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10 Major High Heel Shopping Mistakes You Are Making Right Now

Retail is a psychologically driven space.  From the music you hear on the speakers to the type of floor you walk on, it all has psychological effect on how and what you buy. It’s just like when you pass by a Cinnabon at the mall, and the aroma pulls you to go in for the irresistibly sweet rolls.  When it comes to heels, don’t listen to the subliminal music in the background or you might overspend and choose the wrong pair of heels.

Instead, we’ll show you how to use your sight and your tactile to make better buying decisions.  There’s a system, a way, and a checklist to selecting comfortable heels.  But could your shopping habits be hindering you from choosing and spotting the right heels?

Below we explain the 10 Major Shopping Mistakes most women make when buying high heels.  Brace yourself!!!

1. Walking on a Carpet

Have you noticed that almost every shoe store you’ve gone in is carpeted?  Ha, shoe stores do this on purpose, so that when you try on those shoes and walk on their carpet, those NEW SHOES feel as if they have an extra layer of padding when they really don’t. Next time you try on a new pair of heels, walk on the floor and not on the carpet to truly judge those shoes for their true padding and comfort.

2. Try & Buy vs. Try, Walk, & Buy

Most women will try on a new pair of shoes, take a few steps on them, and then buy them. This is a huge mistake.  You should walk in those new heels for at least 15 minutes.  Yes, walk around in the store to truly get a good gauge if they truly fit you, accommodate your problem areas, and if you could see yourself lasting in them for at least 4 hours.  Next time don’t “Try and Buy”.  Instead, “Try, Walk, & Buy”.

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3. Choosing the Wrong Size

Don’t listen to those bloggers who advise you on buying heels a half size smaller or larger than your true size.  This is absolutely incorrect, ladies.  When it comes to heels, buy your true size.

For example, if you buy heels that are too small or too narrow for your foot size, chances are you will develop bunions, corns, hammer toes, blisters, and even ingrown nails.  And if you buy heels that are too big or too wide for your foot size, your feet will slip forward causing you to crinkle your feet to keep your heels on, and you will create tension on your metatarsals which will cause awful pain in your arches.

For this matter, please buy your true size.  If you don’t know your actual foot size, use the Brannock shoe measuring device.  You can find this device at any reputable shoe store. And while at the shoe store, don’t shy away from asking a professional for a second opinion.

Also, understanding that one’s foot size can vary from time to time is important.  For example, our feet change during our aging process; they can shrink or expand.  This all depends on one’s genetics.  Other factors are weight gain/loss, pregnancy, and even when you’re menstruating.  For this reason, you should measure your feet with the Brannock device every time you buy a new pair of heels, as it is recommended you should buy shoes in “today’s size”.

4. Buying Cheaply Made Shoes

If you’ve known me for a while now, you know I crack down on cheaply made shoes.  Most cheaply made shoes are made from a UNIVERSAL MOLD.  Many brands use these molds and make a one-size fits all for all women’s heels.  The problem with this is these molds aren’t made to address the curves of the foot, are often of flat slope, have little to no support padding in key areas, and are extremely hard to walk on.

I would steer away from wearing these shoes as you could develop foot, knee, and hip problems all because they were inexpensive to purchase.  Instead, if money is a factor, I recommend you save a little bit and buy your “little black dress (in heels)”, that investment piece you can wear and can always go to as a safe option for anytime and any event.

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5. Wrong Style for the Occasion

Can you imagine wearing a pair of black gladiator boots to a classic black tie wedding venue?  This is highly unlikely unless you wanted to receive unpopular press.  When you buy a new pair of heels, keep in mind the occasion.

For instance, during the occasion will you be walking in rough terrain like seen in the fancy parts of Wine Country in Napa Valley, or will you be attending an outdoor wedding with grass and perhaps with uneven pavement?  Will your car be parked down the hills of San Francisco?  Is there a working elevator to take you to the 32nd floor of the NY Empire State Building, or will you need to walk up the flights of stairs?

Be mindful, it’s okay to wear shorter kitten heels if you’ll be on your feet longer than it is comfortable for you.  Also, another tip is to go wider on the heel.  Chunky heels give you the height, stability, and security for a long day.  And certainly don’t underestimate the power of a strappy heel (Ankle Strap, T-Strap, etc).  They keep your feet secure and in place.  Whenever you buy shoes, be mindful of the occasion and buy the style most appropriate for the event and for your comfort.

6. Shopping Too Early

Going shopping for shoes too early is not recommended.  Did you know your feet swell up (whether in heels or not) about 5% toward the end of the day?  For this reason, go shoe shopping during the latter hours of the day to get a better read on how your feet would perform in those heels during after hours in them.

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7. Fit vs. Comfort

Don’t make the mistake of buying heels only because they fit okay.  Remember, your feet aren’t made to walk at a decline and on your balls for hours, much less all day or evening. So next time you see a cute pair of shoes, yes they should fit just right.  But also consider your comfort level in them.

Are they tall enough that they won’t kill you during your next meeting?  Are they thick enough to run errands in them after work?  Are the straps on the shoes adjustable, and if not, can you adjust them for later in the day when your feet swell up?  Do they have proper padding in the right areas to support your arch, balls, and heels?

Remember, the right fit and the right comfort is important to last in a pair of heels.

For more on choosing comfortable heels, check out this blog post:  “5 TIPS for Buying Comfy Heels”.

8. Buying on Emotions

This is why most women end up with 21 pairs of shoes in their closets and only wear 3-4 because “those heels are soooo cute to pass on!”  Buying those compelling, cute heels will often disappoint you if you buy them on impulsive emotions.  You will become a collector of heels and not a wearer of heels.

Instead, be more analytical about your next shoe purchase and ask yourself, “Does this heel fit right in all areas: heel, arch, and ball areas?”  “Does it cradle my foot, or does my foot swim in the shoe?”  “Can I wear these heels for more than one occasion?”  “Is this an investment piece or simply just one other cute shoe I may not wear again?”  Ask yourself keen and thoughtful questions before purchasing your next pair of heels instead of simply buying them on how dazzling they look.

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9. Trying on Too Few Shoes

Often our eyes do the picking when buying shoes.  Don’t just go for the cutest or most chic shoe in the store.  Try on many pairs to see which shoe best fits your foot type.  You will notice they will all have different fits, and if you test them long enough, you may even notice uncomfortable areas in them in a short amount of time.

Next time you shop, try on at least 7 pairs of shoes and compare them.  Which ones can you wear the longest?  Which ones can you wear over and over again?  Which heels can you run in in the event of an emergency?  If you can answer these questions, you have your winner!

10. “Break-in” Mentality

Oh please no!  This is the wrong mindset when buying a pair of heels.  The “break-in” mentality may work with sneakers, but it doesn’t work for high heels.  If the heels don’t feel right at the time of purchase, it is likely they will never feel right, ever.  This is why the heel accessory business is successful.  Women will go above and beyond to try to make their “cute and hard to walk on heels” feel better with accessory comfort pads, heel pads, and etc., even when those heels didn’t feel good in the first place.

Avoid this “break-in” mentality simply by learning how to say “NO” to those cute, inflexible, and hard plastic shoes.  You will save money and painful experiences.  With high heels, you get what you get at the time of purchase.

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Ladies, which of these mistakes have you identified with the most?  Join the conversation on Twitter at #ShoppingMistakes101.

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