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Whether you're a wedding guest or it's your own big day, sore feet and rubbing heels can get in the way of you having the time of your life on the dancefloor. With these five top tips from Rachel Clinkard — of family-run shoe company Charles Clinkard — you can give your feet some more TLC during wedding season.
Weddings are some of the most memorable days of our lives, so it's important that we enjoy these special occasions without the distraction of sore feet or painful shoes. However, from dancing the night away to that all-important walk down the aisle, we tend to be on our feet all day. To help you stay comfortable and celebrate into the small hours, here are five of my top tips for looking after your feet at weddings.
Break in new shoes
The first golden rule for any event is to never wear new, unworn shoes for the occasion. It's always wise to try your shoes on beforehand and walk for short distances to see where any problem areas may be, especially for high heels. By breaking your shoes in, you'll stretch and soften them a little to avoid any stiff material digging into your feet. To avoid getting your all-important wedding shoes dirty before the big day, you can always walk these short distances indoors. Wearing thick, fluffy socks while you do this is also a great way to loosen new shoes up more (which might be another reason to do it indoors!). While high heels can take a bit of getting used to, it's also wise to break in men's shoes because a new pair of brogues, loafers, or Oxfords can be uncomfortable too. As well as wearing them around the house or for quick trips outside, stuffing new shoes with newspaper is a tried and tested method for stretching them out gently. This is a great DIY method, but you can also buy very affordable shoe stretchers from your local shoe retailer which are specially designed to do the job.
Invest in good quality shoes
As a bride or groom, there will no doubt be plenty of thought going into the outfit for your special day. While the dress and suit are of course the stars of the show, make sure that you don't leave your footwear as an afterthought. When it comes to bridal shoes, it's best to opt for a lower heel height, a block heel, or a wedge, as these will provide a lot more stability than towering stilettos. Good heels will also have more cushioning in the sole and be made with high-quality materials, so it's always worth spending a little more and feeling as comfortable as possible on your big day. The same goes for the groom's shoes: loafers or monk strap shoes can often be the most comfortable, while brogues and Oxfords might need a little more breaking in. Either way, investing in quality shoes means there's nothing stopping you from wearing them for years to come.
If you're attending as a guest, then it's still worth making the investment in well-made shoes. However, something to consider is just how versatile they are, and whether you can wear them for any other weddings you're invited to. Once you've found a comfortable pair, it's often best to opt for classic styles in colours like nude, black, or metallic rather than bold shades and statement patterns. This means you're able to wear them with any dresses or suits you buy in future, which not only makes them a worthwhile investment but also means you'll have comfortable, broken-in shoes ready for the next wedding you attend.
Try some high-heel hacks
When picking out any high-heeled shoes, it's worth considering the placement of the heel itself. It's best to avoid those with the spike of the high heel placed right at the back of the shoe, as this can add more pressure to your toes. Instead, heels that sit right at the centre of the ball of your foot can take some of this pressure off and make walking (and dancing) more comfortable.
If your high heels have an ankle strap or are a little tight on the back of your heel, you may be surprised to learn that some strategically placed roll-on deodorant can make the world of difference. Apply a generous layer of deodorant to the places your shoes will rub, as this can prevent them from slipping and create a sort of protective barrier between you and your heels. You may also benefit from sprinkling some talcum powder on the sole of your shoes, as this also avoids any unwanted slipping by absorbing excess sweat.
One tip that might sound a little obscure is taping your third and fourth toes together before putting on your heels. While this may sound like a bit of an old wives' tale, some podiatrists have actually confirmed the logic behind taping the third and fourth toes, as it can help to reduce pressure and inflammation in some of the main nerves responsible for foot pain (Strive Physiotherapy). Just be sure to use a breathable, skin-friendly variety like surgical or microporous tape so that you're not ripping duct tape off your feet at the end of the night!
Sometimes, no matter how much you break in new shoes — or wear a comfortable pair of old reliables — your feet are just no match for a night on the dancefloor. So, as a precaution, always make sure to bring a few extra blister plasters, gel inserts, or roll-on deodorant in your handbag or suit pocket. This way, if all else fails, you can take a quick dance break, fix any aches and pains, and head back out there feeling as comfortable as possible. You may even be the hero of the hour if another member of the wedding is struggling with painful pair of brogues or high heels!
You may also decide to bring a pair of flip-flops, slippers, or any other flat shoes to slip on at the end of the night. Some couples include these in their wedding favours, along with clever things like a hangover kit with electrolyte sachets, sleep masks, and paracetamol. Flip flops or slippers can even be personalised with the date of the wedding or the names of the happy couple, to serve as a memento of your special day. This kind of fun yet practical wedding favour is a fun way to thank guests for coming and can let couples show some personality amidst all the wedding traditions.
It's important both for guests and the happy couple to be as comfortable as possible at a wedding, so you can all enjoy the day with no distractions. By looking after your feet — both with carefully chosen shoes and a few clever tips and tricks — you can celebrate this special occasion with friends and family all night long.
Check out charlesclinkard.co.uk