Foot Training for High heels
The DESIRE to wear highheels is where it all begins. There is no doubt at all that high heels are sexy, make girl’s legs look better, make girl taller and sleeker, and even bring to mind images of their use as bondage devices. Just desire by itself means little. If this desire becomes a strong motivation, then it can be used to achieve a goal. After the initial motivation is harnessed — like energy — then an action plan must be devised and a COMMITMENT made.
The Alternatives. There are two basically different alternatives in deciding to undergo foot training. One approach is here termed “basic training,” the other is the “advanced training.” The difference in the two is this:
- BASIC TRAINING can be accomplished more simply. It will probably take longer. It is more oriented to an ordinary, daily lifestyle. It will prepare you to wear heels of 4″ or so.
- ADVANCED TRAINING requires a more dedicated and concerted effort. Its purpose is to prepare for 6″ (or higher) heels. It will require some special equipment.
The two training programs, however, share two different methods. One method — which we shall call the “exercise method” — is the more demanding in time and effort throughout your lifetime but gives you greater flexibility in your footwear and activities. The other method — which we shall call the “lifestyle method” — demands minimal time and effort but imposes real limits in terms of the kinds of shoes you can wear and the activities you can do.
However, before we get into the technicalities, we shall first take an appreciative look at high heels. Then we shall review why foot training is necessary.
1. The Aesthetics of High heels.
There is something special about a girl in high heels. It brings to mind the grace and charm of the deer. Remember how they walk? Each step is delicate, graceful, hesitant. You notice the slimness of the leg and the care with which they use it. It can be quite charming to watch. (This picture is from Body Play magazine).
A girl in very high heeled shoes does some of the same kinds of things as that deer. The high heels definitely make her legs look longer and more delicate. They definitely affect her ability to walk, in particular by shortening her stride. Of course, she is on the verge of becoming unstable at any moment, and so she must pay careful attention to her balance and the ground under her feet.
Notice the difference in the photo at the right. Two girls with lovely legs are standing together, yet the one with the significantly higher heel definitely grabs the viewer’s attention. This illustrates a basic principle that higher heels are in general more aesthetically pleasing and generate more attention. Of course, there are less attractive higher heeled shoes than ones with lower heels, yet other things being equal a higher heel is better.
The behavior of the girl on high heels brings out another aspect of appreciation for those who enjoy the DS lifestyle because when she is on high heels she is submitting herself to a challenge and obstacle for no more than aesthetic reasons. So, the aesthetic of high heels goes beyond the visual — it also includes an appreciation of the personality of the girl who is perched — and at times even tottering — on her high heels.
Of course, the shoe does not exist in isolation. It is only part of the entire leg, and so a “good looking” high heel also requires the proper visual complement from the leg. This typically means suitable stockings, although interplay with the skirt is also often desirable. The adjacent picture from Bizarre shows how effectively the stockings and the buckles on the shoe complement the artistic value of the foot and heel. Notice that a high arch on the top of the foot indicates a foot that has been trained to be comfortable wearing high heels.
The aesthetic of the high heel is that the higher the heel, the more entrancing they are. This, then, defines our goal. The truly high heeled girl is capable of wearing the highest high heels available. These high heels we will call ultra heels, and a section will discuss them in more detail later. Of more importance for the sake of this “How-To” article are the practicalities of how a high heeled girl is created and how the high heel can be made to function in real, everyday life. The key to the first part of this — creating a high heeled girl — is through foot training.
2. What Can Foot Training Do?
Proper foot training is absolutely essential. Even though high heels are commonplace, virtually no girl is wearing them correctly. You didn’t know that there was a “correct” way to learn to wear them? Indeed, understanding this is essential for success.
The high heel is a killer shoe. Women know this, which is one reason why they are so often hated so. However, as difficult as they are, girls are usually their own worst enemies in wearing them by making the situation worse. It is important to understand that the body is to some degree adaptable. Proper foot training can adapt ordinary flat-soled feet into high-arched feet which can comfortably wear high heels. This is why some high heels can potentially be viable footwear — assuming that the shoes are properly designed, constructed, and used. The arch in the foot can be gradually stretched over time so that it can fit comfortably into the position required by the high heeled shoe. Then, if the shoe properly distributes the stress, the wearer can spend hours in them without undue distress. The following diagram (excerpted from Body Play illustrates the basic change required in the foot dynamics.
Unfortunately, girls typically pick out shoes they should not wear. This is due to a combination of choosing style over form and choosing self-image over physical needs. Thus, the key to successfully wearing high heels is a combination of proper foot training and finding shoes that work well on the foot. The small picture here shows a girl who has been properly trained to wear ultra heels, as illustrated by her well-trained foot arch.
Even a girl who wears ordinary high heels frequently can improve her arch over time. I suspect that this girl has acquired her arch through much high heel wearing. Notice that it is not extreme, yet it is quite lovely.Click here to return to Contents
3. Implementing a Basic Foot Training Program.
Commitment. You cannot implement a foot training program for adapting your feet for high heels without first making a sincere personal commitment. To be truly able to wear the highest high heels and be comfortable in them means adapting the arch of your foot to the high arch required.
Selecting the method. As noted above, there are two different methods that can be chosen.
The Exercise Method. The basis for this method is how the ballet dancer does foot training. Ballet dancers have trained their feet for flexibility. They are able to run around a dance floor flat-footed, or they can instantly bounce up on top of their toes, the highest and most extreme arch possible. They are able to do this because of the three basic tools they have mastered. First, they have gradually stretched and flexed the arches in their feet so that they can work in either extreme or anywhere between. Second, they warm up carefully. They realize that to go from a flat-foot up to on-toe without a warm-up would be disastrously harmful and could cause serious (possibly even permanent) damage. Third, they maintain this capability for their foot by a vigorous program of exercise. That is, stretching and moving the foot in these positions for a good amount of time frequently, that is, at least every day or two.
- Advantages: The advantages of the Exercise Method are
- this provides the healthiest, strongest, and most versatile foot
- it can be accomplished more quickly than the Lifestyle Method.
- Disadvantages: The disadvantages of the Exercise Method are
- this requires a major commitment to continue exercising to keep the foot in its prime, and
- care must be taken to not suddenly stress the foot by going from one extreme to the other without proper warm-up and preparation.
The Lifestyle Method. The basis for this method is normal, natural adaptation for your specific lifestyle. Unlike the ballet dancer, this approach does not attempt to make the foot perform perfectly in all modes. Rather, it uses your natural trade-offs. The reason you can’t easily wear high heels now is that your foot isn’t adapted to them. However, if in your lifestyle you really wanted to adapt to higher heels, you could easily do so.
- Advantages: The advantages of the Lifestyle Method are
- this provides the easiest transition to wearing high heels
- it does not require a major commitment of time for exercising feet, and
- it does not require special foot training equipment.
- Disadvantages: There are two significant disadvantages of the Lifestyle Method:
- You lose some flexibility to wear what you might want otherwise. Now, this is not necessarily bad, but it means that you are programming your feet for certain kinds of shoes. For instance, if you now find hiking boots comfortable and high heels uncomfortable, if you train your feet for wearing 4″ high heels all the time, then they will not adapt well to hiking boots. Well, all life is a series of tradeoffs, and to truly use this course requires determining what your “shoe lifestyle” is going to be and basically sticking with that range of shoe.
- This adaptation takes place more slowly than the Exercise Method.
Your Potential. Next, you must take stock of your potential. Foot training is most easily done when you are young, say before age 20 or so. The older you become the less easily and quickly the changes can be made to your foot. However, even into middle age adapting to high heels should be feasible. Do expect, however, that it takes more time the older you are. Thus, the Exercise Method is most easily done by the young, and the Lifestyle Method by those older, but any age can do either as long as it is done properly. Always remember — if there are any questions or doubts concerning the health of the feet, it is always wise to seek competent medical advice.
The Key Idea. The key idea behind foot training is remarkably simple. Stretch the foot to a position that stretches the arch, and continue doing this until gradually the foot is stretched enough to adapt to the stress of being in that position. So, the basic idea is not the issue, but rather how best to implement it.
In the Exercise Method, the foot is pushed more vigorously and moved about more. As in all stretching exercises, very great care must be taken not to push too far or too hard. Lots of exercises is needed. The foot can also be stretched while asleep or resting using special “foot trainers.” Good ballet supply stores carry them, and versions can also be made at home. These devices (shown below) can stretch the arch when there is no load on the foot.
In the Lifestyle Method, the foot is moved gradually and held there for long periods. When the foot adapts and feels comfortable in this training position, shift the training position to stretch the arch a little more. Eventually, your arch will have attained a high enough arc. This method just basically requires wearing the right shoes, and gradually changing them for ones with higher heels. As long as the shoes fit properly and height progression is carefully controlled, the result will be a “long-term” shift in the arch. Since the arch is less flexible than that made by the Exercise Method, there is a definite “comfort zone” in which the foot is adapted to. For example, if your feet are adapted to “normal” shoes with a 3″ heel, then you likely could easily wear between 4″ heel and 1″ heel shoes, but going higher or all the way down to flats stresses your foot more and is less comfortable.
4. Implementing an Advanced Foot Training Program.
Purpose. The advanced foot training program differs from the basic in that it is designed to train feet for ultra heels — that is, high heels with 6″ of arch elevation (or even more).
Implementation. John Wiley’s pioneering magazine “Bizarre” has a number of useful references to those desiring an advanced foot training program.
In 1958 (in issue number 24) there was a long letter by Paula Sanchez giving part of her grandmother’s corset and high heel training as described in her diary. The technique she identified — using foot trainers — is perhaps the optimal one for advanced high heel training. On pages 24 and 25 she said:
One of the difficulties in walking had to do with the fact that Gmother could scarcely stand in the high-heeled shoes without bending her knees. Quite aside from the adjustment to the corset, she began feeling stretched muscles in her legs. The girls told her that the leg muscles must also adjust to the new vertical position of the foot and that this too would take much time and practice.
“I found foot-corsets of great use in my first days here,” Marta said. “The difficulty about heels is that the minute you sit down the muscles spring back to their old position. You can cause them to adjust sooner if you keep them in the high-heel position even in bed. It is a little like Chinese foot-binding. Slowly you get used to walking on your toes.”
A pair of curious little boots with no heels, but with stiffening along the sole and up the ankle, with straps across the lower leg and across the foot, to hold it in position against the shaped metal were brought. These were not for walking, but for foot training while resting. They held the foot in the position of a ballet dancer on her toes.
Fakir Musafar’s Body Play magazine has had some good discussions on foot training. (See the “Body Play” website ). Here a couple of different types of foot trainers are illustrated in Vol. 3, No. 1 on pages 22 and 23. One is a homemade device, the other is a ballet toe-shoe trainer which can be bought commercially through dance supply stores. Here is the toe-shoe trainer (which is also shown on the following high heel page).
Note that it is possible to stand comfortably in heels which are higher than it is possible to walk in. Thus, as part of foot training for ultrahigh heels, standing quietly for long periods in very high heels is beneficial. This can easily be incorporated into various DS training/exercise situations.
Highheel Shoe Design
1. What Makes a Good Highheeled Shoe?
Most highheels are made by manufacturers who are selling a good looking shoe rather than a shoe that works well. For women who wear highheels most of the time, this just will not do. They MUST wear shoes that actually work well. Properly built high heels that look good can be found, and sometimes minor additions or corrections can be made to an ordinary highheel to make it work much better.
The other part of the problem is that women for the most part choose shoes that just do not fit well. They tend to look at the size label on the box more than on how well their feet fit in the shoe. Not only do they usually get shoes too short, but the shoes are also usually too narrow as well because they don’t want to “admit” that they have “big feet”. Frankly, it is nearly impossible to endure having the foot compressed and distorted for hours on end in such a shoe. Perhaps in a normal flat shoe poor sizing can be tolerated, but definitely not in a highheel! It is also ironic, but most women do not realize that the higher the heel, the less the length of the shoe matters since the foot is now more vertical and thus appears smaller.
Finally, perhaps the most common error is getting shoes that pinch the toes. Since the entire weight of the body is shifted forward, this results in a great deal of pressure there. Open-toe shoes are very desirable for highheel wear, and greater care must be taken when choosing a closed-toe shoe.
It should also be noted that for wearing highheels, arching the forefoot upward (that is, going across the foot) allows the forefoot to be narrower AND provides better pressure distribution and support. Most commercially bought shoes do not provide this, so additional cushioned arches under the ball of the foot will probably need to be added. The need for this can easily be discerned if the pain is felt in the ball of the foot, or if the pressure causes the toes to bunch together painfully. If either of these is felt, then additional padding needs to be placed under the ball of the foot. It would be good to consult with someone expert in fitting highheel shoes if there is any question concerning proper fit.
Finally, it is important to remember that the size of the foot has an important influence on the size of the shoe. This drawing from Bizarre illustrates the simple dynamics of how raising the heel shortens the base length of the foot along the ground. Notice that if the length from the ball of the foot to the heel is ONLY 6″, then there is no way the heel height can approach 6″ without either (a) putting a platform under the ball of the foot, or (b) making the shoe longer than 6″ towards the end and putting in a “false heel” — that is, the shoe’s heel extends upward beyond the end of the foot’s “true” heel in order to gain more height. Both solutions are commonly employed. The platform has the advantage that it can add many inches in height, whereas the smaller increment of the false heel can be done “invisibly”.
A normal heel height of 4.75″ with a 6″ length from ball to heel results in shortening of that portion of the footprint to about 3.33″. To raise the heel to 6″ would require shortening that portion of the footprint to zero — which is clearly impossible. Thus, these shoes with the false 6″ heel hide a foot which is only raised up the same amount as the shorter heel. The shaded portions of the final shoe indicate “vacant” areas inside the shoe which the foot does not occupy.
From this discussion, it is clear that the actual design of the shoe, as well as the size of the foot, are critical to the final effect of the highheel shoe. For the desired effect it is necessary to select the proper combination of shoe design elements along with the foot’s ability to adapt to and wear a high heel.
2. The Training Slipper
(This is actually another name for a pretty foot trainer which is suitable for lounging or bedwear). The Training Slipper is designed to be worn to bed for the purpose of maintaining the foot’s arch during sleep. Maintaining the arch in the foot is analogous to setting deciduous fruit: a certain number of hours below a certain temperature are need for the fruit to set. For a highheeled woman, it is keeping her foot arched for a long enough period every day to maintain her arch. This shoe can be used to hold the foot to a higher arch than is normally worn during the day so that the foot can more easily wear ultra heels.
In design, this is a heelless shoe that has a firm arch and metal stiffeners that hold it to the leg, but otherwise, the body is soft. (A heel would catch in the sheets, and its soft body allows it to slide smoothly among sheets and blankets.) It can have ribbons attached to fasten it more tightly to the foot along the sides of the arch. The ribbons make it appear somewhat like a ballet slipper, but the arch gives it a distinct shape that ballet slippers do not have. Walking around is not possible, thus, it is also useful for bondage purposes.
3. The Sandheel
The Sandheel is a special purpose shoe. Although it can be worn on any normal surface, it is capable of being worn on the sand, and so makes it ideal for the beach. A normal highheel has a separate heel which is usually thin, so it sinks down into the sand. A normal platform shoe does not have this problem, but usually, the sole is narrower at the back than under the front part of the foot, so the back tends to sink into the sand. The Sandheel solves both of these problems.
In design, the Sandheel (a) keeps the foot at a high angle, and (b) moves the center of balance of the wearer into the middle of the shoe where (c) the sole has been shortened and moved inwards to be a single flat load-bearing surface. Thus, the single sole will sink into the sand while still supporting the high angle and the arch properly.
4. The Arched Cowboy Boot
The Arched Cowboy Boot is an unusual highheeled shoe in that it serves three distinctly different purposes. First, it serves the foot of the woman by continuing to provide the high arch her foot has been trained to have. Second, it is designed to appear from the outside as an ordinary cowboy boot, camouflaging the fact that the woman’s foot is actually resting inside in a highheel position rather than flat above the sole. Third, it serves as a functional boot for walking in somewhat rough terrain which an ordinary highheel or Sandheel shoe could not because of their inappropriate bases. However, even though the Arched Cowboy Boot provides a large flat sole which serves walking in rough terrain better than the others, because of the position of the woman’s foot she is not fully capable of safely covering all terrain. In particular, going downhill is more dangerous, and her balance is still somewhat more precarious. Thus, this boot only assists her in covering rough terrain; in a real walking situation, she should have the arm of a man to assist in balancing and supporting her.
5. The Pseudoshoe
The Pseudoshoe is one of the more unusual highheel designs. While the Ultraheel is designed to create the maximum amount of arch in the foot in the shoe, the Pseudoshoe is a shoe designed simply to show extreme heel length in a shoe just for artistic purposes. What this means is that the heel is exceptionally long, and extends so far below the sole that it makes it impossible to stand or walk in these shoes. I have seen pictures of shoes like this with heels of 2 feet or more.
Although the primary purpose of these shoes is an artistic display, they can also have other functions as well. With a locking mechanism, these shoes make ideal bondage footwear, since they make walking impossible. They might also be perfect for wearing in suspension since the heels could rest on the ground and take a small percentage of the weight. Note that they could also have the Ultraheel arch built into them, thus making them suitable for extreme arch training as well.
6. The Ultraheel
The Ultraheel takes the highheel to its extreme in a wearable shoe. The illustration here shows a woman who is fully trained to wear this type of shoe. This shoe is designed to function rather like a ballet toe shoe in having the foot in a nearly vertical position with an extreme arch to the foot. This gives the shoe the highest heel possible in a wearable shoe without a platform sole. Note the difference between this type of shoe and the following one which uses shoe construction tricks (as discussed in the first section above) to create a higher heel.
The Ultraheel shoe definitely takes some training time to be wearable. First, time must be spent simply getting the foot accustomed to the arch. Second, standing in them puts extra stress on parts of the foot not normally stressed, and endurance must be gained through many practice sessions of short duration. Third, because balance is indeed precarious, wearing them safely requires constant attention to balance. Below are pictures showing various ultraheel designs.
This design is slightly like a Pseudoshoe because the heel is an inch or so too long, thus requiring the girl to hang on to something while standing…
Also, since some might doubt that these shoes are actually “wearable”, the last picture is of a girl in ultraheels who was photographed while walking upstairs. (And I should also add that her choice of skirt and hose is very fetching, too!)