High heels are really fun, beautiful instruments of torture.
I’ve always loved high heels – I used to wear them at every opportunity. The higher the heel, the brighter the color, the more insane the look, the better. I’m tall to begin with, so anything that gets me a full foot above my enemies’ eye line, the better.
But the last few years my footwear has gotten decidedly less amazing and sexy. Rather, it’s gotten more…. flat. Which is appropriate, considering I pretty much always rock flats now. Because my feet, which once could handle hours and hours of ballet rehearsals in POINTE SHOES, for Pete’s sake, can now no longer last so much as an hour in two-inch heels.
It used to be that I could stand the normal pain that comes with heels – just grin and bear it and after a few hours, my feet will grow comfortably numb and I could press on. But not anymore. No, now my feet have the same attitude towards high heels as I do towards Coke Freestyles: Cool in theory, but ultimately a disaster.
All of this is to say that I’m always looking for pain-free ways to enjoy high heels. So when I was in a wedding recently and a member of the wedding party saw me wincing as I strapped on my beautiful, sparkly, unbelievably painful heels, she smiled and pulled out a little spray bottle from her purse: Pillows for Your Feet Stilleto Rx Foot Spray.
It claims to be a spray-on solution of something that will make your feet feel awesome all night long, no matter your shoes. Simply spray on your feet before slipping on the Medieval heels of torture, then party the night away.
The official product description on the website claims: “Be comfortable in your high heel shoes. Enjoy your celebration, night on the town, business meeting or event. Pillows For Your Feet, Stiletto RX Foot Spray is like having a personal foot masseuse with you at all times, in a bottle.”
The woman who gave it to me had never used it, but excitedly told me that Kathy and Hoda loved it and talked about it all the time. Well. If two women who drink wine on national TV at 10 a.m. on weekdays endorse it, I’m on board.
I grabbed the bottle and read the label out loud, and my fellow bridesmaids got a kick out of the list of ingredients: “Water, alcohol, arnica flower tincture.” Okay, nothing too surprising there, seems like some nice, homeopathic remedies. “Camphor,” sure, makes sense, “Lidocaine,” wait, WHAT. Lidocaine?!? Oh, okay, we’re gettin’ into the good stuff now.
Yeah, I think spraying lidocaine directly onto my feet will probably numb it up for the night. Yes, I think so.
After I read “lidocaine” out loud, the rest of the bridesmaids backed away slowly, unwilling to take the chance that their feet could be so numb they wouldn’t be able to dance, dance, dance, c’mon, with Justin Timberlake bumpin’ the rest of the night.
I just smiled, stuck my foot out, and started spraying.
I decided to try the spray on only one foot and leave the other foot untouched, as a control group of sorts. (I know lots about control groups and science, obviously. My favorite TV characters are the scientists Fitz and Simmons on Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.)
After allowing my foot to dry for probably not as long as I was supposed to (but in my defense there are literally no instructions on the bottle other than “Use whenever you are out on the town and want to wear your heels comfortably”), I put my shoes on and walked my way down that aisle and watched my best friend get hitched.
About 10 minutes into the ceremony I find that the lidocaine-soaked foot is slightly, slightly in less pain than the other. I can still feel where the shoe is pinching me and I still feel the throb of pain, but it’s less sharp than the control foot. It’s more like a dull pressure, not really pain. Which makes sense, because it’s a similar situation to when your mouth is numbed at the dentist with novocaine – you can still feel the work being done, but there’s no pain associated with it. Just pressure.
So… So far, so good! Way to go, Hoda and Kathie Lee!
We make it through the ceremony and it’s time for pictures. And as I exit behind my newly-married friend, I’m about halfway down the aisle when the morning talk show magic wears off and BAM! Excruciating pain. Both feet.
It’s time for pictures and it hurts to stand. We take some of those pictures where you walk towards the camera, and I’m smiling at the happy couple as I mentally will my feet into becoming comfortably numb.
During the cocktail hour, I clutch my wineglass so hard I fear it may shatter. Then it’s time for the wedding party to enter the reception in a fun/dancey way and I truly feel that I deserve some sort of international recognition for not plopping down in the middle of the dance floor to saw my feet off since that would be less painful than wearing these shoes.
It’s possible that I was supposed to continue to spray my feet as the night wore on since I was sweating so much during this outdoor southern wedding in June, but I wouldn’t know that for sure, since there were no instructions on the bottle.
Literally the exact moment we were able to sit down, I yank my shoes off and slip on the sparkly flats I had brought for dancing the night away.
So, to sum up this product review: If someone offers you the chance to spray your feet with lidocaine to numb them up before wearing high heels, go for it. But as a better alternative, if your friend asks you to be a bridesmaid and lets you pick out whatever shoes you want, wear a pair that won’t make you want to cry more than you already are, since she was the last one of your single friends left.