If you've purchased a pair of absolutely stunning pumps for your celebration, but they're a pain to walk in, we've got a few tips for turning them into comfortable wedding shoes. That's right you don't have to kiss your dream of wearing sky-high heels on your big day goodbye, but you might have to put in a bit of extra work to make your fancy footwear more bearable. From working them into bringing back up, here are some tried and true ways to make your wedding shoes more comfortable.
Your first dance with your hubby should be a moment characterized by joy and unadulterated love, but sporting the wrong shoes on your big day can transform a blissful spin around the dance floor into utter agony. Brides shouldn't have to choose between elegant footwear and comfort on their big day. With the correct preparation, stiletto-sporting brides can indulge in their footwear fantasies without unnecessary foot pain. If you crave the elevation heels, provide without the accompanying suffering.
Plan to shop for your big-day shoes in the afternoon or evening rather than the morning. This will give you a better idea of how they'll fit on the wedding day. I always recommend trying on shoes later in the day because you can be assured that the fit will be correct to accommodate for activity and swelling that naturally occurs. At the store, consider the material of the shoe you're looking at-if your feet are prone to sweating, you'll want something breathable or wicking-and look at the innersole, which will be providing support (or not) for your feet. Ideally, you would want to spread the weight evenly so as to not put any increased pressure on any particular part. However, in heels, many shoe styles do have increased metatarsal/ball of the footpads to accommodate the increased pressure at that site.
If you want to stay on the dance floor all night, resist the charms of those sky-high stilettos. There is a consensus that heel heights higher than two inches put too much pressure on the ball of the foot.
Think About Location
Your wedding venue will play a huge role in determining what kind of shoes you need. You might want sandals for a beachfront celebration, a pair of sturdy flats for a mountainside ceremony, or wedge heels for a wedding taking place in the garden. While choosing location-appropriate footwear is important, she warns brides against going barefoot on the beach, which is something she often sees. It never fails that when summer comes. I'll get at least one bride or groom who gets something stuck in their foot. If you don't want to end up limping down the aisle after cutting your heel on a shell or tripping over a rock, be sure to wear some sort of shoes. If you're really against it, ask the staff at your venue (or a few willing groomsmen) to comb the beach for any hazards before your event starts.
Purchase your shoes well before your wedding, so you have time to break them in. Walk around the house, practice your first dance, and go up and down the stairs to get a good sense of how they'll feel at your wedding. If your chosen pair isn't comfortable and additional wear isn't helping, a professional shoe repair person can stretch the material or tweak the sole to make your shoes more forgiving. But your podiatrist can help, too. They can examine the foot, and, knowing the mechanics of movement, can examine the shoes and accommodate them with pads, inlays and in some cases, prescription orthotics that will support the footbed in its entirety. If you're facing a wedding-day blister or a slippery heel, try a last-minute remedy. Some quick DIYs from the drugstore include blister pads to cover and cushion and some double-sided tape if the heel is slipping.
Remember that your comfort is the most important thing, so don't keep wearing a pair of shoes that are making you miserable. Trade them for an embellished sneaker at the reception, a pair of slippers, or a less restrictive sandal. If the shoes hurt, take them off! It's not worth the pain.
Here's how to make your wedding shoes more comfortable
Walk it out
You've probably done this with every pair of heels you own, so it's kind of a no-brainer, but take some time to work at your wedding kicks. In the weeks leading up to your wedding, slip into your shoes and walk around your place while you tidy or take care of wedding tasks (you don't want to take them outdoors and risk getting them dirty). Aim to get in a few minutes every day so that they get a little worn in and your feet can get used to them.
Prep your shoes
If your shoes rub against your feet in certain areas or hurt your soles, it may be time to consult your doctor. Grab some gel inserts and place them on problem areas to create a comfy cushion for your feet and reduce friction. This is a life-changing step towards comfortable wedding shoes, so stock up!
Pamper your feet
Your feet may be part of the problem. If they're too dry, any straps or buckles may cause more irritation than normal. So, what can you do? Moisturize. You don't want your feet to be so slippery that you slide out of your shoes, but a hint of coconut oil or a dime-sized dollop of body butter may be just what you need to make walking down the aisle a pain-free experience.
Bust out the blow dryer
If your wedding shoes are made of leather and are hurting your arches and toes, this is a trick you need to know. Throw on a pair of thick socks and squeeze your feet into your shoes. Then, grab your blow dryer and apply heat to any areas that pinch or squeeze. This will loosen up the material and transform them into more comfortable wedding shoes to walk and waltz in.
If all else fails, bring back up
You don't have to spend your entire reception in the same shoes you walk down the aisle in! If you've opted to wear sky-high stilettos for your wedding ceremony that is a pain to move around in, swap them out for comfortable dancing shoes like a pair of flats, sandals or sneakers before heading into your party. You don't want to give up busting a move for the sake of flashy shoes – you'll totally regret it.
Resist the rub
Blisters are caused by friction—certain trouble spots of your shoes (like straps or the heel cup) have near-constant contact with your foot, and, when you add the heat of a hot dance floor, multiplied by the airlessness of being trapped under your dress, you've got a recipe for blister blitzkrieg. Creating a barrier between your skin and these friction areas is one way to keep blisters at bay. One of our favourite wedding shoe ideas to ensure comfort is rubbing a stick of deodorant or some vaseline on the inside of your shoe wherever you expect to rub to occur, and covering your feet in a coating of deodorant too.
Don't sweat it
In addition to friction, there's one more big culprit for wedding day blisters: Sweating. Hot, damp skin is extra-sensitive and prone to irritation and swelling, which means more rubbing against the trouble spots of your shoes, and more pain, and, well, you get it. A simple hack? Talcum or baby powder! Shake some generously into your shoe after you complete hack #1, above, then on the soles and sides of your feet. It'll absorb moisture caused by sweating and keep your feet and shoes drier, longer.
Spring for leather
You may be tempted to save some cash by buying fast-fashion heels in faux leather (there are so many cute options out there right now that look like a million bucks!), but if comfort is a top priority, real leather should be on your list. You'll pay more, but you'll feel the difference. Faux-leather may look the part, but it's essentially plastic, meaning it won't stretch, break-in, soften or breathe on your big day. Your feet will sweat more, blister more, hurt more. Leather, on the other hand, gets more comfortable over time, moulding to fit your feet—and will last longer, so even though you'll pay more, you'll get to wear them for years to come.
Make the stretch
A snug fit isn't necessarily a good thing, so beware if your heels fit like a glove. That just may mean more gripping, swelling, blistering and other painful stuff. If you pop your shoes on and feel an immediate vice-like sensation (especially in the bony area right before your toes), try one of our favourite wedding shoe ideas: the blow dryer hack to help stretch and mould the shoes to your feet. Simply blast the shoes with medium-heat for a few seconds, put them on and walk around, and repeat a few times until you notice a bit more give. Don't apply the heat source too close—you could scald your shoe! One more thing: This hack won't work as well on synthetic materials.
Don't sink in
Walking in heels is hard. Walking in heels in the grass is nearly impossible. If your wedding has an outdoor element, grab one of these clever heel caps to keep your spiky stiletto heel from sinking into soft ground (like grass, sand, gravel, etc.). They're hardly detectable, protect your shoe from getting filthy, and super cheap. Throw a pair in your bridesmaids' gift bags, too!
Block it out
Want the height of a heel without the pain of a stiletto? Platforms and block heels are your friend! The reason this wedding shoe idea works is simple: The wider the heel, the more surface area there is to support your body weight (and all that tulle), the less pressure ends up on the balls of your feet. Chunkier heels also offer more stability for days when you'll be doing a lot of walking, standing, and dancing (like your wedding day). Platforms go the extra mile by giving even more height at the heel while elevating the entire foot, so you can be walking 4" taller but only feel like you're walking 2.5" taller. Best of all? The chunky look is totally in right now, and options abound! Trust me: You won't miss the stiletto spike when you're walking tall during hour seven of your wedding and still feeling fine!
If you want to elongate your legs
Brides with shorter legs should try to avoid shoes which have an ankle strap feature, particularly if the strap is quite chunky. This style of shoe can make your legs look much shorter. A high heel of 2 – 3 inches will always provide a little extra height.
Just remember; although it may be tempting to opt for towering heels to give you the extra height, you desire if you aren't used to very high heels your special day may just be spoiled by sore feet.
If you're tall and you aren't interested in increasing your height, beautifully embellished flats are a great option. However, if you don't want to wear flats, a small heel such as a kitten heel will give you the look of a heel without giving you too much extra height.
The bridesmaid factor
If you have selected shoes for your bridesmaids rather than having them wear something they already own, you may have to consider how comfortable the shoes you have chosen are. If you think the shoes you have selected may become uncomfortable throughout the evening, chat to your bridesmaids and see how they feel.
A simple solution? Have your bridesmaids bring a pair of their own comfortable heels or formal flats, so they can change shoes after the formalities and photos are finished.
If you can't see your shoes…
If nobody can see your feet, chances are they aren't going to care if your shoes perfectly match the colour of the lace on your dress or not. This means you can opt for a shoe that may be more practical and comfortable, rather than having to wear something that perfectly matches but is uncomfortable to wear for a long period of time.
In saying this, a safe choice is to pick at least a shoe that won't appear too out of place if you flash your feet at some point. Colours like nude, tan, ivory, white or even pastel shades of pink, lavender and baby blue are safe choices. However, if you aren't a big fan of dancing all night and the likelihood of anyone seeing your feet is pretty low, you can always opt for a pair of comfy heels, espadrilles or flats in any colour you desire.
If you want a pop of colour
If you would like to add a touch of colour to brighten up your bridal look, a great way to do so is to incorporate a new colour with your shoes! Many brides use their bridal shoes as a way to have their 'something blue ', but there are so many other colours out there to choose from too.
You can choose a colour that matches your flowers or bridesmaids dresses, or even select a colour which matches your wedding colour scheme. Metallic colours like gold, silver, rose gold and copper can have great visual effect when contrasted against white, and can also provide a very elegant and glamorous element to your outfit.
On your wedding day, your feet will be doing more than just walking you down the aisle. From tiptoeing to your first look to dancing up a storm, you'll need pretty genius wedding shoe ideas to ensure the end of the night doesn't wreck your feet. Ironically, running sneakers rarely cut wedding shoes. But that doesn't mean you have to suffer in pointy-toe-stiletto heel hell throughout the best day of your life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Instead, purchase wedding shoes several weeks in advance of the event. Wear them around the house with a pair of socks to stretch out straps and enable them to mold to your foot shape. Wearing them in advance also helps identify spots that rub or are likely to cause blisters. Consider wearing stockings.
There are a lot of different factors that go into selecting what style of shoes will be on your feet for the big day: how they match the dress, the venue, and comfort level. Despite the vast majority of wedding gowns being floor-length, most brides choose to wear high heels on their wedding day.
Tackle stubborn buildup of dead skin post-shower. Levine recommends using the same scrub you use in the shower, massaging it onto the calloused areas on your feet. Next, place each foot in a plastic bag and wrap it with a warm towel. Rest for 10 minutes (you could use a break from all that wedding planning, right?).