This is how you should be walking in heels

Learning to walk in heels is a rite of passage for many women. It can be a treacherous road, paved with broken heels, sore feet, and unexpected tumbles. And when you're first learning you tend to look like a baby giraffe taking its first steps.

It can be enough to make you dread dragging them out of the closet, content with the comfort and safety of flats. But fear not! Help is on the way. Here's how you can go from being a fledgling stiletto connoisseur to an undaunted pro in five minutes, flat.

Lead with the heel, follow with balls of your feet

Sure, you've probably heard it all before. But like any story worth telling, you have to start from the beginning. Nothing says "first time in heels" like trying to bring your whole foot down at once. As podiatrist Suzanne Levine told the TODAY Show, try to land on the outer edge of the heel, bring your toe down, then push off through the toe.

Stretch like you're getting ready for a workout

If walking in heels often feels like a workout, that's because it kind of is. According to the Spine Health Institute, heels can cause your calf muscles to cramp and bulge, among other health issues. One way to alleviate those muscle cramps and ensuing pain is to take the time to stretch a little before donning your pumps. A minute's worth of stretching can save you hours of sore calves later.

Before you can walk, you have to be able to stand

Stand up straight, that is. It's not just your calves that bear the brunt of wearing heels. Lower back pain is also super common, and that's because heels make it pretty difficult to maintain proper posture. Podiatrist Emily Splichal says the key is to hold your head high and pull your shoulders back and down. This restores proper posture and keeps your spine in balance. No more back pain!

Work that core

Another important component of maintaining your posture, according to Dr. Splichal's advice, is to keep your core engaged. Not only will it help maintain your spine in the correct position, but it'll also help you keep your balance while walking in heels. At the end of the day, it's just another reason to keep up your Pilates routine.

Put your sole into it

According to Cosmo, you're going to want a heel with a thick sole, but not one that's made out of wood or plastic. They're too rigid. Leather and rubber have much better give, and if it's nice and thick, the extra cushion can make all the difference at the end of a long day.

Slow your roll

Walking is such a second-nature activity that it can be hard to make the conscious decision to do it differently. That's why it's important to take a moment to focus on taking slower, shorter steps. According to the editor-in-chief of College Fashion, you can't expect to walk as quickly as you do in flats.

If the shoe fits…

Could your biggest problem walking in heels be that you just aren't sized correctly? Chyna Whyne, founder of the instructional program Walking in Stilettos, told TODAY.com that you want to look for three things: the size should best fit your bigger foot, the length of the shoe should fit your longest toe, and the ball of your foot should rest on the widest part of the shoe.