfortable, and possibly dangerous, shoe remained popular for decades? The image, of course!

Stilettos give the appearance of height, they cause the wearer to flex her calf muscles, change her posture and the way she walks. Wearing stilettos makes the legs look longer and slimmer and who wouldn't want that?

When shopping for stilettos, choose the pointy toe ones as they make the legs look longer and you thinner. Stay away from cheap brands, which are not well-made, are hugely uncomfortable, might break while walking or twist your ankles. Take your pick from Indian brands like Tresmode, Carlton London, Veruschka or international
brands like D&G, Guess, Ed Hardy, Vivenne Westwood.

Four things are important while selecting the right pair of stilettos:

1. FIT |

The toe should always fit in snuggly. When buying pointy toes do remember that the narrow pointy toe is only for style and not for squeezing the foot into it.

2. SIZE |

While walking in stilettos, the feet tend to get pushed forward. Therefore get half a size bigger if the need be but make sure that they do not flop off your heel while walking. For added comfort look for built-in comfort features such as gel insoles and padded footbeds or else buy inserts specially designed for stilettos.

3. HEEL |

The heel of the stilettos should be centered right under your heel.

4. ARCH |

Due to the high heel the foot stays at an awkward angle. Therefore, arch support becomes critical. The arch of the stilettos should be completely supported by the sole and should have a 'shank' which is a piece of metal or fibreglass, about half an inch wide and 4-5 inches long, running along the length of the arch. Now, that you have selected your stilettos, get ready to walk in them. The higher the heel, the less steady you are likely to be on your feet and the greater the chance of twisting your ankle and falling. So, start by standing in your stilettos for a minute, then gradually increasing the time, until you feel comfortable with your balance. Now, you are ready to start walking.
Practise walking up and down from the mirror to see how your gait appears. While walking, land with your heel first followed by the ball of the toes and finally the toes. Follow the heel-ball-toe rhythm. Remember, never put your entire weight on the heels. It will help if you stand straight, stomach in and chest out. If you feel unbalanced, do not worry. The heels are there to anchor you.
You should never wear your stilettos for more than 12 hours at a stretch because high heels can shorten the Achilles tendon over a period of time. In addition, do toe stretches once you kick off the stilettos. This will help give relief to the leg muscles.

Reader's opinion (1)

Romi MittalOct 16th, 2012 at 06:04 AM

The stilettos are 'high' on style,but absymally low on comfort and foot health! So, if you are one of those (and 75% are)who would compromise on ankle twists & tendon stretches;rather then give up on the tottering fashinable heels.....Well,STEADY PUHLEEZE!! :)

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