One of the great misconceptions about footwear generally is that anything you like to wear must be bad for you. You read totally unscientific comments and scare stories about how high heels/elevators/fashion shoes/sneakers/flat shoes ‘must’ be bad for you but you rarely see any serious science that proves this. This is because it’s another of these hype and scare ideas that journalists so love - all based upon an extreme scenario mangling completely unscientific ‘research’ that they can attach screaming headlines to – but they can never cite any really serious examples other than general stuff.
If you believe everything you read, then will not be wearing any sneakers/trainers again because these have been said in stories to be bad for your feet, nor will you wear flat shoes ever again because, to quote a story in the Irish Examiner last summer: “did you know that wearing flat shoes can actually damage your feet?” And so it goes on. Not much is ever really proved, although it all sounds nice and pseudo scientific.
This is important here because you will see the daftest and loopiest comments made online (“I read it on the internet so it MUST be true”) about elevators. Not many, but some people end up with a bit of an issue about anything that makes people look better and try to pour cold water on it. Without fail, these people have no scientific background, no knowledge of elevators, in fact no experience of anything they are writing about – just a weird bias against personal improvement. “I mean, it must be bad and wrong, right?”
There is the simplest and most sensible point about ALL footwear and that is that you cannot wear any pair of shoes or boots for 24 hours at a stretch, on your feet all day, day in day out, without it having some negative impact. You need a break.
Resting your feet, stretching exercises, periods without wearing anything, wearing different shoes…all these help to ensure your feet and legs stay healthy. It is less to do with the style of shoe you are wearing than with taking a break, ringing the changes and mixing it up a bit.
Any actual research that you CAN get hold of is really just about this one point. Strip away the hype and the classic journalese and that’s what you’ve got – don’t do something to extreme and without break.
My own experience over the years tell me that this is how you tackle elevators and lifts…just like any other shoes or boots – you can wear elevators WAY longer at a stretch than lifts but if you are going way up there for the max, then you have to take a break. On your feet all day in a pair 5” elevators walking everywhere – well I have done it but if you don’t sit down in any shoes your feet will feel tired. Lifts are much trickier because they can slip, fit wrongly and put pressure on in the wrong places – I really see them as a training ground for getting used to being taller with the real thing – properly made elevators.
Getting used to your elevators
But this brings me to the major point. Breaking in your elevators. Even if, like me, you wore lifts for years before buying your first elevators, the main issue is that you have to get USED to wearing elevators and I learned that with this you need a bit of a plan.
It’s so simple and it has worked with everyone I have advised.
You get them out of the box and after giving them the initial polish (I always do that, force of habit), you take them for a short walk on your own and under your own steam. Firstly you walk around at home for 15-20 minutes, just getting used to the different perspective. You absolutely will FEEL way taller – that fridge door handle and top will seem almost ‘different’ (in a great way). But you need to get used to it.
Then you go for a short walk – in London where I am based, this means going to the newsagents or local shop, walking to a bar but not hanging around in it, or taking the dog for a walk. Allow 45 mins max. The reason for this timing is that you do not want to return after an enforced 4 hours in a new pair of new boots thinking “that was terrible”. You probably will not anyway, and you could just as easily feel this about ANY shoes you buy in the local shoe store. But these are special and you need to get accustomed. They key to this short walk is that you yourself are in control – you can set the time you are out, which you can’t do if you decide to go out with mates and it turns into a long 6 hours at the bar you cannot get out of once you have started.
Do this two or three times and then you are really ready, because you will for sure have got used to walking in them - and just to make sure, just do a trip involving other stuff that is not too long drawn out. Yes, a night with some mates at a bar or club you know will end in a few hours, some time seeing family. Whatever.
Now a lot of this depends upon how high you have gone. I went a bit wild and straight for 5” elevators. But I had had years of lift wearing before so was used to lots of it – the main thing for me was that they were the most comfortable boots I had worn in YEARS. OK, I couldn’t run in 5” elevators. OK I have to be a bit more careful about uneven surfaces. OK, I didn’t really wanna walk for hours or stand all day (but I couldn’t even do that when I was not wearing any lifts or elevators at age 17!).
But every inch lower than the full on 5” is easier to finesse and walk easily in – and a pair of 3.1” (8cm) elevators, well they really are a breeze after a bit of walking-in… just SO easy to get accustomed to.