Let's face it, we have a love hate relationship with high heels because they look so dreamy, but THEY HURT SO MUCH. (All these feelings put wonderfully into words right here).
So, we spoke to Sargossa's Nanna Liv—the lady that invented the comfortable high heel—to find out what you should look out for when shopping for new shoes.
1. Make sure the shoe fits. "It might seem obvious, but it's key to remember that the shoe needs to fit your foot and not the other way round," Nanna says. "If shoes are too big or too small, it makes walking properly that much more difficult."
2. Choose styles with a padded sole. If you're adding insoles yourself, "It's important to buy your shoes a size bigger as inserts often take up space in your heels causing them to be smaller," Nanna explains.
"Alternatively, you can buy heels where the comforting insoles are integrated inside, which avoids the problem of an insole taking up unexpected space."
3. "Avoid a wobbly walk by strengthening your ankle muscles," Nanna says. "I recommend an exercise done by dancers, which involves sitting on the floor and spelling out the alphabet with your toes. This will train your ankles, and make you feel more stabilized in a higher heel over time.
"Even a quick foot massage moving your foot in circles clockwise and anti-clock wise can be beneficial for tired feet at work."
4. Give your toes room to breathe. "I highly recommend open toe heels as much as possible, as they allow your toes to lay in their natural way, without being squeezed on top of each other," Nanna says.
"If you need a closed pump make sure you buy them big enough and that they are wide enough for your feet, so they are able to lie next to each other comfortably."
5. Stick to leather. "Synthetic materials don't allow your feet to breathe, as well as natural fibers and flexible material such as leather," Nanna explains.
6. If your feet aren't used to heels, start out low and practice, practice, practice. "Put on a low heel and wear them for 15 minutes at home, then increase the practice time over the next days," Nanna advises.
7. Heels may actually be better for you than flats. "Feet are naturally shaped to be raised slightly from the ground (I'm not saying stilettos height here, but smaller heels such as 2.5 to 5 cm)," Nanna says. "And for some women it can be better to wear a heel then wearing a super flat shoe, which hold no support. Flats can cause the arches of the feet to drop and the ligaments and tendons to overstretch, or even tear."
8. Get the walk right. Nanna says: "Engage your abdominal muscles, keep your shoulders back, and secure long hair behind your shoulders.
"This helps if you have any pain in the balls of your feet to counterbalance your weight back onto the heels and prevent back pain."
9. Never look down at your feet. Instead focus ahead, as far down the road as you can. "Walk heel to toe, and get in good rhythm," Nanna says.
10. Be careful with buckles. "A tight strap around your foot can cause discomfort," Nanna says. "If wearing buckles in the summer heat, adjust them throughout the day so your feet can breathe when they get hot, or buy sandals with an elastic band instead of buckles."
11. People often say that sky-high heels are sexier than shorter styles, but there's no point going for a higher heel if you're unable to walk in them. Nanna says: "I believe it is also how you walk and hold your posture in a pair of heels that makes you look sexy."
12. The heel isn't the only thing to watch out for—you should pay attention to the platform, too. "A heel height that is more than 12 cm high with no platform will put pressure on the ball of your foot up to 86% of your body weight," Nanna explains.
"However, adding in a platform of 3cm will leave the pressure drastically decreased to around 56-65% of your body weight. So, think about a drop in a heel height next time you take down a pair of stilettos from the shelves when shopping."
13. If you are concerned about your comfort in a high heel Nanna suggests "looking for a slightly thicker heel that will make your balance your body posture easier because the really thin heels can but be stressful for your balance and your ankles."
14. Don't get blinded by the brand. A label isn't everything. "Even though you might love a certain brand, if the shoe simply doesn't fit your foot, then you won't be able to enjoy them" says Nanna.
This article originally appeared on Cosmopolitan.co.uk. Minor edits have been made by the Cosmo.ph editors.