"Rub a candle on the inside of your shoe to get rid of the rough edges," my mother used to tell me, back in the years when my collection of heels looked like I went too hard at the Spice World yard sale, or inspired the hit single "Such Great Heights" by The Postal Service. Flatforms, wedges, stilettos—I had them all, and would proudly wear them at school, stunting on the Sauconys my classmates would wear. I was obsessed with my skyscraper heels, and would wear them to the point they rarely hurt.
Then, I moved to New York, and had to walk everywhere.
Now, I'm one of those people who wears flats or not terrible boots until I reach my destination, only to kick them off and put on heels before going in the door. "That's so New York!" my friends from home tell me, as I launch into a tirade about how much it sucks to walk city blocks and attempt to stay balanced on the subway in the complicated shoes I put on solely for the duration of the event I'm attending. I wear heels at the office, but they live under my desk and barely hit the sidewalk. It's all a facade.
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This is not to say that heels never make an appearance outside of select events and the office—I try, I really do, but there are very few heels in my current collection that make the cut for actual wear. The arch can't be too aggressive, and a thicker heel is always preferred. Even still, you have that terrible breaking-in period, where you suffer a full day to get your feet used to the shoe. Sometimes it's so bad, you never want to wear the heels again, and they collect dust for months until you get brave enough to break them back out.
In theory, I'd like to be one of those cool stylish people who wears heels whenever, but I'm not. The Still Standing Foot Spray ($29; stillstanding.com) seemed promising enough to turn me into that person, at least for its 6-hour wear time. Though it doesn't actually numb your foot, the mix of arnica and aloe should prevent any blisters or swelling, and the product is clear, so you can apply it over tights if that's your thing. You simply apply a layer all over your foot, wait 1 to 2 minutes for it to dry, then slide back into your heels. I decided to try it out for a week with different pairs of heels I had neglected, namely, this really sick silver pair I had almost broken in until the pain became too much.
I made one fatal error—though it is clearly printed on the can that you should not spray the product over open blisters, I did just that. I ripped open a blister earlier in the week at pole class, forgot about it, then immediately remembered once I felt the sting.
Still, that goes away within a minute or two once the spray dries, but don't be like me. Don't do that.
Each day, I'd apply a layer all over, wait for it to dry, and slide into the pair of my choosing. It definitely took away that uncomfortable feeling you'd initially get after a few minutes on the subway, and I'm happy to report that the aforementioned sick pair of silver heels have officially come out of retirement. By the end of some days, I won't lie, my feet did kill me depending on how high the shoe happened to be, so reapplication and some time spent in a chair was more than necessary.
I was—well, still standing, for lack of a better phrase—by the end of the week, but there's only so much you can do sans-insole to alleviate the feeling of a super-tall arch. However, I was pleased to find that I hadn't triggered any new blisters, and figured I was better with the product than without it.
Then again, I'm sure this is still the breaking-in period.