I had the idea to do this post a few weeks ago when I was (in my head) cursing the way the summer heat and humidity made me feel in my shoes. I asked Kelly, founder of Stiletto Hardware (you can read my reviews here) to help us gals candidly address our most common shoe problems. After all, who better to dish out advice about all of our foot and shoe concerns than a gal who invented products to make our heels more comfortable?
Kelly, founder of Stiletto Hardware
Ready? Let’s begin.
A: Kelly says to DIY with ICE---this method will stretch leather shoes from ½ to 1 full size and will stretch out the entire toe-box area. Check out this YouTube tutorial for instructions on how to make those sample sale shoes wearable.
Q: My feet are as wide as the day is long…HELP!
A: If you only need to stretch the wide portion of the toe-box of your shoe, Kelly recommends purchasing these shoe stretcher devices. They’ll come in handy if you tend to frequently have trouble finding shoes in wider widths.
Q: My shoes are so big they slip off---but I LOVE them---how can I wear them comfortably?
A: Kelly says shoe inserts are your BFF in this situation and advises to add a ball-of-foot cushion at the front of your shoe, which will prevent your heels from slipping out of the shoe.
If that doesn’t do the trick, Kelly says to add another cushion---a back-of-heel cushion to help your heel grip to the back of the shoes. In fact, Kelly just launched a new product called Achilles Heel Grips, which are uniquely curved and contoured to help your heels grip the back of your shoes. She jokes, “it’s all to help keep you from losing your shoe like Cinderella!” Thankfully, Cinderella's prince did find her in the end, but do you really want to go through all of that drama? I think a modern-day Cinderella would have used shoe inserts (and instead of glass slippers, she probably would have rocked glittery Louboutins...just sayin')
A: Thankfully, Kelly says there are several solutions for this problem (she even created her own shoe liners with antimicrobial materials to combat this issue!)
- Silver Linings by Chu Shu--- Kelly met Jen, the owner of Silver Linings, at a tradeshow in Las Vegas and ever since they’ve been swapping stories of running a small business! Her shoe liners are paper thin and use silver based technology to keep bacteria at bay. You can check out her products at www.silverliningsnewyork.com
- Kelly also recommends crystal deodorant spray to spray your feet prior to wearing your shoes. The crystal spray is made from 100% natural mineral salts and is free of aluminum chlorohydrate and fragrance. When applied, it creates a layer of odor-killing barrier that lasts all day. I’ve also used antiperspirant spray on my feet and it works pretty well.
A: I’ve definitely struggled with this issue (full disclosure, right?) Since shoes aren’t like a breathable cotton tee, it can be pretty easy for them to accumulate bacteria and thus, an unpleasant odor. Kelly’s top solutions?
- Place your shoes in the freezer to kill bacteria---yes, it sounds kind of crazy to put your shoes in the freezer---but wrap them in a plastic bag and freeze the for 24 hours and say hello to fresh shoes when they de-frost
- To keep the insides if your shoes as new as the day you bought them, use baby wipes after wearing your pricier soles such as Louboutin’s or Jimmy Choos---Kelly recommends these ones.
A: Kelly says if the bottom of your shoes are made from leather, you must take them to a cobbler and have them toppy soled. They’ll apply a rubber coating to the bottoms of your shoes and they’ll last longer.
Another tip? Monitor the heel tips of your high heels---when they start to wear down, take them to a cobbler for replacement tips---the best part? It will only cost you about $10.
With a little care, says, Kelly, quality shoes will last for many years and will truly be “investment pieces.”
Q: I love shopping online, but I get flustered when it comes to shoes because I never know what will work for me or how they’ll fit---any solutions?
A: Kelly says to do your research and search for a shoe style you’re looking for on multiple sites---and not just to price compare, but to view as many photos as possible as hey can vary depending on which website you’re visiting.
The most important picture view, she says, is the picture of the bottom of the shoe. It will help you see whether the shoe is cut narrow or wide and more often guarantees a better fit especially when ordering online. Like clothing brands, every shoe brand has its own unique fit,not all size 6’s fit the same! Check out the reviews too---lots of women who bought the shoes before you did might have some good insight on comfort level and how large (or small!) the shoe runs.
Q: I impulse-buy shoes and never wear them because I realize how uncomfortable they are. How can I avoid this?
A: Make sure you’re checking the lift height of any shoe you’re considering, says Kelly. To calculate the lift height, take the total height of the shoe and minus the platform height. What she’s learned from her experiences is that everyone’s feet can handle a different Lift Height due to their anatomy. Knowing your limits will prevent you from buying shoes that will never see the light of day! Personally, Kelly sticks to shoes with a maximum Lift Height of 3 inches and says she’ll never end up wearing them if she purchases higher ones.
Big thanks to Kelly for sharing all of these great tips and tricks with us. I know our feet (and shoes) will thank us! And, while you're here---share your best foot or shoe tip in the comments below!