- Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Grey told Insider that she first learned how to walk in stilettos by wearing taller shoes before going down to a four or five-inch heel.
- “Once you’re able to twirl in a six-inch heel, you can go down to a four-inch heel and feel like you’re flying,” she added.
- Top runway coaches Mandy Dyonne Lieveld and Jessica Gregory told Insider that they agree with Grey.
- Gregory said starting from a taller heel makes it “easier to transition into wearing higher heels faster” than starting from a lower heel that will already feel comfortable.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Even before she was crowned Miss Universe 2018, Catriona Grey became a viral sensation for her “lava walk.”
Grey, who hails from the Philippines, won praise from supermodels Tyra Banks and Ashley Graham as she slowly glided down the pageant stage with confidence and ease.
It’s safe to say that Grey knows a thing or two about walking in high heels, and she has shared her tips for mastering the skill with Insider.
Google “how to walk in high heels” and many articles will tell you to start with a lower heel and build your way up. But Grey, who will crown the next Miss Universe on Sunday December 8, disagrees.
“I started actually from a taller heel,” she told Insider. “And then went down to a four or five-inch.”
Grey says that learning how to walk and balance on a taller heel gave her the confidence she needed to regularly walk in stilettos.
“Once you’re able to twirl in a six-inch heel, you can go down to a four-inch heel and feel like you’re flying,” she said. “So that’s what I did.”
“If you can walk on a higher heel the right way, a lower heel will be much easier,” Lieveld, the runway coach for Holland’s Next Top Model, told Insider.
“It may sound rare, but I completely understand why Catriona would say that,” Gregory, whose students have walked for the likes of Chanel and Louis Vuitton, added. “When you practice walking in taller heels right from the start, you create that momentum to walk more confidently in the heel of your choice.”
Gregory explained that because most people “walk all day long in shoes with no heels,” they are already comfortable with a low heel.
“My take on it is to start strong and end strong,” she said. “In many cases, it makes it easier to transition into wearing higher heels faster, as you are starting at a challenging point versus a lower heel. After coaching several models and women, I have seen great results when they automatically start practicing in the high heels that they will be wearing regularly versus starting out small.”
Lieveld said that the hardest part about learning to walk in heels is balance.
“If you want to feel more stable, you have to use your core,” she said. “I don’t mean walking like the Hulk! I mean flexing your abdominal muscles so they give that support, so you can still breathe and talk.”
Lieveld also recommends walking with your shoulders back and relaxed while “elongating your legs.”
“Sometimes I see ladies walking down the Manhattan streets on their heels, and their knees are bending while making a step,” she said. “That doesn’t look so elegant.”
“One thing that makes walking on heels seem easy is to think that there is some water on the floor and every step is a ‘splash, splash, splash!’ So walk with some energy.”
Gregory agrees that core strength is the key to balancing in heels, which she said should be the main focus when you’re just starting to learn the skill.
“Practice standing with one leg up for 30 seconds so you are more comfortable balancing in the heels,” she said. “And rotate between legs.”
Gregory then recommends putting painter’s tape on the floor as a guide to help you practice learning how to walk back and forth in a straight line.
“Start off by taking small steps,” she said. “And allow your hips to naturally sway from side to side.”
Gregory also advises learning on leather heels, as they tend to be more comfortable, and purchasing comfort cushions, heel grips, or comfort insoles for extra support if needed.
At the end of the day, everyone agrees that it all comes down to practice – and confidence.
“Not one of us is born with the ability to walk in six-inch heels down the runway and twirl,” Grey said. “I really trained in it – not just the walking itself, but how I felt walking.”
“For me, being a very conservative person naturally, and also coming from a conservative upbringing, being in a two-piece in front of people freaks me out,” she added. “So I needed to come to a place where I felt comfortable in my body and also confident in myself.”
“And it just came with training in heels.”
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