How to Walk in Heels: Lessons from the Stiletto Whisperer
Perhaps this model needs to take a high heel walking class with the Stiletto Whisperer? High heels can be a quick and easy way to dress up your outfit, but Victor Chu, a former footwear designer in New York dubbed the “stiletto whisperer” claims most women are wearing them incorrectly. “Women think heels are sexy because men think they’re sexy,” he told the New York Post. “But, you see a woman wear this pained expression and shuffle. I’ve seen guys giggle at them – it’s not sexy. Bottom line is, you need to be fit to walk in heels with stability.”
Chu once developed comfortable shoes for Uggs and Reeboks, and teamed up with dancer CeCe Chin in 2006 to create the high-heel fitness routine, Legworks. This summer he created a series of personalized classes in New York for women to perfect their walk in their high heels. We reached out to get the inside scoop and tips on how to properly walk in high heels with minimal pain.
“We tell [students] to bring two pairs of heels to the class: ones you wear everyday and the ones that you want to wear,” Chu told Yahoo! Shine. The private classes start at $50, and Chu tells Shine that 60% of the class is perfecting your walk. “New York City is the capital of high heel shoes and fashion,” Chu told Yahoo! Shine. “Out of anywhere in the country, women wear heels everyday here. It’s easier for guys when they get dressed up because they just put on their dress shoes and start walking. There are essentially built in problems with heels and this is the main reason why we offer the course.” A recent survey released by The College of Podiatry, more than 40% of women say they suffer through the pain of wearing heels for the sake of fashion. Most women report that heels start to hurt their feet after an hour and six minutes of wear, while 20 percent say that they can feel the pain after just 10 minutes. According to researchers at the University of Portsmouth, heels can change the way the entire body moves, including the pelvis, hips, legs, knees, feet and even shoulders, to emphasize femininity. The researchers, whose study appears in the scientific journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, say men rate women wearing heels as more attractive then those wearing flat shoes. Chu feels all types of women young and old could benefit from his classes, and that no one should be bashful about coming in. “We have a lot of overweight women who take the class, and there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be able to wear heels,” he told Shine. “It’s just a matter of adjusting the heel height and type of shoe. We don’t criticize or make anyone feel unwelcome.”
For those who can’t attend Chu’s personalized classes, the footwear expert shared five tips you can incorporate into your heel-wearing lifestyle today:
1. Make sure your heels really fit. Often we force our feet into improper shoes because we bought the wrong size or a style that isn’t comfortable or stable. “There are literally thousands of styles to choose from,” Chu advised when asked about shopping for heels. “A good fit means that it’s snug on your foot. if you have wobbling at the ankles or the fit is bad, go for more coverage around the foot like thicker straps instead of thin straps.”
2. Check your soles. Make sure that the sole of the shoe is completely flat to the floor and doesn’t tip over or wobble. “This will help to give you a lot of stability,” he said. “Avoid those shoes that have a ‘boat bottom,’ meaning it’s not completely flat to the surface of the floor.”
3. Improve your core. “It will give you tons of control when you’re walking, and that’s important for keeping your back straight and providing stability and control when walking,” said Chu.
4. Posture is everything. Remember to keep your head up high and your shoulders back.
5. Look straight ahead. When walking down the street, always be aware of what’s ahead of you at least 1/3 of the way down the block. “Look ahead, not down,” Chu said. “If you’re looking down, this means your shoes don’t fit well. There shouldn’t be anything hurting or pinching.”
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