With retro styles and old school glamour still firmly on the fashion agenda, peep toe shoes are endlessly popular. These can be showy stilettos or cute pumps, with an open toe that reveals a hint of glossy pedicure. A fashion dream, peep toes often have glamorous but uncomfortable heels. Added to this, many of us buy the cheap high street versions of seasonal styles. Yet excessively cheap, poorly made heels aren’t known for their comfort or promotion of foot health. Wearing beautiful peep toes should be as fun as it looks and not a catalogue of agony.
Run your finger around the toe opening of your shoe. Are there any jagged lumps or rough areas that might rub? Smooth these down firlmly with a finger until they soften. Trim any bits of hard glue or unravelled stitching so that the whole peep toe is smooth and comfortable.
Do the same with the inside of the heel. Sculptural couture-style peep toes often have a hard, uncomfortable heel area as well.
Place gel cushions in the shoes under the ball of the foot. Developed especially to ease the pressure that heels put on the balls of the feet, these should also stop feet sliding into the peep hole and rubbing around the toes.
The fashionista tip
Cut a length of surgical tape, sufficient to wrap around your third and fourth toes a few times.
Wrap this around toes, being careful not to truss them up too tightly and compromise circulation. Make it just firm enough to keep them together should be fine. Wrap the tape at the base of the toes so that it does not show when the shoes are on.
Smooth and secure the tape before slipping on peep toes. Many fashion fans swear by this technique and the aim is to avoid pressure on the nerve in between the third and fourth toes.
- "The £29 million agony of the high-heel brigade: Women 'are footing a costly bill to fix problems left by towering shoes"; David Wilkes: 2008
- "If your feet sweat in shoes, ditch your shoes"; Dr. Nirenberg: 2009
- Medicine Plus 2013: Foot pain
- "A totally weird trick for making high heels more comfortable"; Tracey Lomrantz Lester: 2010
- Buy the best quality peep toes you can find. Vinyl high heeled shoes made with a gaping toe and thin soles are bound to cause maximum discomfort. These shoes encourage feet to perspire and are often inaccurately sized.
- If using an insole to adjust the size of the shoe, trim this around the toe so that it doesn't peep through the toe opening.
- If you find peep toed stilettos hard to keep on comfortably, try neat '50s styles with an ankle strap. Lower kitten heels or retro peep toed t-bars also look cute but allow feet to relax.
- Fans of old school quality might look for genuine vintage peep toes in charity shops and markets. Shoes from the 1960s and earlier, were made before cheap mass manufacture, so are often hand stitched and made from soft leather. True to the spirit of vintage, they're perfect to wear with todays retro inspired fashions.
- Never ignore persistent pain, especially if it continues when you remove shoes. Wearing uncomfortable shoes for long periods of time can provoke long term conditions. These should be treated by a doctor.
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