When it comes to wedding gowns, brides go to a lot of trouble to ensure a perfect fitting dress, usually resulting in a number of fitting appointments and alterations. Yet when it comes to shoes they are often decided upon on a whim; "I'm going to splash out and buy a pair of Louboutin's!", and the fit seems inconsequential. I have lost track of the number of times I have been to a wedding and seen the bride hobbling around with angry looking bare feet, having discarded said painful designer heels within an hour of two of the "I Dos".
In my opinion, the only time we should see barefooted brides is at a beach wedding so here are my top tips for pain free wedding footwear.
1) Killer Heels or Heels That Kill? - Choose your heels wisely - Take as much time choosing your shoes as you do your dress. This means trying the shoes on a number of times and wearing them around the house (on carpet to protect the soles should you need to return them to the shop) to really check how they feel when worn for a long period of time.
2) A Word To The Wide Footed - If you have wide feet don't try and squeeze them into shoes which are too narrow. Look for wider fitting bridal shoes which will give your feet more space to breathe and your toes room to wriggle.
3) What's The Point? - Rounded toe shoes offer more space for the toes than pointed shoes and therefore tend to be more comfortable. Pointed shoes which are not made in a wider fit tend to squeeze toes into unnatural positions, which can lead to a range of painful foot ailments both on the day and over the longer term.
4) Small Isn't Always Beautiful - Don't choose a shoe that is too small. Many women are between sizes and with most shoe companies only offering full sizes often women are led by vanity and would rather squeeze their feet into a shoe that is too small (hoping the shoe will soften/give/expand/grow - shoes aren't magic!) than opt for the larger size. The only thing that is likely to grow is your feet as they swell over the course of the day. If the shoe already feels snug in the morning it will be excruciating by the evening. My advice is always go up a size rather than down. You can always add a really comfy insole to provide a better fit and an additional level of padding for your feet. Bliss!
5) Plastic Is Not Fantastic - Avoid synthetic materials and, where possible, choose leather shoes. Synthetic (man-made) materials don't allow your feet to breathe thus making them prone to sweating. You definitely don't want sweaty feet on your wedding day! We recommend leather shoes as leather lets your feet breathe. By leather shoes, we mean leather insole, sole and uppers. Soft leathers also have more give meaning they will mould around your feet better, compared to synthetic shoes or even patent leather. Satin, however, is also a good choice in terms of "give"
6) Take Two! - If you have your heart set on a pair of killer heels, yet deep down you know they are not the best fit, then compromise and bring a backup pair of shoes which offer more comfort for later in the day. If you killer heels are quite literally killing you then you will no doubt just want to kick them off and go barefooted but if you have a pretty pair of pumps to wear this will look so much nicer than your throbbing hobbit toes!
7) Know Your Limit! - We are not talking alcohol but heel height. If you usually wear flats then don't opt for a sky high stiletto. Not only will it probably feel very weird to wear, it will also throw you off balance and make you feel very uncomfortable. Choose a heel that feels comfortable. Take your shoes to your dress fitting and get your dress adjusted accordingly.
Katie Owen is Founder of Sargasso & Grey who make luxury bridal shoes in a wider fit.