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how to walk in heels when you're fat

Adding a pair of heels to your outfit really makes a statement. Plus, that little extra bit of height and the way that heels seem to accentuate your curvy calves and backside really have a way of making a woman feel confident in her own skin.

With that being said, all of us ladies know how difficult it is to walk in heels when you’re carrying around extra weight. Problems like soreness in muscle groups like your lower back and calves is common and there’s also a risk of blisters or feet swelling.

So, how do you walk in heels when you’re plus size?

You can walk in heels as a plus size woman by choosing a shoe that fits well, preparing yourself by stretching your feet and calves, and walking in your shoes properly. Starting with a shorter, wider heel while you learn to balance and walk and increasing to a higher heel (if you want) also helps. 

Next, I’ll go into detail about how to walk in heels when you’re fat, including how to position your foot and distribute your weight as you walk. I’ll also give you some extra tips that can help you walk in high heels as a curvy woman.

How to Walk in Heels When You’re Plus Size

Like all things when you are overweight, learning how to walk in heels comes with its challenges. In fact, it’s one of those situations where the heavier you are, the more uncomfortable it becomes to wear heels.

A lot of the reason that heels are uncomfortable is because of the way that your weight is distributed on your foot. Below, I’ll talk about how to walk in heels properly to better distribute your weight and reduce pain.

Walk with Your Toes Spread

Spreading your toes is going to feel unnatural at first, especially if you don’t wear a lot of heels or pointed shoes. With that being said, people who are overweight might find it’s easier to go with a shoe with a larger box that is rounded or square, rather than one that brings your toes to a sharp point.

Having that extra wiggle room lets you spread your toes a little bit wider. This helps with your balance a lot because your weight is being distributed across your toes and the whole ball of your foot instead of just the ball. It also reduces pain because your toes aren’t being squished as much.

Trust Your Heel

It’s embarrassing when accidents happen, no matter how prepared you are for them. Something that can really help though is having the confidence to know that it isn’t your weight. Other people also trip, have heels break, or have other malfunctions and it doesn’t matter what size they are.

Knowing that really helps you trust the heel that you’re walking on. This is important because when you walk, you actually want to put as much weight as you can on the heel of your foot instead of directly on the ball. This helps with balance and reduces pain.

As you place your foot down while walking, you’ll also want to start with your heel. This puts the weight on your heel longer, then you are only on the ball of your foot for a moment before stepping forward again.

Walk with Good Posture

Standing completely upright also helps with trusting your heel and avoiding crunching down on your toes. While posture is beneficial no matter what shoes you are wearing, it’s especially important in heels that you stand with your back straight and without hunching forward.

Walking upright reduces the chance that you’ll get back pain from hunching forward in your heels, too. To walk with good posture, stand tall with your shoulders back and aligned with your ankles and hips.

Another benefit of good posture is that it has a way of lengthening your body. This helps you look more graceful as you walk in your heels.

Practice Feeling Natural

I’ve done my research and tried myself and the first several times that I put these tips into practice, it felt like my gait was just awkward. It was likely because I was paying too much attention to the details.

Being able to walk more naturally and gracefully really came down to practice. I actually put a mirror in my living room and practiced walking in my heels several times. It really did wonders for my confidence once I got the hang of it, too!

Take Breaks

No matter how good you are at walking in heels and how well you distribute your weight, the reality is that your feet are going to get tired after a while. You might even have some pain.

The best thing you can do is get in the habit of finding somewhere to sit down after a while and take a small break. If you can find a table to hide your feet under, you might even be able to take your feet out of your shoes for a few minutes. I’ve found this really revitalizes them and gets you ready to walk again.

Other Tips for Walking in Heels When You’re Fat

Fortunately, there are a lot of different tips and tricks that can help you feel confident and sexy in your favorite heels without as much pain. Let’s jump in.

Start with the Right Shoe

Personally, my biggest problem when it comes to wearing heels is the lack of ankle support. My feet have a tendency to roll inward, probably something to do with the way that I distribute weight when I walk. I’m also flat-footed, which also does me no favors when it comes to wearing heels.

That being said, even I enjoy that confident feeling that I get from wearing a pair of heels. The key to looking great and being comfortable is the proper shoe.

For women who don’t have a lot of recent experience wearing heels, the best thing to do is choose a heel that offers a little more ankle support. Additionally, a wider or thicker heel helps with weight distribution across your shoe and maintains your balance.

Something else that you’ll want to be careful with is sizing. The width and overall size of the shoe varies between manufacturers and I find this to be even more true with high heels than it is with tennis shoes. A shoe that doesn’t fit well can cause blisters and make it more likely that you’ll trip.

Stretch Your Feet and Calves Beforehand

When you put on a pair of high heels, you’re no longer standing with your heel and foot to the ground. Not only does this shift how you distribute your weight on your feet, but it affects the muscles in your ankles, calves, knees, and spine as well.

One doctor recommends stretching your plantar fascia and calves daily to make it easier to wear high heels. This is a great technique for plus-sized ladies because it lets you get your feet ready to wear heels before you put them on reduces strain on your joints.

To do this stretch, you’ll need a book with a 1-inch spine. Place it on the floor and position your foot with the ball of your foot on the book and your heel down on the floor.

Then, bend forward and try to grab your toes. It’s okay to bend at the knee if you aren’t quite that flexible- kind of similar to the way you’d bend to help paint your toenails when you can’t reach them.

Hold the stretch for about 30 seconds and then switch to the other feet. Do this at least 2-3 times on each side every day. After a week, you can increase the size of the book to 2-inches for a week and then increase to 3-inches. Three inches is about the maximum that you should do.

This Youtube video has a few other exercises that you can try to help better prepare your muscles for walking in heels, especially if you plan on standing in them for a while.

Be Wary of How Long You Wear Them

For me, I don’t usually put on a pair of high heels unless I can swap them out for a more sensible shoe a few hours later. I like them for events or even taking pictures in cute outfits, but they really aren’t something that I’d wear all day long at work.

The decision to limit how long I wear high heels comes down to comfort for me. That being said, there are some risks of wearing high heels too often, even for people who are thinner. Wearing heels puts your feet in an “unnatural” position that doesn’t necessarily support your muscles and joints as well as it usually does.

Not only does this make heels to walk (and balance in) when you’re plus sized, but it can cause a slew of health problems ranging from chronic neck, shoulder, back, or heel pain to ankle inversion. Wearing high heels and walking around on flights is one of the reasons that some flight attendants have chronic pain in their feet or ankles.

Can You Wear Heels When You’re Overweight?

Most people can wear heels even if they are overweight. However, the real question is whether you can wear your heels comfortably and safely walk around in them.

People who are heavier might have wider, flatter feet or have trouble finding heels that provide the support they need. However, this doesn’t mean that they don’t exist.

That being said, people who have problems with their feet swelling after a long day or who already have chronic pain in their ankles, legs, lower back, or neck may want to avoid high heels because they can make these problems worse.

Is It Hard to Walk in Heels When You’re Plus Size?

Whether you consider yourself plus size, full-figured, or somewhere in between, chances are that you will struggle a little with walking in heels. This is especially true if it’s been a while since you’ve worn them, since you’ll need to use muscles in your feet and legs that you don’t normally use when you walk.

Fortunately, walking in heels isn’t especially hard once you’ve had a little practice. It’s like a lot of things, including physical activities like playing tennis, mountain climbing, and paddleboarding– the more you do it, the easier it gets.

Why Do People Wear High Heels if They Hurt Their Feet?

The last time I wore high heels was at a friend’s wedding. Needless to say, after a few drinks I was out on the floor dancing without those cute wedges that I had matched to my dress and dancing in my stockinged feet instead. I’d much rather be out there in tights than sitting at the table, rubbing the soles of my feet after just a few minutes of dancing.

For the girls that can do it, kudos to you. For a lot of us women though, being on our feet for long periods leads to a lot of pain. Even if you aren’t feeling it right then, you usually are the next day.

Why do women put up with the pain of high heels? There’s something about the right pair of shoes that instills a sense of boldness and confidence. Bottom line, it’s nice to feel sexy sometimes whether you’re pairing heels with a pleated skirt or a pair of elastic waist jeans and a dressy top.

This is backed by science too. High heels are usually associated with higher status, femininity, and a higher level of sexual attractiveness.

Final Word

For people wondering how to walk in high heels when you’re fat, the best advice I can give is to work your way up to it. Work on stretching those muscles that you engage while walking in heels and choose shoes that offer better support, especially when you are just learning.

For the rest, it’s one of those things where practice makes perfect. Hopefully, these tips help you get there, too!

Camila R.

Camila is a body positive blogger and fat activist that's focused on helping people of all sizes live life big! That means accepting yourself at any size and just enjoying life! She lives in New Mexico with her husband and two chihauhuas.

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