Is it possible to cut down heels on shoes?

Written by lindsay pietroluongo
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Is it possible to cut down heels on shoes?
Shorten the heels on your favourite pair of shoes. (Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images)

High heels may look great, but they're not the best choice for a woman's feet. Aside from hurting the ankles and knees and affecting posture in the long run, heels are sometimes painful. If you have a pair that you absolutely love and simply can't part with, but that are a strain on your body, consider having the heels professionally lowered. This is a great way to save your beloved shoes and your health.

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To determine how much height you're able to have taken off the heel without ruining the shoe or changing how the shoe fits your feet, put your shoe on the end of a table, letting the heel hang off while keeping the shoe straight. Lower the heel -- when the back of the ball of the foot is resting on the table, you can determine, based on how much heel is now below the table, how much you can have taken off. When you bring your shoe to a cobbler, make sure they don't plan on taking more than this amount of the heel. If they do, you may want to try a different shop.


While it's nearly impossible to take more than 1 inch off most high heels, and sometimes it's only possible to remove less than an inch, removing any amount is still helpful to your body. Even 1/4 inch difference can reduce the pressure on your foot.

Health Problems

If the heel of your shoe is more than 2 inches high, it can contribute to both back and foot problems. If the heel of your shoe is 3 inches high or more, it adds seven times the amount of pressure on the ball of your foot over flats. Also, when trying on heels, make sure that there is 1/2 inch between the front of your shoe and your longest toe. If you want to wear stilettos or high heels that are over 2 inches high, wear them for a short duration of time and try not to wear them every day.


Even when done by a professional, changing the height of the heel can sometimes make it impossible to wear the shoe, depending on the shoe's shape. This is because the change can make a previously-balanced shoe unbalanced. The modifications must be done carefully, so make sure you're putting your heels in the hands of a cobbler with plenty of experiencing lowering heels.

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