Calf muscles do a lot of work to contract and pump blood up the legs and towards the heart. When you wear flat shoes, your step is uncompromised and your calves work efficiently to pump that blood. When you wear high heels, however, all of the pressure falls on your toes and the ball of your foot. This causes your calf muscles to remain contracted, and it makes them much less efficient in pumping blood. Since your blood isn’t circulating as well, this could increase the likelihood of the development of varicose veins in your legs.
In some cases, tight clothing can decrease circulation. This is especially common in the pelvic region. Extra tight jeans (such as skinny jeans) or control-top pantyhose can decrease circulation and lead to varicose veins in this area of the body.
Girdles (or any kind of shapewear)
Shapewear, such as Spanx or girdles, is meant to have an extremely tight fit. This means that when you wear them and sit down, it’s like putting a rubber band around the tops of your thighs and pulling it taut. Because of this, shapewear often leads to decreased circulation in the legs and can increase the risk of varicose veins.
So, what types of clothing and shoes won’t cause these problems? Generally, loose fitting garments won’t negatively affect your circulation. Additionally, wearing comfortable, soft-soled shoes is the best way to make sure that your natural gait is not affected by your footwear and that your leg muscles will continue to pump blood efficiently.
Basically, any clothes that cause an indentation in your body when you take them off at the end of the day run the risk of interrupting healthy circulation. Loosening your belt or buying a larger size will go a long way to better your circulatory health and make you more comfortable. And, as with anything else, moderation is key. Wearing high heels everyday probably isn’t a good idea (for a number of reasons, not just circulatory health) but wearing them every once in awhile shouldn’t be a problem.