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How to Buy High-heeled Shoes

Updated on May 31, 2015

Head Over Heels!

It is not unusual to fall head over heels for a pair of high heels. They are attractive, classy and give you the additional height you may need. If you choose a pair that matches your style and outfit, it can turn any costume into an unrivaled look. However, when buying high heels, you need to consider many things, from size and height, to comfortability and types of heels.

By Frederick Green.
By Frederick Green.

Finding Your Shoe Size

  • Find a shoe you already own that fits comfortably. Find the size of the shoe, and note down both the American size and the European size.
  • Use a Brannock Device (a shoe size measuring instrument) to determine the size of your foot. If you do not have one, politely ask one of the assistants if you could use it.
  • Outline your foot on a piece of paper. Measure the length of your foot, and take away 0.5 cm or 3/16 of an inch. Then, search up a chart on the Internet and find out your size.
  • Note down if the shape of your feet are abnormal. For example, if your feet are unusually wide, you may need to let the store know in order to purchase comfortable heels.

Step 1. Size and Height

As with shopping for any other fashion apparels, it is obviously better to buy something that fits you rather than something that is either too tight or too loose. There are a couple of ways to find out your shoes size, as shown on the right.

The next important thing is the height of the heel. The ability to walk comfortably in heels vary greatly between different people. The only way to find out your ideal range of heel heights is to try them on. When you are at your store, find a variety of heel heights, and try to walk in them. Your limit is what you are comfortable with.

Don't push yourself! Realistically, you're probably going to stand and walk in those shoes 8 hours a day. It is better not to buy it if you feel like you can't stand that long.

However, like everything else, walking in heels comes with patience and practice. If the heel is a little too high for you, you could still buy them. You will get used to them after a few times walking in them.

By Frederick Green.
By Frederick Green.

2. Choose your Brand

There are hundreds of brands that manufacture high heels, all of which range in style, price and quality. The higher-end brands, such as Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu, and Prada, are luxurious, expensive and provide status. Cheaper shoes, such as shoes from PayLess, are affordable, simple and it gives you plenty of bang for the buck. Here are a few pictures showing the higher-end brands.

Luxury Shoe Brands. (From top left to bottom right): Alexander McQueen, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino Manolo Blahnik, Giuseppe Zanotti, Prada, Miu Miu. All by Frederick Green.
Luxury Shoe Brands. (From top left to bottom right): Alexander McQueen, Christian Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent, Valentino Manolo Blahnik, Giuseppe Zanotti, Prada, Miu Miu. All by Frederick Green.

Consider what you really want in a pair of high heels. Do you want style, comfort, price or status? If price is your priority, it is best to invest in lower-end shoes. These shoes are very cheap: usually under $50. However, if you want status and style, consider in luxury, status, luxury designer names. These can be as expensive as $700 but they are well worth it. Once you have chosen the appropriate shop and brand that you are happy to pay for and one that matches your realistic income, you are ready to move on.

What level of shoe brand are you interested in?

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3. Types of Heels

You may or may not notice that there are over a dozen different kids of high heels. They all look different and provide different levels of comfort. Wedge heels are the most comfortable whilst Stilettos are harder to walk in. Picking the right type of heel for you is very essential.

First, consider how confident you are at walking in heels. If you are very confident, you may do well with a pair of 3 inch+ stilettos or a pointed toe shoe. Classic pumps and cone heels are also good if you feel confident. However, if you are still struggling, consider in investing in a pair of kitten heels, chunky heels or wedge heels.

Platform Stilettos.
Platform Stilettos. | Source

And finally, here is a table to summarize which heels are the most comfortable and which are harder to walk in!

*Note: The comfort also depends on the shoemaker. For example, some shoemakers manufacturer very comfortable stilettos whilst some shoemakers manufacture uncomfortable wedge. However, these are calculated from their shape and how comfortable the majority is.

Very Comfortable
Hard to walk in


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