As Dr. Archer explains, all feet experience discomfort in heels over two inches because it places excess body weight upon the ball of the foot. And after hours of standing, dancing, and walking, this begins to take a toll.
To avoid post-party foot pain, there are a few key factors to keep in mind. As a general rule, she says, try to avoid shoes with a thin heel that’s over three inches and/or a narrow toe area. Shoe inserts can also provide a great deal of relief.
Wearing high heels during the holiday party circuit is a recipe for foot pain, but you’re probably going to do it anyway. After all, that’s why bought those sparkly stilettos in the first place. “I have never and will never say not to wear beautiful heels to complement an outfit,” says Dr. Krista Archer, DPM, PC, a New York-based podiatrist. However, she emphasizes that every foot type can take precautions to prevent foot pain after a holiday party.
Before going out, there are specific foot stretches – aka “foot yoga,” if you will – that will help prevent soreness. Point and flex your feet, holding each position for 5 seconds, and repeat to improve mobility in the feet. Then, do a few toe curls to warm up the flexor muscles. Repeating a few sets of each can help to ensure that muscles are providing the best support while you’re dancing the night away.
Of course, there are plenty of products to look into, too. If you have a demanding party schedule in the coming weeks, keep reading for the pro-approved products that will prevent foot pain and save your soles from high heels this holiday season.
1 YogaToes Gems ($30; amazon.com)
As a holiday gift to your little piggies, check out these bedazzled foot-fixers. Something of an Amazon legend, these toe stretchers have a 4.4 rating out of a whopping 2000+ reviews. They’re made of medical-grade gel and work to stretch out the toes while pushing the foot’s bone structure into proper alignment. Think of them like a post-party chiropractic tune-up for your feet.
2 Barefoot Scientist PreHeels+ Blister Prevention Spray ($16; cvs.com)
Nothing will render you totally out of commission like a painful blister. Enter: This miraculous foot spray. The patented formula creates a no-budge barrier that reduces friction for up to six hours.
3 FootPetals Tip Toes Pack ($20 for 3 pairs; shopbop.com)
These nifty cushion inserts help to take some of the pressure off the balls of your feet and absorb shock more evenly for pain-free steps.
4 Natori 2-Pack Exceptionally Sheer Control-Top Tights with Sole Cushion ($54/set of 2; neimanmarcus.com)
Consider these tights with cushioned soles a new seasonal staple. This two-pack comes with an ultra-sheer nude and black pair that can be wore with everything from pumps to booties.
5 Saucony Originals Bullet ($38; zappos.com)
Trust and believe that a pair of extra-slim sneaks can get you to-and-from parties pain-free. Store them with your coat during the party, then discreetly slip them back on before you leave.
6 Dr. Jart+ Dermask Foot Smoothing Mask ($12; sephora.com)
Treat your feet to warming foil mask after a night out. Thermotherapy technology not only soothes sore soles, but also infuses callused skin with moisturizing ingredients. Kick back for 20 minutes and your weary feet will feel renewed.
7 Vertly CBD Infused Bath Salts ($29; credobeauty.com)
Have some more time to unwind after a night out in heels? Try these detoxifying bath salts. Lavender, lemon, clary sage, and CBD are the ultimate source of relief for tired, stressed-out feet. Tip: No bathtub, no problem. Try soaking just your feet in a large bowl or pot of hot water.
8 HUE Cushioned Foot Tights ($18.50; zappos.com)
If you prefer opaque tights for winter, this is the pair for you. Extra padding in the footbed makes them much more comfortable than regular pantyhose – even for all-day wear.
9 Lord Jones + Tamara Mellon High CBD Formula Stiletto Cream ($70; sephora.com)
A foot massage is a podiatrist-approved technique for before or after time spent in heels. This massage cream, a collaboration from cult-favorite CBD brand Lord Jones and shoe designer Tamara Mellon, contains 200 mg of CBD. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties will help take the sting out of wearing stilettos.
10 Vionic Gemma Plush Slippers ($80; vionicshoes.com)
These slippers have all the fluff appeal of any cozy pair you’d want on your feet, but they also have an orthotic footbed, so any time spent padding around at home is also doing your feet some good.