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The 19 most comfortable pairs of heels, according to people in the know

Our feet have been experiencing serious hibernation since the coronavirus pandemic hit more than two years ago. But finally, the days of nightclubs and social events seem to be making a comeback (knock on wood?), and we can finally say goodbye to the Zoom business uniform on top and bare feet on the bottom. While we’re certainly excited to return to our favorite platforms and pumps, our forced break from them has changed one thing: our priorities.

Comfort matters to people now more than ever, as evidenced by the rise of athletic leisurewear, matching outfits, and literally any pant that isn’t stiff denim. Heels aren’t going anywhere, but comfort has definitely come to the fore. We know that “comfortable heels” sounds a bit like an oxymoron. Even the patron saint of high heels, Sarah Jessica Parker, admitted that no heel will last you for hours on end. But has that ever stopped you from wearing a pair of strappy stilettos to a fancy party? Our guess is no. With that in mind, we spoke with celebrity podiatrist Dr. Suzanne Levine, DPM about what makes a comfortable high heel, from the height to the materials. We also got her opinion on bunions and different foot problems that can be aggravated by wearing heels. Lucky for us, Levine is a heel lover and she doesn’t discourage them. On the contrary, she enables us: “High heels are not good for you, but we love them anyway.”

All feet are different. You should try each shoe on, walk around in them, and make sure they are comfortable on your own feet. The key is moderation and alternate the height of the heels according to your activity. To be on your feet for up to eight hours, your ideal heel height should remain two inches; increase your height and limit the time you can spend on your feet. “It’s like having your cake, but not making it a daily activity,” says Levine. “It doesn’t have to be done every day or to excess, but there’s nothing wrong with wearing fabulous heels.” Amen to that.

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Also, remember to stretch and exercise your feet, use creams, and take breaks. It’s helpful to purchase over-the-counter metatarsal pads for the balls of your feet for extra cushioning. “My patients do not give [heels] but something must be done to counteract them,” he adds.

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Later on, our edition includes tips for finding the best heels that will last you all night (or until that acceptable hour when all women kick their heels off on the dance floor). Read on to learn more from the pro, along with ELLE The editors’ personal favorite heels that strike the balance between style and comfort, below.

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