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Women and high heels have long been in a love-hate relationship—and for good reason. Though stilettos elongate your legs and accentuate your shapely calves, they’re also killer on the feet. But what if an evening spent in heels didn’t have to end in swelling and blisters? We asked four podiatrists to share their top tips for choosing better-for-you shoes.

A good pair of heels won’t pinch or feel uncomfortable the second you put them on, but it’s important to set your expectations if you’re planning on being on your feet all day. “Don’t wear heels for more than two hours at a time if you’re standing or walking in them,” says New York City-based podiatrist Hillary Brenner, DPM.

Howard Osterman, DPM, a Washington, DC-based podiatrist, adds that shoppers should look for shoes with cushioned soles and always make sure there is a platform if the heel height exceeds 3 inches.

According to New York City-based podiatrist Emily Splichal, DPM, it’s not only about the heel. It’s important how you treat your feet post-wear, too: “Focus on stiletto recovery after a day or night in heels,” Dr. Splichal says. She recommends rolling your feet on a golf ball, stretching your calves, and spreading your toes with products like Yoga Toes. “Even the healthiest heels are still stressful to the foot and body, so recovery is one of the most important secrets to being able to wear heels pain-free.”

Wondering what other heel habits could be hurting your health? Read on for expert tips and foot-friendly options for every style.

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