Forget the fiscal cliff, ladies, there's a fashion cliff on the horizon and you'll find it at your local Neiman Marcus or Nordstrom.
Just wander through the designer shoe collections at any upscale department store or boutique and one is sure to notice that heels have gone sky high, with designers like Christian Louboutin and Giuseppe Zanotti making 6-inch heels the norm.
Enter a treatment coined the "Loub Job," the answer, if you will, to the aches and pains that may be associated with wearing super-sized heels. Not officially endorsed by Christian Louboutin, this elective medical treatment includes using dermal fillers, such as collagen, to add padding to the toe pads, heels and balls of the feet. The end result is additional support and cushioning that purportedly make wearing unreasonably high heels reasonably doable.
The procedure itself can be found at some local medical spas and typically costs $500 to $600 and takes approximately 30 minutes. Who's getting the procedure? More women than you may suspect. In fact, the International Business Times reports that foot filler requests in the U.S. are up by nearly 21 percent from last year.
The longevity of a Loub Job varies patient to patient with typical benefits, including less pain while wearing heels, lasting about eight months.
For those of us not ready to give up high heels, but certainly not willing to alter our feet to do so, there are other options that make wearing heels more comfortable.
Head to most drugstores and pick up Dr. Scholl's For Her High Heel Insoles, designed to prevent pain caused by heels higher than 2 inches thanks to a gel arch that shifts pressure off the balls of the feet.
Prevent blisters with a quick spray of deodorant on feet to avoid chaffing followed by an application of Band-Aid Blister Blocks on any spot prone to getting blisters. Finally, there are Foot Petals, a range of products specifically designed for women who insist on wearing heels for hours. Products include "Killer Kushionz," ideal for cushioning the balls of feet and heels when wearing stilettos, and "Amazing Arches," designed to lend arch support.
Of course, all of these attempts to avoid high-heel pain may lead a normal person to ask, why wear heels? Perhaps because, as Cinderella once said, "Perfect shoes can change your life."
— Carolyn Brundage is the founder of tampabay.prettycity.com, a guide to the best in local beauty. Need beauty advice? Tweet up with Carolyn on Twitter @tampabaypretty.