Kate Middleton's High Heel Mishap and How to Avoid It

The Duchess of Cambridge gets a helping hand from her husband after her heel was stuck in a grate. (Photo: Getty …Breaking: a woman's heel got caught in a grate. It's only news because that woman is Kate Middleton. Heel accidents happen all the time but when you're the world's most famous mom-to-be it's front page news.

While attending the St. Patrick’s Day parade in Aldershot, Hampshire, the Duchess of Cambridge nearly lost her shoe after it got stuck in a grate. Luckily, her husband was standing at her side to offer her a steady hand—though he did have a little laugh at her expense as she worked to free her four-inch stiletto.

We've all been there. Sometimes it's a heel stuck in a grate, other times it's a stiletto slowly sinking into wet grass. Truth be told, those extra inches are health hazards if you're not careful. 

We spoke to footwear expert Meghan Cleary, author of “Shoe Are You?” and “The Perfect Fit: What Your Shoes Say About You” about how to avoid the most common (and unfortunate) shoe disasters.

Make sure your shoes fit perfectly
“I can't say enough about this," says Cleary. "You will head off many disasters just by making sure your shoes are the right size, and fit your foot well—the less slippage, looseness or too tightness, the better off you will be in every situation.” If the shoe doesn't fit, but you have to have it anyway, try a product like Foot Petals for a snugger fit. 

Pay attention to the road
If you're wearing heels, you need to keep one eye on the ground below you. “This seems obvious, but watch where you are walking," says Cleary. "It has nothing to do with shoes but everything to do with being a strategic stiletto wearer. If you are going to wear heels—platforms, stilettos, boots—you must be more aware of your surroundings and where you are headed. 

Work on your core
It's all about balance, explains Cleary. "Stilettos and heels shift your balance center from your feet and legs to your core—this is why I always say walking in stilettos is just like Pilates," she says. "Once you focus in on your core, you will be more able to navigate grates, cobblestones and anything the sidewalk might throw at you.” Balance is particularly important when you're pregnant in heels, because carrying a child changes your center of gravity. "Make sure you are grounded and centered before you step out,” says Cleary.

Keep your heels secured
To avoid the snapped off heel, always keep pressure on the ball of your foot when you're walking. "Try not to rock back on your heels," suggests Cleary. "Putting pressure on the backs of heels will gradually wear down their strength and lead to a break off.”

Turn your soles into sneakers 
Icy streets and Louboutin soles don't mix. “Always make sure your new shoes have either a rubber sole with a bit of traction," she says, "or add a rubber sole to your leather bottomed shoes before you wear them for the first time." 

Try a grate-proof heel
Not all heels are grate magnets. A wider point is less likely to get trapped in a tricky street gap. Cleary's short list of shoes that float over grates: "a wider cone heel, a chunky wedge, or a flexible, thick-heeled platform." But buyer beware, platforms have their own set problems. "Though platform heels are more comfortable, you’re more likely to twist your ankle in these because there’s no where for your leg to go if you fall,” warns Cleary. 

Make sure you're not the only shoe-conscious person around
“The guards on St. Patrick's day should have stayed away from the grate when presenting to Kate, so there was nowhere for her to go but forward," says Cleary. "Men, please be aware of where your fellow stiletto wearer needs to step and help her around or over any obstacles!”


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