Clarks’ Guide to Wearing Heels

If you’ve decided to try heels for the first time, chances are you might be feeling a little apprehensive. There are so many styles and designs available, plus you’ll need to consider your heel height and – the best part – what to wear them with.

Luckily, there are plenty more options than just the 5-inch skyscraper heels that you may be picturing. There’s no such thing as a ‘normal’ heel height. Choose something that works for you and enjoy adding a bit of height to your look.

Ready to give high heels a go? Our guide to wearing heels covers everything from the types of heel available to the ways you can style them. Read on to get inspired!

Types of heel

There are three types of heel to choose from: low, medium and high. The choice you make all comes down to personal preference!

Low heels

Low heels are a great place to start for heel novices. Measuring from around 3-6cm, they’re easy to walk in, making them the best heels for rougher terrain. Low heels still increase your height, but the risk of blisters and discomfort is much less than high heels.

Mid heels

If you want to see more of a dramatic difference to your height but would rather not go all out, mid heels are the best option for you. With a heel height of around 6.5-8.5cm, they’re perfect for day-to-day wear, whether that’s at the office for work or at a date night dinner. Court shoes are a great place to start if you’re looking for a versatile mid heel.

High Heels

If you want to make a statement, a pair of high heels will do just that. Measuring over 9cm high, you’ll be at least a few inches taller whenever you pop on a pair. Wear your high heels to a date night or a party to really impress.

How to measure heel height

Measuring heel height is easy – simply rest your heels on a flat surface, then measure the length of the heel from the bottom (touching the ground) to the base of the shoe. Record your measurement to work out whether the heels are small, mid or high.

What is a comfortable heel height?

The most comfortable heel height is different for each person and depends on your foot shape, the type of heels you’re wearing (i.e., boot heels vs slingback heels), and how much experience you have wearing heels.

However, generally speaking, the lower the heel, the more comfortable you should feel, as your feet aren’t having to support your body weight at such an angle.

How to style heels

There are many ways you can style heels, depending on the event and the occasion. Here are some ideas to help inspire you!

Casual outfits with heels

If you’re wearing your heels in a day-to-day setting, opt for a mid or low pair for maximum comfort. Heeled boots or strappy heeled sandals are some of the most comfortable styles to walk in and should see you nicely through the day. Sling your heels on with your favorite pair of jeans or sweater and leggings combo, and you’re good to go.

Office outfits with heels

If you’re wearing heels for work, comfort and practicality are just as important as style. Choose a pair with straps to ease the pressure off the soles of your feet and prevent your feet from sliding around in the shoe, which could lead to blisters.

If your work environment is very corporate, opt for low to mid heels in black patent leather. Pair with a black pencil skirt and a white blouse for a classic look. For more smart-casual offices, heels will look great with black pants and a patterned sweater.

Party outfits with heels

Heels are incredibly flattering, helping to elongate your legs and showcase your femininity. This makes them a great choice as a dress shoe for parties and nights out! If you want to go all out, pop on your highest heels with a little black dress, then add some sparkly accessories. In the colder months, pair your party heels with flared pants and a nice top for effortless glam.

How to walk in heels

Want to learn how to walk in heels? Follow our simple steps:

  1. Walk heel-to-toe and take small steps – while you may be used to walking toe first, walking heel-to-toe looks a lot more natural. Heels make your stride shorter than usual, so take small steps to help with balance

  2. Imagine you’re walking down a straight line – as you walk, visualize a straight line coming from you towards your destination. Try not to stare at your feet, as this can make your balance worse

  3. Slightly arch your feet – if you feel your feet slipping, tense your foot into a slight arch every time you step to help your shoe fit closer to your foot

  4. Don’t rush – walking in heels takes practice, and if you’re a little wobbly, the best thing to do is to take it slow. Take it one small step at a time to avoid any disastrous slips

  5. Practice, practice, practice – the more frequently you wear heels, the more your confidence will increase, so stick at it! If you’re planning on wearing heels to an important event and are feeling a little rusty, why not wear them around the house until you feel more confident?

How to make heels more comfortable

If you’re searching for comfortable heels, opt for boots or heels with straps to prevent your feet from sliding around, and choose a low to mid heel. Ultimately though, the comfort of your heels comes down to the fit.

Before purchasing a pair of heels, make sure you have accurate measurements of your feet so you know what size to go for. Use our measure and fit guide to get the perfect measurements.

Heels should fit nicely on your feet and shouldn’t be too big or too small. There should be about one finger's width of space between your big toe (or your longest) and the end of the shoe. Walk in your new heels and pay attention to how your feet feel – if they’re sliding around, your shoes may be too big. If you feel lots of pinching and pressure on your toes and heels, your shoes may be too small.

With our handy guide, you’ll soon get used to wearing heels! Read more about how to measure feet for shoes, or discover our full collection of women’s shoes.