Flats or Heels: What You Need to Know

heel inserts

If you’re suffering from heel pain, the proper footwear can go a long way. In some cases, it can even relieve your pain completely. For those with foot pain, the old saying of “if the shoe fits, wear it” isn’t always true. In reality, it’s quite the opposite. The shoe not only should fit properly, but it should provide ample support and cushioning and keep your foot in a natural position.

But sometimes life gets in the way: a pair of athletic shoes are typically the most comfortable, but that doesn’t always go with a fancy dress for a wedding or business suit for your big presentation. And the reality is that flats don’t always provide the proper support needed, especially if you have foot pain or problems.

There’s no hard and fast rule on whether flats or heels are ideal, but instead you should go with what works for you and the situation. However, adding shoe inserts for heel pain, high heel insoles or other types of inserts can always help reduce and alleviate foot pain, as they will help support your foot and offer additional cushioning.

Keep in mind that different insoles are for different ailments, and you should be choosing the right one not only for your specific ailment but for your type of foot as well. Check out our guide for choosing the best shoe insoles for heel pain as well as our product finder to select your ideal insole. There are insoles for flats, high heel insoles and much more.

When it comes to selecting flats or heels, think about what is most comfortable to you as well as the situation you’ll be in. If you’ll be on your feet all day and not in a business setting, opt for a pair of shoes that are most comfortable to you –that could be flats with an insole for extra support or even tennis shoes. If you’ll be seated, you can opt for a heel or tighter flat that may be uncomfortable if you were standing.

It’s also important to take into consideration your own foot health. For example, if you have a bunion, you may want to make sure all your shoes offer plenty of room to wiggle your toes and not put additional pressure on the bunion. Some podiatrists recommend not wearing a heel that is higher than 2” under any circumstances.

If high heels are a must, make sure you’re selecting the right kind. Don’t ever purchase a pair of heels (or shoes, in general!) without trying them on first. It’s not enough to just try them on in the store, either. Take some time to walk around while at the store, and maybe even consider wearing them around your house for a few hours to make sure they’re still comfortable. Just don’t take them outside or get them dirty so you can return them if need be. A properly fitting heel should not be too constricting or tight, it shouldn’t ever be painful and it should give your toes plenty of room to wiggle around.

The same shopping advice is true for flats! Wear them around the store and your home to ensure they’re still comfortable a few hours later. Ballet flats can sometimes be too tight, but can also stretch over time, so wearing them for a bit can help determine if they’ll loosen up. Don’t be afraid to ask the salesperson helping you if that particular pair tends to stretch or not. If they don’t stretch and feel too tight when putting them on, that might not be the best pair for you. If they are too tight now, imagine how they’ll be after a long day on your feet!

Don’t be afraid to add an insole for extra support and cushion to even high heels, and to seek the advice of a doctor for their recommendation based on your specific foot ailments.