After the fiancé—and maybe the dress—few decisions are as essential to your wedding-day happiness as the right pair of shoes. Your big day will include hours of standing, walking, and dancing, and sore feet, painful blisters, or pinched toes can seriously cramp your style (sometimes literally!). "Regardless of the style, a good shoe should fit well from the start," says podiatrist Grace Torres-Hodges, DPM. Make sure you're not sitting out the last dance of the night with her tips for finding your perfect match.
Plan to shop for your big-day shoes in the afternoon or evening rather than the morning. This will give you a better idea of how they'll fit on the wedding day. "I always recommend trying on shoes later in the day because you can be assured that the fit will be correct to accommodate for activity and swelling that naturally occurs," says Dr. Torres-Hodges. At the store, consider the material of the shoe you're looking at—if your feet are prone to sweating, you'll want something breathable or wicking—and look at the innersole, which will be providing support (or not) for your feet. "Ideally, [you] would want to spread the weight evenly as to not put any increased pressure on any particular part," says Dr. Torres-Hodges. "However, in heels, many shoe styles do have increased metatarsal/ball of the foot pads to accommodate the increased pressure at that site."
If you want to stay on the dance floor all night, resist the charms of those sky-high stilettos: "In general," says Dr. Torres-Hodges, "there is a consensus that heel heights higher than two inches put too much pressure on the ball of the foot."
Think About Location
Your wedding venue will play a huge role in determining what kind of shoes you need. You might want sandals for a beachfront celebration, a pair of sturdy flats for a mountainside ceremony, or wedge heels for a wedding taking place in the garden. While choosing location-appropriate footwear is important, she warns brides against going barefoot on the beach, which is something she often sees. "It never fails that when summer comes," she says, "I'll get at least one bride or groom who gets something stuck in their foot." If you don't want to end up limping down the aisle after cutting your heel on a shell or tripping over a rock, be sure to wear some sort of shoes. If you're really against it, ask the staff at your venue (or a few willing groomsmen) to comb the beach for any hazards before your event starts.
Purchase your shoes well before your wedding so you have time to break them in. Walk around the house, practice your first dance, and go up and down the stairs to get a good sense of how they'll feel on your wedding. If your chosen pair isn't comfortable and additional wear isn't helping, a professional shoe repair person can stretch the material or tweak the sole to make your shoes more forgiving. But your podiatrist can help, too, says Dr. Torres-Hodges: "They can examine the foot, and, knowing the mechanics of movement, can examine the shoes and accommodate them with pads, inlays and in some cases, prescription orthotics that will support the footbed in its entirety." If you're facing a wedding-day blister or a slippery heel, try a last-minute remedy. "Some quick DIYs from the drugstore include blister pads to cover and cushion and some double-sided tape if the heel is slipping," she says.
Remember that your comfort is the most important thing, so don't keep wearing a pair of shoes that are making you miserable. Trade them for an embellished sneaker at the reception, a pair of slippers, or a less restrictive sandal. "If the shoes hurt, take them off!" says Dr. Torres-Hodges. "It's not worth the pain."