Walking the red carpet is the epitome of Hollywood glamour. But spend an evening standing in 6-inch heels, and you'll quickly find that red carpet reality can be pretty painful. The wrong pair of stilettos can cause blisters, foot cramps, arch aches, and a myriad of other painful problems which might make it hard to smile for the cameras. Seeing as it’s now a few weeks into awards season, one might assume that this is the time when those red carpet regulars (even the most enthusiastic heel-wearers) could use some relief. But, this is one place where celebrity stylists come into play. These experts know not only who designs high heels celebrities wear that are actually comfortable, but also how to hack those shoes that wouldn't normally make the cut. Enter: Jason Bolden, Amanda Lim, and Alyssa Sutter.
As the stylists responsible for the wardrobes of Oscar nominees and fresh Hollywood faces alike, the creative leaders are keen to share their insider secrets — which brands and specific shoe styles they return to again and again when they want to offer their clients a comfortable heel option. We’re talking ones that support them down a long red carpet stretch with nary a wince in sight. And since sometimes an uncomfortable shoe is unavoidable, each stylist has also provided a few other tried-and-true hacks for how to keep foot pain at bay. Spoiler alert: CBD lotion can be a lifesaver. Below, find how they keep their celebrity clients comfortable, and just know, these tricks work off of the red carpet too.
As the stylist behind the looks for Alisha Boe, Bailee Madison, and Sara Paxton, Lim has a running list of options when it comes to comfortable shoes. She says Rupert Sanderon’s Aurora slingbacks, Manolo Blahnik’s Chaos and Chelu styles, and Gianvito Rossi’s Carlyle and Medea styles are current favorites. If you’re looking for a brand that wont fail you, she also highly recommends Alexandre Birman. “The Clarita and the Shanty are a red carpet favorite in my studio...really any style though,” she explains. “Alex makes incredibly comfortable shoes across the board, no matter how high the pitch.”
Lim’s wealth of knowledge also extends to how to treat tired feet. “I swear by ball-of-foot inserts,” she divulges, adding that she favors Fancy Feet or Dr. Scholls. “Another trick all of us stylists use is CBD cream! I personally love the brand Green Roads.” She also swears by PreHeels Blister Prevention Spray and says her clients always keep a bottle on hand.
Bolden’s roster of clients reads like the guest list at your dream dinner party: Taraji P. Henson, Ava Duvernay, Yara Shahidi, Mindy Kaling, and Janet Mock — just to name a few. And as Bolden explains, comfortable shoes for an A-list event are all about striking the right balance. “Tamara Mellon is one of my go dos! Its edge and comfort always gets my girls,” he says.
Like Lim, Bolden also uses gel inserts to ensure comfort when footwear will be on display. And if all else fails, “make sure the dress is so long you can’t see the shoes.”
“Many of my clients find the Stuart Weitzman Nudist to be extremely comfortable,” says Sutter, naming one of the most ubiquitous shoe styles in Hollywood. The stylist, who works with actresses Lucy Hale, Sarah Bolger, and Nikohl Boosheri, also suggests looking for options with an ankle strap if you want additional support. “The obvious comfortable option is a platform,” she adds, “but it doesn’t necessarily go with every look. Luckily many shoe designers have been mindful of this and have made styles with a small platform for added support, such as Paul Andrew and Sophia Webster.”
Sutter says she also loves PreHeels spray for her clients, but in case any blisters begin to emerge she nips it in the bud by “adding a strip of mole skin to any areas that may rub.”
Shop more celebrity stylist-approved, comfortable heels, below.