For as long as high heeled shoes have been in existence, women have been looking for a way to make them more comfortable.
Some women have resorted to measures as extreme as having collagen injected into the balls of their feet, while other women have turned to a bevy of insertable cushioning products.
But recently, I tried a product that's very different from any other comfort product I've tried. First, because it's designed to accomplish more than simply padding the shoes, and secondly, because it actually worked for me.
Insolia Shoe Inserts: Attempting to Make High Heels More ComfortableThe product is called "Insolia," and you may have actually seen shoes billing this as a built-in feature, because there are a few lines that come with Insolia technology manufactured right into the shoes -- certain DKNY and RSVP shoes come to mind.
But what I tested is the Insolia insert, and my first impression of the product is a very positive one.
Why High Heels Aren't Comfortable and How Insolia WorksHigh heels shift the wearer's weight forward onto the balls of the feet. This results in improper body alignment, instability, and an enormous amount of pressure on the front part of the feet.
Invented by renowned podiatrist, Dr. Howard Dananberg, "Insolia" is not an insole or a cushioned insert. In fact, it isn't even long enough to extend under the balls of your feet. Instead, this insert sits under the heel and the arch of your foot, and somehow manages to shift the weight back onto your heels.
To look at the thin, clear, rubbery inserts, one would never believe they could make such a difference. And for some, they won't.
The Insolia web site is very straightforward about the fact that they won't work for everyone, and the results will vary, due to the simple fact that each person's feet are unique. Medical conditions and sizing will also have an effect on how well the product works, though the four available sizes enhance the heel wearing experience of approximately 80% of the women who try them. Since they just won't work for everyone, the official site offers a 30 day money back guarantee.
Additionally, this product may be difficult to use in shoes that have been worn a lot -- especially if you use lotion or cream on your feet, as the inserts may not stay in place.
My Own Experience with Insolia Shoe InsertsThe first thing I did when when my Insolia inserts arrived in the mail was to insert them into the most uncomfortable pair of heels I own.
There are very detailed instructions on how to place the inserts, and getting it exactly right took a few tries. In fact, I'm not even sure I ever got it "exactly" right, but I stopped moving them around when I noticed an improvement. Who knows, maybe with a bit more adjusting, the results could be even better.
I wore the shoes around the house for the next three hours. I didn't suddenly feel like I was wearing flats or anything, but it would have been impossible to not notice a difference. These 4" heels that I could barely tolerate for 5 minutes before, suddenly felt like heels of about two inches ... you know, except for the fact that they made me so much taller.
I realize now that this may not have been the best way to test this product. Since the high heels I used for my test were so unbearably uncomfortable before adding Insolia, they didn't have enough wear time for me to make a good before/after comparison. The product just made a pair of unwearable heels wearable.
Since they come in packs of three pairs, I have two more sets to try out. Next I'm going to put them into a pair of high heels I actually wear regularly, to see if they can improve the feeling of those as well.
If you want to try to make your own high heels more comfortable now, you can use the resources below for more information.