Walking in a Winter Wonderland, In Heels!
(How to carefully brave the ice, slop and snow of winter in your favorite pair of high heels)
It’s that time of year again… that wonderful, snowy, icy time of year where we trade our glorious high heeled shoes for flats and boots that keep our feet dry and warm and protect us from winter’s worst elements. Heels are extremely difficult to walk in during the winter; even an icy frost can send you flying! However, sometimes those clunky winter boots just don’t go with our adorable and flirty, holiday party dresses or work attire, and many of us ladies are still determined to taking to the icy winter streets in our favorite pair of pumps, in the name of fashion, of course! So if you must insist on wearing heels in the most unruly of winter weather conditions, here’s our helpful guide to safely wearing and walking in high heels in ice and snowy conditions!
Tip 1: Scuff up your soles.
This may be the last thing you’d want to do to a pair of new Christian Loubitins but a new pair of heels can be slippery and twist an ankle in even the best of conditions on the most level of surfaces. During the winter, people will be tracking in snow to stores, offices, and hallways leaving puddles everywhere. Your smooth sole is begging to go gliding across wet linoleum floors unless you create some friction first. Scuffing up the bottom of your heels on pavement or by using a little sand paper can help to create more traction on the bottom of your shoe. Even a good morning frost can leave a layer of slick ice on the pavement so traction is key!
Tip 2: Wear heels that don’t fall off your foot easily.
It’s very easy to lose a heel in slush, snow, or on a messy sidewalk. To ensure your high heels stay put, opt to wearing heels with ankle straps or high heeled boots that keep your shoe snug and secure to your foot so that it doesn’t come off if it gets stuck in the mess.
Tip 3: Wear shorter high heels.
While there’s nothing sexier than long legs in a sky high pair of stilettos, the higher the heels, the more unstable you’ll be especially in winter weather conditions. Instead of 6 inch platforms or spikes, ground yourself with a pair of 1-3 inch heels that help you to keep gravity in check on icy surfaces and through slippery puddles.
Tip 4: Wear thicker heels.
The more surface area your heels have, the better balance you’ll have walking in them on the ices and snow. Instead of wearing a pair of dodgy “ice pick” spikes, choose a nice pair with a thicker heel offering more support for you to balance on. If clunky shoes are just not for you, there’s also another option to increasing the surface area of your heels to help offer you support on uneven, messy surfaces. A company called Solemates makes a product called High Heelers which are heel caps you put on the tips of your heels (they’re removable). These help to increase the surface area of the heel tip and give you more stability and support while walking in heels, especially in harsh, blistery conditions. They're a product that’s been around for awhile, typically used during outdoor weddings and events to prevent your spikes from sinking into the grass (which we all can relate to!), but they also do wonders to help us heel lovers from embarrassing trips and falls as well on uneven, messy, or difficult surfaces. They come in clear (and other colors) so they match any heel and once you get where you’re going, you can even remove them and put them right in your purse for later use. Honestly not sure how I survived without them for so long!
Tip 5: Opt for rounder toes.
In the same concept that larger surface area of your heel helps stability, larger surface area of your toe can help as well. Choosing larger more rounder toed heels can help prevent them from wedging their way under and getting stuck in snow or ice.
Tip 6: Take your time.
While I don’t imagine you breaking any land speed records in your high heels on a good day, you’ve got to be especially careful when wearing high heels in ice and snow. Even a strong wind can knock the most avid of heel wearers off their feet. Take your time, place your feet carefully and distribute your weight evenly to help prevent slips and falls this winter.
Tip 7: Choose your path wisely and shortly.
Sometimes the path less traveled is a better option for you and your heels. Or less path to travel. Whenever possible, walk, in a direct line to where you’re going. Better yet, have your taxi, or your date drive you as close to the door as possible to avoid having to walk too far in heels on ice and snow. Other times be on the lookout. Sometimes the beaten path is the path that contains the most slush and black ice is really hard to spot sometimes, and walking a few steps out of your way to get to a paved sidewalk is the best choice for you and your shoes!
Tip 8: Use the doormats!
Water, ice and slush build up in walkways and building entrances. The snow gets dragged in from the boots and shoes of other pedestrians and melts in the foyer tracking all the way down the hall. Make sure to wipe your shoes off and dry the bottoms on the door mats to avoid a nasty slip. Those buffed floors turn into ice skating rinks even a pair of boots can’t combat. Avoid door puddles and wet floor tracks and keep the bottom of your heels dry whenever possible!
Tip 9: Foldable slippers, winter boots or sneakers.
Probably the most common sense tip we can give you is to wear your boots and flats until you get where you’re going, and then swap out for your kitten heels. While we recommend, for your safety that you do definitely try to do this during the worst of winter weather conditions instead of walking in heels, unfortunately, there’s not always a place for you to stash your winter boots, especially if you’re headed to an event or party. There are slippers that even roll up and fit into your purse, but these usually don’t offer much protection from your feet getting wet in puddles so just be extra careful!
Bonus Tip: Keep your heels clean and conditioned!
The snow, ice and salt can build up on your heels and can cause them to break, tear and wear out faster or even just become scratched and ruined. By taking careful precautions to keep your heels (especially leather) conditioned, cleaned and even coated with a wax or water resistant product will keep them in good shape this winter. Make sure the bottoms stay free of any mud that can build up in these conditions as well to avoid slipping both outdoors and once you’ve come inside.