How to walk in stiletto heels

It’s December and there are always many parties at this time of the year, like end of year functions, Christmas parties and New Year’s eve parties. Since it’s the party season, I thought I would write about stiletto heels – the quintessential party shoe. Women love stiletto heels because they instantly make you taller and make your legs look longer. Here are some of my tips for how to rock in your stilettos.

First, are those heels too high for you? If your ankles wobble when you’re standing straight in your heels, then YES those heels are too ambitious for you. Start with a lower heel.

So, how do you walk in stiletto heels? Personally, I find it helpful to lean back a bit and concentrate on a heel-toe, heel-toe action when walking. If your weight is too much forward or if you’re trying to walk with your weight on the balls of your feet, your feet are going to hurt a lot by the end of the night. It’s probably bad for your posture to do that too.

Wearing stilettos is a bit like trying to navigate an obstacle course. Stairs, gravel, cracks in the pavement all become safety hazards when you’re wearing stiletto heels. To go up and down stairs, always hold on to the railing and make sure your entire foot (toe and heel) is on the step. I find it easier to go up and down stairs at a slight angle, instead of facing directly forwards, as it’s easier that way to make sure your whole foot is on the step. I don’t recommend going up or down stairs using only your toes or the balls of your feet, as the back of your stiletto heel may catch on the edge of a step and send you flying.

Just like with anything else, to walk with style in stilettos – practice, practice, practice! You also need to practice on all surfaces – tiles, wood floor, dance floor, gravel, pavement, plush carpet – as walking on these surfaces all have a different feel. If you’re planning to dance in stiletto heels, even more practice is needed.

Final word of advice – taking your shoes off when you’re dancing may not be a good idea because other people wearing stiletto heels may step on your feet and there may be other hazards on the dance floor, like broken glass.

To save your feet some pain, take breaks, sit down and rest when you can. Or else have a spare pair of more comfortable shoes in the car … just in case. Have a blast, enjoy all your parties this December and see you again in the new year!

Shih Yen wears a pair of stilettos (photo by Jaime Smith)

Chilean leather shoes

Lonely Planet has released their top 10 cities to visit in 2012. Chile, the capital of Santiago, is one of the cities on the list. I was in Chile during the rescate histórico, the historic rescue of the 33 Chilean miners trapped for 69 days underground. Words cannot describe how amazing it was to be in a public square in the centre of Santiago, watching the rescue live on a big screen TV, while all around me Chilean people cheered, waved flags, and signs with words of support. I can still hear the cheers: “Chi-chi-chi, le-le-le, los mineros de Chile!!

Apart from Chilean miners, Chile is also famous for its handcrafted leather goods. I found handmade belts, wallets, bags and of course shoes all at a very reasonable price. Most people in Chile must wear leather shoes, if the number of shoe shine stands in Santiago are anything to go by.

Having a shoe shine – a common sight in Santiago

The best thing I bought in Chile was a pair of beautiful handcrafted leather shoes. I bought it at Centro Artesanal Santa Lucia, a handicraft market in the centre of Santiago along Avenida Libertador Bernado O’Higgins, opposite Cerro Santa Lucia, Santa Lucia Hill. Apart from leather goods, the market also sells other Chilean handicrafts like copper and lapis lazuli products.

A shoe shop at Centro Artesanal Santa Lucia, Santiago de Chile

It was interesting trying to buy a pair of shoes without speaking much Spanish. I tried a bright red pair, which was unfortunately a bit small, before settling on a black pair of Mary Janes. The leather smells so lovely and the leather is very soft. It was a bargain at 15 000 Chilean pesos. That’s less than NZ$40, and under RM100.

My beautiful handcrafted pair of Chilean leather shoes