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How I learned to walk in high heels.

There are only a few pairs of shoes I own that cannot be walked in for at least one mile on city streets. It’s a requirement, because I don’t drive.

My first pair of proper heels were Marc Jacobs, 3.5″ polka-dot peep toes. I knew this woman who wore heels all the time, open toed, in London, all year round. (Imagine riding the Tube) She was this Indian bombshell, and she just looked like she was born in high heels. I asked her to show me how to walk in heels and she said, “Practice, practice, practice.”

  1. Practice at home first.
  2. Walk slower, take smaller steps.
  3. Always step heel-toe.
  4. Practice walking in heels when you at work, wear them all day, so you get used to it. You can walk to work in ballet flats (or flip flops if you’re worried about ruining the pedi).
  5. Practice walking outside, for short trips, like going out for dinner.
  6. After a while you become a pro, and you don’t even think about it.

My experience is that walking in heels is more about developing the right muscles in your legs to support your body rather than about putting all your weight on the balls of your feet. If you compare it to core strengthening, or using a bosu, and think about as developing strength it becomes easier to visualize walking in heels.

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27 comments for “How I learned to walk in high heels.”

  1. Great advice, but noooooo not flip-flops! Ballet flats are soooo much nicer ^_^

    Posted by Icy | June 27, 2007, 8:36 pm
  2. I usually don’t wear high heels because I am so tall (5ft11 I think) so when I do get up on heels I do find it find it difficult to walk. I am surely missing the “get used to it” part. If only I’d be surrounded by people taller than me… never have been and probably never will be. but I do love heels.
    probably because I can’t really wear them without feeling above everybody:))

    Posted by dianabobar | June 28, 2007, 12:17 am
  3. I never really think too much about them - I guess I have been wearing my heels so long I had forgotten about having to LEARN to walk in them - maybe since i was “practicing” in my mom’s since I was a little girl. Every once in a while I buy new shoes and my best friend says, “how do you walk in those?” She never wears heels, not even on her wedding day. I guess those of us who do wear them just about every day have a talent :-)

    Posted by JO | June 28, 2007, 8:15 am
  4. acutally, i really like flip-flops… they remind me of hawaii.
    ; )

    but i can see the point about ballet flats!

    diana! tall is sooo cool, i love it when tall women wear heels… it says confidence like nothing else!

    jo… you must have been so cute in your mom’s heels. : )

    Posted by jennine | June 28, 2007, 8:55 am
  5. my son likes to wear my heels too, 3 years old and i say nooo that’s for girls! ok, thanks for the walking tips, my heels are getting lonely! i realized that i need to buy heels that have some sort of straps to keep it on my feet. it seems to be hard to walk without them slipping off in the back.

    oh yes, i like your white outfits so perfect for summer, i love it!


    Posted by Anonymous | June 28, 2007, 9:48 am
  6. I love your new header.

    And I cannot live without high heels.

    Posted by eurobrat | June 28, 2007, 10:43 am
  7. the problem i have with longer walks in nice heels in that i ruin the shoes a lot more quickly. Any tips on how not to wear out the shoes?? I’m moving to NYC soon so I’m concerned :)

    Posted by Erin S. | June 28, 2007, 11:50 am
  8. I HATE practicing wearing heels. I love them I own quite a lot but I never wear them because I feel so insecure. Well I’m quite tall (5ft11) and even taller while wearing them and when I feel everyone staring at me I at least should walk properly in them…

    Posted by f&art | June 28, 2007, 11:52 am
  9. Love your new header, by the way…

    Posted by f&art | June 28, 2007, 11:53 am
  10. thank you! i was feeling kind of insecure about the new header, so thanks!

    lilly: heehe my nephew does the same thing. it’s cute!

    erin: i know what you mean about the heels… i wear chunkier heels and rotate my shoes as much as possible.

    f&art: you are a such a beautiful woman, and if you wore heels, you would bring alot of attention to that. it would be a striking sight!
    : )

    eurobrat: i can’t live without heels either…

    Posted by jennine | June 28, 2007, 1:10 pm
  11. This is great! More women need these lessons, but the truth is that no matter how hard your calves are or how tight your back is, heels are just not meant to be worn without physical impair.

    Doesn’t stop me though!

    For those wondering how to protect the shoes during long distances, check out SmartHeel.com. A fabulous little invention to protect those gems.

    Posted by ragstyles | June 28, 2007, 9:14 pm
  12. Another suggestion for practicing in heels is when you’re doing the grocery shopping, and I’m not talking about buying a quick something on the way home. Take a trolley (if your local supermarket has them) and walk up and down the aisles using the trolley for support. No obstacles to get in the way, just smooth, and more importantly straight, flooring.

    Posted by JD | June 28, 2007, 9:47 pm
  13. I’ve become so used to heels, now 5 inch heels aren’t quite high enough, and now I even climb & balance myself on 7 ft high opposite shelves in said stilettos.

    I used to run down the street in them when I was younger, but I think I’m too scared I’ll bust my butt.

    Posted by Candid Cool | June 28, 2007, 11:17 pm
  14. great post. I am trying to re-train myself to wear heels. I love them so.
    but walking so much in nyc I’ve just b/c used to wearing flats for fear of falling down.
    xo, BG

    Posted by Bergdorf Girl | June 29, 2007, 6:35 am
  15. InStyle had a great article recently about buying and wearing heels, what women should look for, etc. After reading it, I felt that it was sort of a “must read” for all women who love heels, but feel daunted, or those of us troopers who live and love them.

    Posted by Ashe | July 1, 2007, 1:00 pm
  16. hi there, new to your blog but loving it already.
    great tips on the heels walking, i fear i am a flip flop (or thongs as we say here in aus) kinda girl through and through!

    Posted by beth | July 3, 2007, 2:22 am
  17. Ooh.. I was pretty much obsessing over this very thing the week of prom. In order to prepare myself for my 2 inch heels, I bought 3 inch heels and started walking in them. After a while, the 2 inch pair seemed like nothing at all and I wondered why I had trouble with them in the first place. So when people tell you to start small, do the opposite.

    Posted by Georgia | July 23, 2007, 8:55 pm
  18. georgia that is excellent advice!

    Posted by jennine | July 23, 2007, 9:03 pm
  19. I routinely wear 5″ heels and 5.5″ ones for special occasions. I found that if I wore higher heels like Georgia the lower height was really nothing. The 5″ are no problem for me now, but if I’m going to go out with the 5.5″ heels, I’ll wear some 6″ pumps around the house for a few hours before. It works for me

    Posted by Anonymous | August 20, 2007, 6:03 am
  20. I am very young (16) and my mother wants me to become a model because of my height and everything. She put me in modeling classes at John Casablancas and I think I am doing fine. See here is my problem I am already tall enough at 16. I am 5′8. And the requirements for the class is to have stiletto heels that are 4 to 5 inches tall. I can hardly walk in 2 inch heels. I am fine with walkin in wedge heels but we cant wear that. Can somebody please give me some advice.!!

    Posted by Anonymous | September 22, 2007, 1:41 pm
  21. anon….wow that’s amazing your mom has such hopes for you to be a model! is it something you want too?

    the only piece of advice other than was was written already in the post, is to just practice. when you get home, put on the 4 inch heels, and wear them… it really helps you to feel more natural in them if you are used to wearing them.

    the only thing i have to say about heels, is a lot of women don’t feel natural in them, and that’s the biggest hurdle.

    practice, my dear. you will be stellar!
    : )

    Posted by jennine | September 23, 2007, 2:25 pm
  22. I learned to walk in heels by first learning to dance in heels. Latin dancing is a great way to get addicted to height and style (and to get that natural and sexy hip-swing).

    Posted by joanium | January 15, 2008, 4:32 pm
  23. What a great post!

    I’ve never been able to handle heals and I thought I was the only one! Now I see how I can tackle those suckers! THANKS!

    Posted by Phat Like Me | January 15, 2008, 8:43 pm
  24. This was a great post - and I practice too!

    I’ve also found something else: walking on concrete streets and sidewalks is much more effort than walking on wooden floors… practicers take note!

    Posted by Henna | January 15, 2008, 9:05 pm
  25. I fell in love with super high stiletto pumps with a stiff sole. I bought five pairs! Unfortunately, although I am comfortable wearing high shoes, my foot walks out of the shoe every few steps because the sole is not flexible. What can I do? Will practice improve how I walk in these ones? How can manufacturers sell a ’shoe’ that merely sits on the foot, and is impossible to walk in? Can someone tell me what I’m missing?

    Posted by Lisa | April 6, 2008, 7:52 am
  26. [...] been a while since I’ve worn high heels on a daily basis. A year ago, I was walking around the streets of San Francisco one of my many pairs of heels, no problem. Since my lifestyle has [...]

    Posted by Comfort, Stripes & Lace | THE COVETED | May 27, 2008, 9:36 am
  27. yes, developing the right muscles, can’t agree with u more. thats true.

    Posted by pony | October 23, 2008, 2:47 am

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