Shoes shouldn’t hurt—plain and simple. And yet, the reality is that many pairs cause shoe pain in your feet, toes, ankles, and heels. Heel pain is a particularly common condition caused by either plantar fasciitis or Achilles tendonitis. Sometimes, the pain can be so intense that you’re unable to put any weight on your feet. Walking, running, or dancing? Forget it.
Heel pain is inconvenient, to say the least, and can really inhibit you from living your life and rocking the styles that speak to you. Luckily, there are several remedies for this issue, and the footwear experts at Vionic are here to lay it all out for you. Read on for a breakdown of how to make shoes not hurt heels.
What to Do if Your Shoes Are Causing Heel Pain
If you’ve ever put fashion styles above comfortable shoes for women and men, you’re not alone. It happens to the best of us, but it doesn’t need to be this way. So, what should you do if shoes always hurt your heels? There are a variety of simple techniques and products on the market designed to address the problem.
If your shoes cause heel pain, try:
- Heel grips
- Different socks
- Moleskin or bandaids
- Breaking them in at home
- Orthotic shoe inserts
- Supportive shoe
The effectiveness of these options depends on the nature of your discomfort and your preferences. Here’s what you should know about each method.
1. Use Heel Grips
Ill-fitting footwear is often a culprit for painful heels—particularly shoes that are too loose. Heel grips stick into the heel counters in the back of your shoes. They’re usually made of gel, moleskin, or another thin cushioned material with adhesive on the back.¹
When your feet slide around in a pair of shoes, it can wreak havoc not only on your heels but also on your arches, ankles, and toes. Heel grips help keep your foot in the proper position, which stabilizes your stride.
2. Get Serious About Socks
Similar to the idea behind heel grips, thick socks can make a big difference when wearing shoes that are a little loose. And unfortunately, no-show socks won’t cut it. Make sure you select a pair that covers the entire back of your heel and Achilles tendon, as this will prevent slippage and rubbing.
3. Wear Deodorant—on Your Feet
Believe it or not, underarm deodorant can be really helpful in minimizing foot pain and discomfort.² Aside from reducing body odors, antiperspirant blocks sweat ducts and wicks away moisture. When you apply it to your feet before putting on shoes, it reduces slipping, friction, and chafing. Your heel bones and toes tend to suffer the most from friction. You can apply it to these areas or your entire foot.
When your feet slip and rub on the lining, you might adjust your stride to avoid pain, ingrown toenails, bunions, and blisters. But maintaining a natural gait is actually one of the most important things you can do to prevent heel pain. Deodorant helps you sidestep discomfort in the first place.
4. Try Moleskin or Bandaids
Speaking of blisters, chafing, and painful rubbing, you might try sticking pieces of moleskin inside your shoes in problem areas. Moleskin is a thin yet robust fabric. You can buy it online and at most drugstores, but if you’re in a pinch, cloth bandaids can also work.
Like heel grips, moleskin that’s designed specifically for shoes will have a sticky backing. You can use a full strip or cut pieces to fit specific areas in your shoe. This will help minimize friction as you walk. Another option is to stick a piece of moleskin or a bandaid directly onto your skin and remove it when you take off your shoes.
5. Know the Break-In Basics
When it comes to breaking in shoes, it’s best to take your time. To avoid heel pain and other discomforts, we recommend wearing a new pair for only a few hours the first couple of times. This gives your feet a chance to adjust to the shape of the shoe while also allowing the shoe to conform to the unique shape of your foot.
If you purchased a pair of shoes specifically for work, you might want to bring an extra pair to change into halfway through the day. If you bought high heels or dress shoes for a special occasion and want them to be fresh for the event, we suggest wearing them around your home to break them in.³
Shoe stretchers can help you expand the material. However, footwear is generally best broken in by the shape of your foot, as it’ll provide you with the most comfort in the long run.
If you’re working with leather shoes, another option is to put them on at home and run a blow dryer over them for a few minutes, which softens the material. Then walk around for a few minutes to speed up the break-in process. Looking for more tips on breaking in shoes? Check out our guide on how to break in new shoes.
6. Pick Up Some Orthotic Inserts for Heel Pain
If you really want to know how to make shoes not hurt heels, let us introduce you to the wonderful world of orthotic shoe inserts. This is one of the easiest solutions on how to make shoes more comfortable. They go either over or in place of your existing footbeds, providing all the support, alignment, and cushioning your heeled or flat shoes were lacking. The orthotics from Vionic also have deep heel cups and special contouring for extra stability.
Ill-fitting or unsupportive shoes can cause overpronation, meaning your foot rolls inward as you walk. Bad shoes put immense strain on your plantar fascia ligament, which can ultimately lead to plantar fasciitis, heel spurs, and other painful foot problems.
Supportive shoe insoles help realign your feet, reducing overpronation and strained ligaments. Not only does a shoe insert help make shoes not hurt your heels, but it makes any stylish pair comfortable. Vionic’s orthotics can be placed in fashion sneakers, athletic shoes, flats, booties, dress shoes, and even high heels.
We have options for men and women, including our Active Series and Relief Series. Our Active insoles are perfect for your walking shoe, running shoe, and other types of athletic footwear. Our Relief insoles are designed for everyday shoes, professional footwear, and formal styles.
7. Invest in Orthotic Shoes
Supportive inserts can make your current footwear collection more comfortable. But the next time you buy new shoes, we encourage you to consider a pair with built-in orthotics. Vionic has a substantial selection of men’s and women’s styles, each biomechanically engineered to relieve achy arches and heel pain.
Not only that, but our orthotic shoes come in all the most fashionable trends of today, as well as classic designs that’ll never go out of style. With Vionic, you don’t have to choose between fashion and comfort. You can have the best of both worlds with every pair of supportive shoes.
Many of our designs are certified by the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association). This ensures they benefit your foot health and provide sufficient arch support.
8. Don’t Overlook Size
Another thing to keep in mind when purchasing shoes is size. This may seem like a no-brainer, but research indicates more than half of people wear the wrong size.⁴ Measure both the length and width of your feet to ensure you’re wearing the right size.
The wrong fit can cause strain in your heels, impact your stride, and wreak havoc on your alignment. Even if you’ve had your feet sized in the past, it’s a good idea to remeasure them periodically, as they can expand with age. If you aren’t sure how to determine your proper shoe size, check out our guide on how to measure shoe size.
Vionic is proud to carry supportive shoes in whole and half sizes for men and women, and many of our women’s shoes come in wide widths.
Are you ready to say goodbye to heel pain for good? Find the right shoe from our podiatrist-designed collections of comfortable shoes for men and women today.
1.Penny Simmon. “How to Fix Painful Shoes”. Wiki How. Jan 14, 2021, https://www.wikihow.com/Fix-Painful-Shoes
2. Lisa Fogarty. “13 Tips That Will Help Take the Pain Out of Wearing High Heels”. She Knows. March 29, 2017, https://www.sheknows.com/living/articles/1085048/how-to-make-heels-more-comfortable/
3. “O’s Ultimate Shoe-Buying Guide”. Oprah. https://www.oprah.com/style/how-to-buy-shoes-that-dont-hurt-comfortable-fashion/all
4. Buldt, Andrew K, and Hylton B Menz. “Incorrectly fitted footwear, foot pain and foot disorders: a systematic search and narrative review of the literature.” Journal of foot and ankle research vol. 11 43. 28 Jul. 2018, doi:10.1186/s13047-018-0284-z