How To Walk In High Heels – Learning The Art

Written by , MSc Pratima Ati MSc
Last Updated on

The story of my life—A nearly perfect figure; a tailored dress and a romantic evening to remember. Now top this up with a six-inch heel and an awkward waddle. Walking in heels can be a nightmare, far from dreamy for me at least!

But, I’ve come a long way and mastered (well, I’d like to think so) the art of walking in high heels. And, for someone who was always comfortable wearing flats, it takes a lot to come out and say this. Because? Haven’t you seen Beyonce? There is something about the high heel, and the elevated look that adds up like nothing else ever does to your outfit. If you are anything like me, I mean the old me. You should read through this, and join me on the other side.

So, here’s how you learn the art of walking in high heels. Tips, suggestions, and FAQs!

14 Tips On How To Walk In Heels

1. Take It Slow – Tricks And Techniques

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For starters, begin with a small, wide and even heels. You may think that walking is no rocket science, however when you have bad shoe days, bad can escalate to worse very quickly. And, I can tell you from experience that you don’t ever want to be there. If you’re ecstatic about finally trying those red pumps that have been sitting in your shoe closet, try to walk around the house first. More often than not, you will brush off thinking that it’s not as bad but managing heels for a few minutes is way different than having them for an entire day.

Experiment with different types of heels like wedges, platforms, pumps and anything that is not a 6-inch high. Getting used to the idea of walking in them is an important first step. Again, wedges will never fail you, so stick around with them and then move your way up. There are other factors that go into mastering the walk, so deep dive.

2. Posture

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Let us all take a step back here. Shall we? Why do we choose high heels over flats or anything else? Go on, think about it. It’s for a better-looking posture that also indirectly improves the overall body language. So, if you’re already someone who hunches and slouch while sitting or walking, you need to be extra careful. Just like anything else, it will take a while. So until that happens, be conscious about your posture and put efforts to align your body correctly. Here’s what you need to remember to improve your posture.


3. Balancing Act

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Learning to walk in heels is more of balancing and less of, well everything else. Because one part of the heel is pencil thin and six inch off the floor. Of course, we need to learn how to balance the act before we master it. Also, not all heels are made the same way, so just because you walk fast in some shoes does not mean the next pair is equally easy to pull off. That’s exactly why they ask you to get comfortable in designs that don’t necessarily slow down your average walking pace. So, as a beginner, be doubly sure that you can balance your walk and posture before you invest in them.

4. Size, Shape, And Fit

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I hate to break this news to you, not every shoe is meant for all of us. I cannot tell you the number of times I have fallen in love with a pair of pumps and had to let go because of the shape of my feet. My feet are not straight and are slightly curvy near the toes, you know how your thumb bones stick out? Anyway, enough about me, but the point is that you need to keep all of this in mind. So, online shopping is probably not such a great idea for starters. Here’s a gist:

  • Get the size of your feet measured – as often as you can.
  • Go with heels that are meant for the ‘Shape of you’ (your feet, pun intended). Again, just because they look great does not mean they will feel good. The last thing you want to buy are blisters along with a pair of shoes.
  • Also, go easy on the style, start with something that is easier to pull off like platforms and then work your way up.

5. Practice

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Practice, practice and more practice. All said and done, you need to start wearing them and walk till you get the hang of it. It feels weird, strange and uncomfortable first time around but don’t give up just yet. And remember, nothing really changes overnight, it will take some time before you are completely sold by the idea. Simply because none of us were born in heels, we just need to get used to it like everything else. It involves practicing to walk on a regular surface, taking the stairs and maybe even dance in them. Learning to walk faster in heels is definitely a process! So, yes that is what it takes. Did I mention practice?

6. Surface – Matters

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Walking in heels in summers is not such a big deal. Now, let’s talk about monsoon or winter? Walking when the floor is wet or when there is snow? How do we deal with that? Before we start, beginners need to tread very carefully if they really are compelled to wear them in conditions that are not always ideal for walking in heels. If you must, ensure your soles are scraped off and are slightly rough, to have control when you walk. Also, ensure your shoes fit you well and not glide down with every step. Another thing that will help is wearing shoes that are thick, sturdy and well rounded near the toe. This basically gives better grip and control over your steps.

7. Scrape Off The Bottoms

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Sounds like an amusing idea, doesn’t it? But, if you have ever closely observed, the sole of most stilettos is slick which makes it’s twice as easy to slip and fall over. You can do one of these things, or both—Whatever works. Score the bottom of the shoes with sandpaper (carefully, of course) or buy stick-on soles that are sold separately. You can also have a cobbler help you replace the tip of the heel with rubber since they usually come in plastic.

8. Stop Forcing It

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Do not wear heels because you have to, wear it because you like. It is just as easy, and this is the only way it works. You don’t have to do it with the fear of missing it, however cool that might sound. And by the way, it has nothing to do with being tall or short. You just have to be okay with the idea of carrying them, and comfortably. Otherwise, it becomes very evident. We don’t want to look like we are forcing anything or trying to be a “wanna-be.” I cannot stress this enough, for someone with foot, ankle, toe or back injuries.

9. Start With Small Steps

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Knowing how to walk in high heels is definitely an art. Take small and baby steps, like a toddler. Might not be in the literal sense but that is how it is supposed to work. Wear them for shorter distances and smoother surfaces first before you venture into going all out on your heels.

10. Look/Ask For Help

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You need to understand that, even the slightest discomfort must be tackled. There are plenty of options out there. So we can quit being the superwoman for some time. That is exactly what I told myself when I was too adamant about getting help. Footpads, stick-on soles, heel cups or foot cushions. Some brands also offer customized cushion etc. to insert inside the shoes to keep them free from pain and sores.

11. Look Straight As You Walk

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The trick is to look straight ahead as you walk. Yes, I know what you are thinking, we are not supermodels walking the ramp, but hey – that’s the trick of the trade. Even when you’re trying a new pair at a store or trying it out for the first time, envision a straight path ahead. As a reflex, what most of us do is to keep looking at our shoes and feet. So, like we discussed before we need to practice. For all you know, you would have mastered the art of ramp walk too.

12. Angle Your Steps

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You might have seen this before, women with heels often tend to angle their feet slightly as they walk. This happens mostly for some of us who are just getting the hang of the entire six-inch heel game. So when you’re walking straight and suddenly feel uncomfortable, tired or painful, try this. You will feel a big relief, as the pressure is distributed. Once you are comfortable, you see the difference, and it gets better. But as a starter, this really helps.

13. Start From Heel To Toe

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Walking in heels for beginners can be quite overwhelming, and our best defense is to tip-toe instead of walking normally. It’s all in your head! So, just like your regular flats, go with the heel first and then the toe. We don’t pay much attention while walking with flats or flip-flops but this is what you are doing anyway. If you are still conscious, lean a little back first and then take a step forward. That will help as well.

14. Comfort Over Style

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This goes without saying, but we will say it anyway. Prioritize comfort over style, even though we are always tempted to do the opposite. And, it’s better to have four good quality pair of heels than fourteen bad ones. I know, some shoes can seem irresistible for the price and looks, but it will and can be a real nightmare. Blisters, calluses, and corns will all be the by-products of such poorly designed footwear. Sometimes, this is really why it is justified to pay that little extra for a few brands. They deliver that for you!

Along with everything else, remember to pamper your feet with pedicures and foot spas. Most importantly, give them breathing space when you sit. Remove your feet from the shoes, wiggle around a little, massage gently or dip them in warm salt water whenever possible. Learning how to walk in heels gracefully is an art as much as it is a science. If you have any more questions, feel free to drop in a text!


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Frequently Asked Questions

How to walk in heels without pain?

The rule of thumb for any footwear is that they need to be comfortable. So, firstly choose something of the right size, fit and a design that complements your feet. I have friends with big feet who almost never find good footwear and the ones that fit them well. My advice to all of them is, wear heels that are snug yet comfortable inside out. Anyone who spends long hours standing in heels should always use shoe cushions. This helps a great deal.

How to walk in heels comfortably?

Anything that you are trying to force will cause discomfort. So, unless you are a pro in handling six-inch heels, stay with platforms or wedges. It gives you both comfort and style.

How to walk in heels without falling?

Two simple rules—Take it slow and take baby steps. This will never fail you. As a beginner, you can skip dancing, running or jumping in heels. Plus, remember the rule of inclining back and angling your feet to the side while walking. Yes, that pretty much takes care of it.

How do I learn to walk faster in heels?

Walking faster comes with practice. So don’t rush it. If you want to learn faster stick to smaller heels and wedges. Once you catch up with them, it will be a matter of time before you can walk fast or at your normal pace in heels. But the reason we love heels is how good one looks having them on. So focus on walking gracefully with your heels on, and the pace will eventually pick up!

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Pratima Ati
Pratima AtiFashion & Lifestyle Writer
Pratima Ati is a postgraduate in International Business from Staffordshire University. After working in Marketing and Business Development for a few years, she jumped ship to pursue two things she loved – fashion and writing.

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