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Comfortable footwear important at prom and graduation

Most prom and graduation attendants are interested in having an enjoyable time at these momentous occasions in their school careers. However, it can be difficult to be the life of the party or have fun at special events when uncomfortable footwear spoils the day.

For centuries, women have been renowned for the fashions they wear on their feet. But such fashion often comes with a steep price: pain. In fact, in ancient Chinese tradition, it was customary for girls' feet to be bound to inhibit the growth of feet and show off impossibly small shoe creations. The ideal length for a bound foot was 71/2 centimeters, or roughly 3 inches. These small feet were seen as desireable and generally guaranteed a successful, wealthy husband.

While most women do not subject themselves to this sort of foot manipulations today, there are plenty who squeeze into uncomfortable shoes in an effort to look taller, more elongated or beautiful. Though uncomfortable footwear might be bearable for short periods of time, when hours are spent standing or dancing, uncomfortable shoes can prove torturous.

To avoid pain during graduation ceremonies or prom dances, women can choose shoes that will marry comfort with beauty. Here are some considerations.

* Instead of stiletto heels, consider shoes that add height by way of a platform heel. The flat sole will mimic walking in flat shoes, but the platform will offer the height desired.

* Choose a shorter dress that works well with flats or low heels. Many women gravitate toward high heels when wearing floor-length gowns to avoid hemming the dress or to make it easier to maneuver around without the bottom of the gown puddling on the floor. When that obstacle is removed by way of a shorter dress, it opens up the possibilities for lower-profile shoes.

* Think about wearing flashy flip-flops or sandals. There are many sandal styles that have been made more glamourous by way of rhinestones and other embellishments. These shoes can look just as beautiful as other styles and be more comfortable for dancing. Plus, they'll enable the feet to breathe, which can be advantageous during warm, end-of-school weather.

* If you must wear heels, spend a little more and select a brand known for emphasizing comfort in its designs. Many manufacturers are well-known for creating comfortable designs that feature flexible, lightweight soles and for adding padding to the shoes to cradle the feet. Other shoes can be enhanced with gel inserts and other custom orthotics.

* Bring along a spare pair of shoes. Different brands now offer foldable flat ballet shoes that can be stowed in a purse or bag and thrown on in a pinch -- especially when the pinch comes by way of uncomfortable heels.

* Pack a first-aid kit for your feet. To alleviate aches and pains, create an emergency kit with bandages, moleskin, a topical anesthetic, and even soothing foot powder to revive feet plagued by pain or blisters.

Uncomfortable shoes can put a damper on prom and graduation festivities. Choosing comfortable shoes can mean the difference between having a good time or ending the evening early.