If you’ve ever hobbled home with blisters, or had to remove your shoes halfway through a night because they hurt so much, you’ll be pleased to hear there are many ways to make party shoes more comfortable.
From old wives’ tales to popular internet tips and products, we put them to the test…
Apply a slick of clear gel
Finding a gel anti-perspirant was tricky. After visiting several shops, I finally discovered Gillette Sport.
The stick was too big to apply the gel neatly, so I scooped some off and slathered a thin layer on with my fingers, before popping on a pair of stilettos that usually rub horribly.
Initially, the gel created an invisible layer that stopped the shoes rubbing. After an hour, however, it started to wear off and the shoes hurt again.
A second application was a bad idea. The anti-perspirant stung my raw skin and I had to rinse my feet with warm water.
Verdict: It may be a good idea, but it doesn’t work for long. 1/5
This is favoured by catwalk models. Tape your third and fourth toes together with surgical tape to ease pressure on nerves between the toes.
I used Boots surgical tape, then wore pointed stilettos that usually crush my toes — and went on the school run.
To my surprise, I felt more stable. Although the shoes still pinched, the familiar ache I get in the balls of my feet didn’t arrive for hours, and wasn’t anywhere near as severe.
Verdict: A useful tip, but not for strappy or open-toed sandals. 4/5
Stuff a plastic ziplock bag half-filled with water in each shoe and put them in the freezer. The freezing water that expands should gently stretch the shoes by up to half a size.
Canvas or suede shoes are not recommended as they may get marked. I tried it with an old pair of leather court shoes. Fitting the bags was tricky, but I finally put them in the freezer to chill overnight.
By the next day, the bags had spilt over the sides of the shoes, which were as uncomfortable as ever.
Verdict: A waste of time. 0/5
Put on a pair of thick socks, then your shoes, and blast the shoes with a hairdryer, flexing your toes to loosen the leather. Keep the shoes on as they cool, then check the fit with your regular tights or socks. Repeat if needed.
I again tried the leather courts but couldn’t get them on over my thick socks, so used two pairs of regular socks. Holding the hairdryer 6in from the shoes, I slowly warmed up the leather and flexed my feet as they cooled. Two more blasts, and they had stretched to an almost-perfect fit.
Verdict: Works well on suede and leather. Apply a nourishing leather treatment afterwards to stop shoes cracking. 4/5
To get rid of irritating seams inside shoes, veteran supermodel Marie Helvin suggests filing them down then applying a thin layer of Vaseline to the smoothed area.
I tried this on my kitten heels, but the sharp edge was inside the toe and tricky to reach, so I taped a piece of nail file to a wooden spoon handle, which worked well. I rubbed a little Vaseline over it, and the shoes felt perfect.
Verdict: Fiddly, but it works. 3/5
Apply Scholl Party Feet Invisible Gel Sore Spots to areas inside your shoe that irritate.
I decided to test these gel pillows on a new pair of party heels, applying one at the back of each heel, and two on either side of where the front of the shoes were likely to rub.
The pads stuck really well to the inner surface of the shoes and the flexible gel spots felt soft and cushioning against my skin.
Verdict: Excellent. 4/5