Miss Florida 2016 Courtney Sexton during this "Show Us Your Shoes" parade at Miss America 2017. Photo: Miss America Organization
Preparation is the key to winning any pageant. Walking in heels is essential to any pageant. Practicing in those heels is crucial to avoid looking like a newborn calf walking across the stage. It also gives the contestant a chance to break in the heels and avoid nasty blisters on stage. Almost any activity can be done in heels, and there are many so simple and easy ways to practice. Here are a few common ones that are go-to's for almost any pageant queen! (Read: 5 Ways to Pageant Proof Your Heels)
10. Walk the dog Unfortunately, this tip only applies to pet owners, but it is super helpful if you have access to a dog to walk. Throwing on heels for a quick, 15-minute walk is a great walk to sneak in practice. Multiply this by the number of times you walk the dog and you could easily get an hour of practice in every day. This is also a very practical way to practice. Leaving heels on for an hour straight can cause pain and blisters. However, breaking it up into smaller chunks of time gives your feet a break and will allow you to practice for longer. Besides, blisters are for after the pageant, not before!
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9. The dance studio For those that are dancers, the floor at a dance studio is great for practicing! For pageants that have a talent competition, dance is a popular choice. The material used for the flooring for the stage is usually similar to that in a dance studio. Practicing your walk on a floor similar to the one you will be walking on will help make you that much more comfortable on the stage. Dance studios also have large mirrors so you can study yourself as you walk. Watching the walk is crucial because you will not know what needs to be fixed until you see it. If you don't have access to a dance studio, gyms typically have rooms similar to dance studios. (Read: Top 5 Heels for Pageant Swimwear)
Swimsuit by Johnathan Kayne. Buy it here. Photo: Pageant Planet Store
8. Wear socks This tip is better for when you practice in a brand new pair of shoes. Wearing socks will help protect and cushion your feet. The socks add bulk, which will help you break in the heels quicker. However, once the heels are broken in, ditch the socks. They are comfortable but you walk differently when wearing socks. Since you will not be wearing socks with an evening gown, you have to practice without them once the heels are broken in.
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7. Walk on different surfaces While walking on a floor similar to the stage floor is beneficial, walking on different surfaces can be a huge plus as well. For beginners, it is about more than just practicing your walk. You have to get used to wearing heels since you will wear them a lot off the stage as a titleholder as well. Walking on different surfaces will prepare you to walk almost anywhere in heels. Also, the more comfortable you are walking in heels in general, the more time, effort and personality you can put into your actual walk. (Read: How to Not Fall When Walking in Heels on the Runway)
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6. Exaggerate your walk This tip comes from Miss Florida Earth, Amber Dawn Butler. While practicing her walk in preparation for Miss Florida Earth, Butler said she would exaggerate her walk "like a drag-queen." Drag queens have big and sassy walks. Butler said the technique helped her slow her own stride, elongate her legs, loosen her hips and gave her walk some attitude. "Even though you don't walk like a drag queen on stage, thinking about your inner queen will give you that extra pep in your step with that sprinkle of Ru Paul and Tyra Banks spirit," Butler said.
Theresa by Touch Ups. Buy it here. Photo: Pageant Planet Store
5. Use Stairs Stairs are a great way to practice balancing in heels while getting in some cardio. Walking up and down stairs helps strengthen leg muscles. Stronger muscles can walk and stand in heels for longer. The railing can also be used for balance. Some pageants also have stairs leading upstage for the evening gown walk. While not every pageant has this, it is still a great skill to learn. As a titleholder, you want to be able to walk in heels regardless of the situation.
Wedge by Johnathan Kayne. Buy it here. Photo: Pageant Planet Store
4. Dance This is a fantastic way to make practice enjoyable. Throw on your favorite song and dance around in your heels for a few minutes. The technique will help you break in the heels as well as get comfortable moving around in them. (Read: How High Should Your Heels Be for a Pageant?)
Glitterati by Johnathan Kayne. Buy it here. Photo: Pageant Planet Store
3. Calf exercises This, again, is about strengthening muscles. Stronger muscles can stand and walk in heels longer. It also helps with balance, resulting in a more graceful walk. Simple stretching is a great way to prep for wearing heels. Basic calf exercises like calf raises and leg presses will help build muscle to help better your walk in heels. There are also other exercises that can help.
April By Touch Ups. Buy it here. Photo: Pageant Planet Store
2. Go to the grocery store This is another very simple way to sneak practice in during your bust day. Instead of wearing flats when you buy groceries, wear your heels. You can walk at your own pace around the grocery store while using the cart for balance. Another great thing is you can practice your t-stance as well. Whenever you stop to examine items, use your t-stance. Eventually it will become second nature and look effortless on stage. (Read: Should You Wear Nude Heels or Clear Pageant Heels?)
Brooke by Touch Ups. Buy it here. Photo: Pageant Planet Store
1. Vacuum This is one of the most popular techniques for breaking in heels. First off, you get to practice while also cleaning, so you will have a clean house by the end of practice. Secondly, the constant movement will help you quickly break in heels. Lastly, it is an effective way to work on balance. Having to balance yourself between the cord and vacuum means you will have to quickly adapt in order to vacuum properly. While vacuuming is the most popular, any household chore will work. This includes laundry, dusting, cleaning the windows, etc. (Read: The ULTIMATE Guide to Pageant Shoes)
Fire By Touch Ups. Buy it here. Photo: Pageant Planet Store
Regardless of your technique, the Pageant Planet is here to help you master your walk and capture your dream title. You can head to our Pageant Planet Store for a variety of shoes to complete your pageant look!
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