Fancy Flat Shoes Are Not the Answer to Painful High Heels

Many women search desperately to find a way they can wear high heels and not be in pain. Some of the answers we've found online include taping your toes together, wearing heels with open toes, and wearing metatarsal pads to prevent ball of foot pain. Some of these may work temporarily but they are not the best solution.

A recent article I read was advertising fancy flat shoes as an antidote to wearing painful high heels.

Although wearing very flat shoes will prevent your toes from jamming into the front of your shoes and won't cause your bunions to progress, flats can cause other painful conditions such as heel pain and Achilles tendonitis.

In fact if you wear high heels frequently and immediately switch to flat shoes you're even more likely to suffer from one of these conditions.


When you wear high heels your calf muscle shortens up. Then when you switch to flat shoes this muscle stretches out rapidly. Imagine a rubber band at rest. When you stretch it too far it can snap. Although the tissues in your foot won't snap, they can overstretch too quickly putting stress on the plantar fascia and the Achilles tendon.

Other women who are likely to have problems wearing flat shoes are those with flat feet. It's common for people with flat feet to get these same painful foot conditions due to the faulty structure of the foot.

So what can you do to prevent these conditions?

  • Avoid transitioning from high heel to flat shoes rapidly (although I don't recommend flat shoes for anyone, if you're going to wear them it's important to wear a shoe with an inch heel first or a running shoe that naturally has lift under the heel of the foot)

  • Avoid wearing flat shoes, particularly if you have flat feet.

  • If you get heel pain often and over-the-counter inserts aren't working, you'll likely need custom orthotics to correct your faulty foot structure.

Other relevant blogs and pages:

Flat, Flat Shoes Can Leave Your Feet Flat
Heel Pain Center of the Northwest

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Seattle foot and ankle specialist, Dr. Rion Berg offers foot care for patients with bunions, heel pain, diabetes, fungal toenails, ingrown nails, and surgical solutions when needed to residents of Seattle, Bellevue, Kirkland, Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood and other surrounding suburbs.

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