Easing high heel pain
February 10, 2011 (WPVI) -- Strappy, sling back, stiletto, pointy, and platform are all popular shapes that sometimes make it hard for the shoe obsessed to forgive the "lows" of wearing high heels.Consumer Reports recruited real-life high heel wearing women and sent them to the streets to test out four drug store insoles that cost less than $13.00 a pair.
"The women did a lot of walking for this test. Each did a total of almost five and a half miles," said Jody Rohlena of Consumer Reports ShopSmart.
So did any of the cushions protect them from the pound of the pavement? Well, the ladies weren't smitten with Dr. Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles or Insolia High Heel Inserts.
"My shoes didn't feel any more comfortable than they did without them," said Valerie England.
They found Foot Petals Killer Kushionz to be a bit more comfy but said the sticky strips were a shoe killer.
"The whole lining is torn out and it looks really yucky now. It's not a nice shoe," said Desiree Ferenczi.
The Fab Feet Three-Quarter Insoles from Target provided better padding for the panelists, but in the end they said not one pair saved them from their daily stiletto sting, and they'd rather save their money.
"You wear them to work every day, you run around the city, you're on the concrete - nature doesn't understand this," said Dr. Edward Chairman of the Foot Center at the Tuttleman Center.
He's not a heel hater, but Dr. Chairman does have a three-step program to save your tootsies from hammer toes, bunions, bumps and bruises.
First, he said don't have a full on-affair with your heels, just flirt.
"I don't call them high heels. I call them '2 hour shoes'. You're going out for the evening - you want to look nice - put them on," he said.
Next, he said consider a little high heel infidelity!
"A cheater would have a very thin platform built into it."
He calls it a cheater because the platform adds height without increasing the pitch or artificial arch.
"Number 1, it's getting less of an incline than you would have normally and number 2, there's padding."
He said without that extra layer, very little stands between your feet and the concrete.
Finally the doctor said shoe shop later in the day when your feet are more swollen to give yourself a little extra wiggle room, and if the heels aren't heaven at the first step leave them in the store.
"Shoes do not get broken in shoes break feet in. That's really how it works," said Dr. Chairman.
More tips from Dr. Edward Chairman, The Foot Center:
Here's why: Your Achilles tendon and calf can shorten when you wear heels too often and that can cause permanent damage. Stretching can alleviate this.
Here's one the doctor recommends:
Stand up straight. Bend your front knee, arch your back, straighten your back leg and make sure both feet are firmly planted on the floor. You can stretch your arms out forward and push against a wall.
Do this for 10 seconds on each side daily.
More tips from Consumer Reports ShopSmart:
Company statements concerning Consumer Reports insole test:
Foot Petals & Fab Feet "Think of insoles as preventive maintenance," says Tina Aldatz, President & Founder of Foot Petals. "Designer insoles like Foot Petals and Fab Feet are made with performance urethanes which are shock absorbing and breathable which creates a comfortable, protective barrier for the bones and skin. Sweat, bacteria, odor, gravity and pressure points are a perfect recipe for disaster each step of the way. If the insoles didn't stick permanently to the shoe, chances are they would move around or fall out. Foot Petals cushions never go flat and are guaranteed to last the lifetime of the shoe.
Dr. Scholl's Dr. Scholl's is America's #1 brand of foot care products, and we utilize the latest technology and research to design our inserts.
As the first and only full line of foot care products designed specifically for women, Dr. Scholl's For Her has dedicated resources to understanding and meeting women's unique foot care needs.
In clinical studies, Dr. Scholl's For Her products have shown to significantly improve foot comfort for women when wearing high heels.
Insolia The quick response is -- The comments reported in the magazine article suggest that the ShopSmart testers did not follow our instructions, or they had the wrong size inserts, or both.
Our product has been tested independently by various organizations and laboratories around the world. It is the only product that has multiple US patents for shifting weight off the ball of the foot in high heel shoes.
We wrote to the Editor of ShopSmart, Ms. Lisa Freeman on January 26, 2011 expressing our concerns with their testing, testing methods and their conclusions reported in the March issue of ShopSmart Magazine. I have attached a copy of this letter for your convenience.
The summary is that they got the cause of high heel problems correct, "High heels distribute your weight abnormally," but their testing methods and rating criteria did not address this problem. Their four rating criteria are based on conventional comfort products, which are one size fits all, gel or foam cushions. Insolia Inserts do not cushion, they shift weight.
Redistribution of weight and proper support requires a firm material, not a soft plastic "gel" or foam.
Redistribution of weight and proper support also requires proper size and placement in the shoe. The Insolia High Heel Insert is different from any other product in the market. Insolia Inserts are fixed in the heel of the shoe; no part of them should be under the forefoot.
We know from our customer surveys that many respondents needed to reposition the Insolia Insert during the installation process. This is required in order to find the correct position of the Insolia Insert for the individual's foot in the particular shoe. This is spelled out in the product instructions.
Some of the independent organizations and laboratories that have tested and issued published reports on our product include the American Podiatric Medical Association, the University of Wales, and various Japanese government agencies. There have been several public testing of our product, including a recent Dr. Oz segment with a nationally recognized Podiatrist. More importantly, since we have made our technology available, millions of consumers around the world have continued to buy our product because it works for them. Many of our customers review their experience with Insolia. One of my favorite independent reviews was from the Stiletto Jungle Blog. This sums it up:
"So, for the sake of this experiment, I broke out the one and only pair of truly uncomfortable shoes I own. These babies are 4 1/2 inches of pure pointy toe divaliciousness poised on a single thin stiletto with nary a platform in sight. Seriously, they are so high that I practically get a nosebleed just by putting them on. They are not shoes for the weak at heart.
When I got the Insolia Inserts situated, after a rather involved procedure that required me to reposition several times, and finally tried on my shoes I was unimpressed. They felt just like the shoes always do when I first put them on: high, and not exactly sneaker-ish, but not painful. 10 hours later-- after a full day in the office and then hoofing it around the city from mailbox, to grocery store, to dry cleaner-- they felt the exact same. No squishy softness. I was disappointed until I stopped and thought about it. 10 hours in 4 1/2 inch stilettos and they still felt the exact same as when I first put them on. Damn. That's impressive."
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