Walking gracefully in heels isn’t easy, especially if you just started wearing them. The secret to walking gracefully in heels lies in the way you move your body while wearing high heels. If you want to walk gracefully, you need to be aware of your body posture, the way you stand and even how you move your legs while walking in high heels. Following these seven tricks will help you walk more gracefully in heels and make sure that everyone notices how beautiful your shoes are.
1) Take your time
Before you run out and buy those towering stilettos, practice walking around in a pair of flats or a low-heeled shoe. Get used to how they feel under your feet, because that’s how they’ll feel with every step. You may want to prop up one foot on a chair or ottoman while you put on your shoes so you can practice standing and sitting down with them on. And if you’re still struggling to balance when you stand up from a seated position, try tying an old towel around your waist. The added weight will help steady you as you get accustomed to wearing high heels.
2) Wear the right socks
You’ll feel more comfortable when you wear socks that suit your shoes, but they also help prevent blisters. Cotton socks are best for closed-toe shoes, while athletic socks are a good choice for sandals and open-toed pumps. If you’re wearing a shoe with an open toe or cutout, cover your toes with bandages. They keep skin from touching fabric and causing pain or blistering. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different types of socks until you find what works best for you.
3) Adjust the heel height
According to shoe designer Lauren Rothman, who specializes in custom-made high-heeled shoes, a little heel height is key when it comes to walking. The best kind of heel is anywhere from one half of an inch to two inches, she explains. The lower you go below that range, however, you risk having your feet slip out and fall out from under you—which can be extremely painful and awkward for everyone involved. (We don’t recommend going below 1/2 inch.)
4) Choose flatter shoes
Instead of going for those sky-high stilettos, opt for heeled sandals or boots. The extra cushioning and support provided by these flat shoes will reduce your chance of tripping and falling over. Keep in mind that if you don’t want to fall on your face when you’re walking on a slippery surface, it’s best to avoid suede shoes. These tend to get wet easily, making them even more slippery than regular leather shoes. Also remember that your feet are widest at their base; choose a shoe with an open toe box rather than one with straps across it so there’s plenty of room for your toes to spread out comfortably.
5) Stand tall and confident
By taking a deep breath and pushing your shoulders back, you’ll instantly feel more confident and stand up straighter. You’ll appear taller and more slender, making it easier to move smoothly on heels—even if you’re not so good at walking. Practice standing up straight with good posture before walking around in your favorite stilettos. When trying out new shoes, always practice first. Don’t let anything stop you from practicing until you get it right! The same goes for walking in heels: practice makes perfect! If you find yourself tripping or falling while wearing your heels, don’t give up—you will get better!
6) Walk slowly and straight ahead
Instead of walking as if you were wearing sneakers, pace yourself with a slow and straight gait. Don’t lean forward or backward and keep your knees bent slightly. You should feel comfortable enough to hold a conversation while walking in heels—if not, then they’re probably too high for you. If you can’t do it naturally, practice it before going out. Practice makes perfect! And be sure to add extra padding to avoid sore feet later on.
7) Know where you are going
One of my friends once made me promise her I would never, ever wear high heels when I wasn’t aware of where I was going. A stiletto heel can become a lethal weapon very quickly, especially if you don’t know what’s ahead of you. The most graceful walkers are those who know exactly where they are going—and if it means switching into flats, then so be it. If you’re wearing heels for an evening out, be sure to bring along a pair of flats that match your outfit; if your shoes have straps or buckles, take them off before hitting the dance floor (or at least loosen them). That way, if your feet start hurting too much or you need to run for a taxi, you won’t have to worry about fumbling with tiny buckles and straps while holding onto your drink and shawl.