We are often asked for recommendations for comfortable heels you can wear despite having bunions or wide feet, so we’ll be highlighting some of these brands in a series of posts.
Today we’d like to highlight the Josef Seibel Cara, a low heel Mary Jane with a padded footbed and a wide toebox.
The Cara comes with a hook and loop Mary Jane strap that lets you adjust the fit of the shoe while relieving the need to curl your toes to keep a lose heel on while you’re walking. One of the huge benefits of the Mary Jane style is that you can actually relax your feet while walking without having to worry about your heels accidentally slipping off. Many women underestimate the toll that this tension takes on their feet.
For those with bunions, you will love the wide toe box and notice the comfortable cushioning right out of the box. If you have narrow feet, these may actually be too wide for you, so make sure they are returnable if you decide to try them out.
These are probably most similar to the Munro and Born brands. If you are a fan of well cushioned, comfortable shoes with a reasonable heel height and wider sizing, these might be a good investment. These are a good compromise between flats and a high heel without going as far as an orthotic.
The leather is surprisingly pliable and soft, which is rare for a leather heel but much appreciated. If you are on your feet all day and tend to experience swelling, this leather is at least somewhat flexible.
Have a favorite, bunion-friendly pair of heels? Share it with us here!
Look good while staying supremely comfortable in these cute brands for walking and travel shoes.
Traveling to exciting new destinations usually means entire days full of walking, whether you are exploring a vibrant city, enjoying the beauty of nature, or uncovering amazing historical sites.
Are there cute shoes out there that can keep you looking chic and stylish in your travel photos while keeping your feet comfortable and pain-free all day long? Of course! You don’t have to wear clunky tennis shoes or sneakers while on your feet all day to be comfortable.
Allbirds, known for their light, breathable sneakers, also makes a line of flats called Tree Breezers that are surprisingly comfortable and look a lot like Rothy’s. They are not cheap (about $100/pair) but they are made of a stretchy, lightweight, machine-washable mesh material that requires no break in time. The material is actually sourced from eucalyptus pulp, if you care about all that naturally sourced stuff. The insoles are a well-cushioned, wool-like material that will keep your feet comfortable and dry after a full day of walking around town.
Puma is a brand known for sleek, low profile, athletic shoes, but they also make comfortable walking shoes and athletic flats that are great for the most chic, athleisure look. If you’ve ever wanted a feminine flat that felt as comfortable as a sneaker for jaunting around the streets of Rome, check out the Puma collection.
If you haven’t tried on a pair of Skechers lately, and the idea of walking on a thick layer of memory foam all day sounds appealing to your weary feet, then you need to try this brand and see what you’re missing. Skechers makes a wide selection of slip on flats, “loafers” and tennis shoes that all feature its signature cushioned footbed. They advertise that it’s like walking on a yoga mat, which I can’t really argue with. They make some of the most comfortable shoes available.
If you’re looking for that stylish brand that can transition from a day on your feet to an evening out in any city, don’t forget to check out the Aerosoles brand. They seem to churn through their designs frequently, so you will always see some new comfortable shoe options (and the shoes you liked last time will have disappeared). They have made some of the most comfortable loafers in the past, and they continue to make some leisurely flats that could be casual or a bit dressed up for light to moderate walking.
The sports division of the well-known brand ECCO makes some cute and comfortable athletic flats and Mary Janes that can substitute for sneakers on your next vacation. If you’re doing a lot of walking, it’s probably a good idea to still wear ultra low-profile, invisible socks with these, but at least they’re far from clunky-looking athletic shoes. If you don’t have to do a lot of walking, they look great without socks. These are a great option if you’re looking for more arch support and more comfort in the toe box than typical flats will offer.
Merrell is a brand known for making some of the most comfortable shoes for rugged outdoor activities like hiking and trail running. The good news is that they also make lightweight Mary Janes and flats with their famous mesh exterior and cushioned footbed with arch support for more casual walking. These could substitute for your Nikes or actually be even more comfortable than your sneakers. And because Merrells are light and breathable, they are comfortable enough to be worn in both concrete jungles and actual jungles.
Sanuks are made for surfers and 20-somethings who want to look like they hang out by the beach all day even if they live in Denver. They are most popular for their well-cushioned flip flops and sandals (some of which are made out of real yoga mats), but they also make decently comfortable loafers for international travel. Anyone who owns Sanuks is on their 4th or 5th pair because they love them. If you’re doing a moderate amount of walking and looking for that laid-back, slip-on vibe, these could be a good option.
Thankfully, Teva has moved beyond those notorious velcro sandals of the 90s and into the realm of regular footwear. No one is denying that the Teva brand has always produced a comfortable shoe for moderate walking or travel in Europe. Their padding and arch support has generally been appreciated. Now they have offerings in the form of low profile casual shoes that are reminiscent of Converse, Keds, and Superga, but they are more comfortable and offer more support.
Olukai is a brand from Hawaii focused on comfort and a laid back, Aloha style. They make well cushioned loafers that are both casual and a little bit nicer than the average boat shoe. They do not offer the best arch support for a full day of walking or travel, but for an easier day on your European vacation, they make some of the lightest, lowest-profile slip on loafers you can find, in both cloth and leather.
Superga is an Italian brand that makes classic, low profile, canvas slip-ons with a cushioned rubber sole. These are great day-to-day shoes that you can wear on the go with any casual outfit, kind of like Toms or Vans but with more padding. They are a lightweight, comfortable, and cute option for light to moderate walking in European cities when you don’t want to wear your Adidas sneakers but you need more support than Toms.
You don’t really notice the athletic selection at Clarks because the brand is mostly known for heels and other dress shoes, but they are actually not a bad substitute for comfortable sneakers on your next adventure. They offer arch support, a cushioned footbed, plenty of room in the toe box, and wide sizes. There’s a lot of competition in this space from ECCO, Merrell, Skechers and other brands, but if you are a fan of Clarks dress shoes, you might like these casual shoes too.
If you are a fan of Born dress shoes or clogs and the level of support they provide, you might want to check out their casual walking shoes for your next Europe trip. They have some slip on shoes and sneakers that aren’t as low profile or trendy as others but thickly padded and as comfortable as you would expect from the Born brand. If you are on your feet all day long and value that level of support over style, these could be a good compromise.
Sabrinas are a Spanish brand of comfort shoes that you usually have to find at specialty walking shoe or comfort shoe stores like Footwear, etc. They make very comfortable flats, Mary Janes, sandals, and slip on sneakers with a chic European style and a colorful palette. These are cute, unique, comfortable shoes that no one else will have. The brand is reasonably priced given the high quality of the shoe and a stylish alternative to most casual canvas slip ons. While you’re browsing their casual collection online, you should also check out their dress shoes if you need something more comfortable to wear to work.
Naot, a brand synonymous with comfort and quality, is known for their sneakers that don’t look like sneakers. Though these shoes are on the expensive side, the throngs of Naot followers will tell you that it’s hard to beat the combination of soft leather, a roomy toe box, thick cushioning, solid arch support, and adjustable straps. Naot makes a variety of Mary Jane styles that are all very popular and would be great for a Europe trip.
If you are looking for a low profile casual shoe that has that retro athletic look, go no further than Asics. Asics makes a huge selection of cool, old school shoes (eg. the classic Onitsuka Tiger) that are more stylish than the average sneaker but much more comfortable than a casual slip on. There are a variety of colors to match your personality and perfect for light or moderate walking on your next trip. If you like this style but don’t like the Asics brand, you can find similar shoes from Adidas or Puma.
Cob Hill is a brand affiliated with the Rockport and New Balance brands, so it’s not surprising that these shoes are comfortable and well made. They certainly aren’t the most fashionable shoes for travel in Europe, but if you want to pull off comfortable, long distance, all-day walking without the athletic look, you aren’t going to find that many options. If you have wide feet, need roomy shoes, and have to do a serious amount of walking, try on a pair of Rockports.
Rieker is a Swiss brand of comfort shoes known for their “antistress” soles. They make boots, dress shoes, and casual shoes that are relatively light given the amount of cushioning. The European styles will look different from your typical American brands, and you may enjoy having shoes that no one else has ever seen before, whether you wear them for travel or to work. Riekers are easily found at comfort shoe stores or online.
Taos is known for making comfortable dress shoes with plenty of arch support, but they’re also known for their Converse-like shoes (AKA fashion sneakers) for anyone who need serious arch support. Most low profile canvas brands like Converse and Vans are made with zero arch support, so Taos is a great option for those who want the same style in a much more comfortable shell. You’d be able to do a lot more walking on your next trip in these shoes without experiencing foot pain.
Softwalks are a stylish comfort brand that is perfect for those with slightly wider feet or want more padding in the footbed. They make a variety of flats, Mary Janes, and loafers – some are really cute and some are a little clunkier, but it’s worth taking a look for light to moderate walking. They aren’t made for all day walking across a new city, but you’ll look great in those travel photos.
If you wear the Danskos brand at work, maybe it’s time to try a casual pair, which features the same level of arch support and padding as their dressier shoes. Danskos are famously worn by nurses and doctors who are on their feet all day, but they’re also really comfortable for a full day of walking around new European cities or in the countryside on your next vacation. If you are planning on doing heavy walking and need a high level of support for your arches, try on a pair.
Hush Puppies are known for their comfortable dress shoes but the brand offers some cute casual shoes too. The selection of walking shoes is not extensive, but you might find some stylish low profile athleisure shoes with a roomy toebox and decent padding in the footbed, perfect for low to moderate walking when traveling in Europe or running errands at home.
Keds are not meant for heavy duty walking, so I’d caution you about doing more than light to medium walking in them on your next trip. But if you are on a road trip in Europe or some other kind of vacation with limited walking, they make really cute, low profile, feminine shoes for those with narrow to normal feet. They are casual but can be dressed up with cute pants, a skirt, or even a dress. Again, these are not meant for hiking Cinque Terre for 10 hours, but they are perfect for a morning stroll through the local farmer’s market when you want to look stylish in those travel photos.
Grasshoppers is a sister brand of Keds but they tend to be less narrow and more comfortable. They don’t make your feet look small and dainty like Keds do, but they do have a more cushioned footbed and appeal to a more mature audience. If you feel like you are too old to be wearing Keds (impossible) but you like their low profile slip on styles, you might like the Grasshopper brand for your next travel adventure.
Because wearing heels on a daily basis takes a toll on your feet, knees, hips, and back over time, we are dedicated to finding stylish dress shoes that must be comfortable while you’re standing at work all day!
Can’t wait to kick off those heels at the end of a long day? Forget shoes that are too narrow for your toes, contort your arches into painful positions, and leave you with sore feet and joints at the end of the day. Dress shoes can be both beautiful and comfortable!
So… what are the best brands for standing on your feet all day at work?
Though their prices tend to run upwards of $100, Cole Haan has a solid reputation for making high-quality, comfortable dress shoes for both men and women. This brand of women’s shoes includes everything from elegant pumps and sporty slip-ons to stylish leather flats with Nike Air cushioning. Unlike most other shoemakers, who seem to let their focus on comfort overshadow any attempt at style, Cole Haan shoes are classy and chic while staying easy on the foot. These are a worthwhile investment.
I will be the first to admit that I was surprised at how comfortable Anne Klein dress shoes can be, especially the “iFlex” brand, which is created with thinner, softer leather and extra padding. The shoes are more flexible than the stiff leather you normally find in dress shoes, so they don’t rub your feet and leave blisters after a day of wear. What I love the most is that these shoes actually look very classy, high-quality, and fashionable (pointy toes, heels, and all) while staying remarkably comfortable.
Naturalizer has a loyal following because their designs are generally more stylish than most other comfort dress shoe brands. Though they don’t have as much cushioning as some other labels, Naturalizer offers a wider selection of modern, feminine dress shoes that appeals to a larger age bracket. You can find Naturalizers is most malls, department stores, and women’s shoe stores, though every location carries a different selection.
One of the best designer brands for most comfortable dress shoes is Stuart Weitzman. The collection includes bold, fashionable heels, flats, loafers, and mules that most designer brands cannot match in comfort. Of course, you’ll also pay a premium for this style and quality, usually upwards of $250, though Amazon often has sales on their comfortable dress shoes for under $100.
You can tell the difference the minute you slip on Borns that they are a brand completely focused on providing the most comfortable construction. Though the designs are mostly on the casual side, the thick cushioning built into each shoe is incomparable. It’s like having little pillows sewn into the soles. Women who spend a lot of time on their feet will appreciate these comfortable dress shoes. Keep in mind, though, that the high quality construction and cushioning built into each shoe means that Borns tend to be a little bulkier than the average shoe.
Clarks has been a long-time favorite American brand for the most comfortable women’s shoes. You will probably encounter Clarks at any shoe store, department store, or mall you visit. The selection is huge compared to other comfort shoe brands, and the prices and quality are both reasonable. They won’t be the most comfortable or most durable shoes you own, but given the reasonable pricing, they don’t have to be. They can be a very reliable go-to work shoe that offers style and support. If you find a style you like, make sure you pick it up before they’ve rolled out new styles to replace it.
These are stylish, comfortable flats with padded insoles that look good with jeans or dresses. When you buy Tory Burch, you are getting expensive, high-quality shoes that look like expensive, high-quality shoes. Every product – from their purses to their shoes – comes with the signature Tory Burch logo, which fellow fans will be able to spot from a mile away. For a luxury designer brand, these shoes are relatively comfortable compared to most. They also make cute heels and boots.
Yes, that is spelled correctly. Sofft shoes are heavily padded, so they tend to be a little thicker than the average shoe, though they do offer some chic designs. This is probably not the right brand for a 20-something woman, but if you prize comfort over all else and still want to wear heels most days, Soffts are worth checking out.
Not to be confused with Sofft. The difference is that Soft Style brand shoes are less bulky and less cushioned but still pretty comfortable. Most of their styles are mid-level heels (1-2 inch), so you can enjoy the feminine look of a heel without the stress that a 3 inch heel puts on your feet, knees, and back. Soft Style pumps, wedges, slingbacks, and flats also tend to be reasonably priced. While they won’t be the most chic shoes in your closet, they won’t be painful to wear either.
Everyone who has shopped for comfortable women’s shoes has probably come across this brand due to their retail locations and broad presence in department stores. In my opinion, Aerosoles tend to be hit-or-miss. They are very well-known for reasonably attractive and comfortable dress shoes, but in recent years their designs have slipped a bit. With so much competition from other brands focused on comfort, Aerosoles sometimes struggles to find a good balance between style, comfort, and quality. Still, the company offers enough selection that you will occasionally come across some great finds, and the prices are almost always reasonable.
LifeStride shoes remind me of Aerosoles; they sometimes struggle to find a balance between comfort and style, often veering too far to one side of the spectrum. While some of their pumps and heels can look bland and outdated, others will strike you instantly as cute and comfortable. The good news is that this brand churns out new designs fairly frequently, so every time you check back, there will most likely be new comfortable dress shoes available. There have been periods of time when my LifeStrides have been my reliable, go-to shoe for work. LifeStride prices also tend to be very reasonable.
A relative newcomer to the comfortable dress shoe crowd, Me Too targets a younger audience of women. Me Too shoes are cuter and more fashionable than most traditional brands, featuring a wide variety of casual and dress flats that reflect the latest colors and styles at very reasonable prices. Try on a pair and you might be surprised at the level of cushioning. You most often see them on display at department stores like Nordstrom.
We love this relatively new brand by Kenneth Cole that re-thinks the comfort level of designer shoes. You’ll find the same quality leather in Gentle Souls as other fashionable brands but with more cushioning and softer materials. The prices are still at the designer level, but what a refreshing find to those of us seeking both comfort and style…. If only other designer brands opened their eyes to this market!
If you like Gentle Souls, you might also like Taryn Rose and Donald J Pliner.
If you go to a specialty walking shoe store, you will probably find Munro pumps, which tend to be wider than most dress shoes and offer solid arch support for your feet. They are not inexpensive, but they do tend to have better designs and quality than other brands with similar foot support. If you have narrow feet or prefer low-profile shoes, these are not for you. But if you want high quality support and a solid heel, you might like these.
Ecco shoes are most similar to Born in their focus on construction and cushioning. Like Born, Eccos also tend to be slightly bulkier than other brands. The company is actually more well-known for their casual and athletic shoes, but they also make a good selection of comfortable, good-quality heels. Like Aerosoles, they have a broad retail presence so you’re likely to be able to try them on at a mall or a department store.
Another designer brand known for comfort and quality with a large fan following is Taryn Rose . The brand was launched by an orthopedic surgeon, so the shoes are built with high tech cushioning for fit and flexibility. However, these stylish and comfortable dress shoes also cost as much as other designer shoe brands like Stuart Weitzman. If you don’t mind spending a little more to have that level of support in your shoes, these are a great option.
Caparros are mostly known for dressy evening sandals that are perfect for special occasions and weddings. The prices are reasonable and they have a variety of low and high heels. If you need an affordable, last minute option, consider this brand.
Trotters can’t decide whether they should focus on looks or comfort, so they try to do both and only succeed 50% of the time. Though Trotters makes reasonably priced and relatively comfortable women’s shoes, these will not be your most comfortable shoes or your most stylish shoes. Despite this, I have found some great Trotters heels that were my go-to work heels for a while, and they were relatively inexpensive. So I would still recommend trying on a few pairs in your search for comfortable shoes, and you might find a gem.
For some reason, Kenneth Cole brand shoes always seem to be on sale at department stores and online. The original prices are always relatively high designer prices, but these shoes get distributed by so many retailers that there seem to be a lot of discounts that bring the prices down to non-designer prices. So if you see a pair of Kenneth Cole shoes you like, don’t be deterred by the price. Chances are that they’ll go on sale soon, or that they’re already on sale. Keep an eye on the pair you want and keep checking online for a sale.
Mephisto specializes in making walking shoes for men and women with an extra-cushioned midsole to absorb the shock of each step on your joints. That may sound like this brand is made for your grandmother, but most of the styles are actually appropriate for anyone over 25. If you have narrow feet or like low profile shoes, these aren’t for you. But if you have wider feet and prefer well-cushioned shoes, it’s worth trying on a few pairs.
I love Sam Edelman flats, though they are admittedly expensive for flats. They are pliable, soft, well cushioned, elegant, and high quality. The best thing about them is that the lining on the edges (the part that touches your heel) is smooth enough all around that it doesn’t rub and irritate your skin anywhere. They are probably my most comfortable flats that are also stylish looking. If you are willing to invest in a pair of go-to flats for work or daily wear, I’d recommend trying a pair of their soft leather flats.
When it comes to boots, I have the hardest time finding dressy boots and booties that fit and are actually comfortable. Enter Aquatalia: The most comfortable, work-appropriate brand of boots you will ever find. The catch is that they are quite expensive. Soft, pliable, high-quality Italian leather comes with a steep price tag, but when you try these on, you’ll understand why.
Designer brands will never admit to prioritizing comfort because that is not what they are selling. Michael Kors will never market itself as a comfort brand. However, if you want designer looks, a pointed toe, and medium heel with a little nod to comfort, here’s another brand to consider. You might be pleasantly surprised at the cushioning when you try on their flats too, but they’d like you to keep that a secret.
If you like Michael Kors, you might also like Ralph Lauren or Cole Haan.
Launched to fame by being featured on Oprah’s list of favorites, Tieks are fine Italian leather flats that are very comfortable but also aggressively priced ($175-300). Soft and flexible, they are designed to be folded for easy storage in a small purse and look more casual than dressy. Each pair features Tieks’ signature teal-colored soles…. These are the Louboutins of flats. Sure, they are a comfortable brand, but it will come down to your budget and how casual your office footwear can be.
Speaking of expensive dressy flats, it is impossible to beat the AGL brand for comfort, quality, and sheer style. These gorgeous Italian leather dress shoes look and feel like high-end designer shoes, and they do not disappoint. The leather is like butter and feels gentle on your feet. Nordstrom seems to have a monopoly on these wonderfully comfortable shoes, but they are often on sale for slightly less alarming prices on their website.
People normally think of Rockport as a comfort-focused men’s brand, but they actually make a wide selection of high-quality dress shoes for women ranging from heels to loafers. If you’ve ever taken a look at how thick the padding is in their men’s shoes, you’ll recognize that they’ve tried to apply the same thick cushioning to their women’s line. They don’t have the widest selection available, but their classic pumps would be a solid addition to your work collection.
People are often quick to dismiss most Crocs right away, but the brand has expanded far beyond the original ugly, clunky, hole-filled shoes. Despite how ugly that Crocs trend was, no one can deny that they were comfortable! And Crocs has now taken that comfortable, rubbery, waterproof footbed and put it into decent looking flats, wedges, and Mary Janes that you can actually wear to work (without anyone knowing you are wearing Crocs). If you are serious about comfortable flats, and especially if you have wider feet, give Crocs another chance.
I would not describe Merrell as stylish or formal women’s dress shoes, but they are practical, comfortable, and well-made. Their shoes range from hiking boots to athletic shoes to casual flats and pumps, which can be worn in many workplaces. This is a great brand for those with wider feet as well. If you have some leeway in the office and can get away with more casual shoes, Merrells could be a good option for you.
If you like Merrell, you might also like OTBT or Teva.
For those who can get away with a more casual-looking shoe at work, Skechers has expanded their brand beyond athletic shoes to casual walking shoes and dress shoes that are made of the same soft and comfy footbed as their sneakers. Imagine being able to wear your comfortable tennis shoes to work without the look of tennis shoes! Many of the shoes have memory foam insoles or yoga mat insoles that provide especially soft cushioning for your feet.
These sturdy but mostly comfortable dress shoes are worn by most medical professionals, who tend to to be on their feet all day. If you visit any hospital, you will likely see most of the doctors and nurses sporting Danskos in a variety of colors and designs. The clogs and mary janes, known for their foot support, are especially popular within the brand and are known to last for years.
If you have bunions or a hard time finding a toe box that is wide enough for your feet, try on a pair of Walking Cradles. The brand is known for making heels, sandals, and flats of varying widths. It’s often hard to find wider shoes that are still stylish, but about half of the Walking Cradles collection is cute, lean enough to look feminine, and not too chunky. They even have pointed toe high heels that are more roomy than most.
Sometimes you need shoes to match a dress on short notice. If you are in a hurry to find reasonably priced heels to match your dress for a party or a wedding this weekend, Easy Street is a good place to start because they won’t break the bank, especially if you only intend to wear these shoes once or twice with a specific outfit. The Easy Street brand is lesser known but in the same category as Naturalizer, Clarks, and Easy Spirit. They won’t be your highest quality shoes but you also won’t spend a lot on them.
Sabrinas is a comfort brand from Spain known for its colorful European style, lightweight designs, and impressive cushioning. We like their flats, wedges, and Mary Janes, which range from more casual in style to business casual. The clunky heels are not our favorites but they are probably meant for comfort for than looks. Sabrinas are not business formal dress shoes, but if you can get away with a less formal shoe at the office, you can walk around comfortably in these all day.
Hush Puppies is a global comfort brand that’s been around for a long time but flies under the radar. Have you ever noticed their trademark droopy-eared dog? Me neither. Most of the Hush Puppies selection is casual to business casual but they do have a limited selection of more formal heels and sandals too. This is a comfort brand, so you won’t find any glamorous stilettos here, but you will find a wide variety of flats, wedges, and slip-ons that will keep you comfortable in a more casual office environment.
BareTraps tend to fall in the specialty comfort shoe category. You might find them at specialty walking shoe stores or at comfort stores like Footwear Unlimited. They are great options for people with wide feet or like sandals with a lot of padding. Most of their styles are designed for a more mature audience, but they do make some cute boots and ankle boots that would appeal to a younger generation.If you like Baretraps, you might also like Munro and Walking Cradles.
We had never heard of ankle shooties until we came across OTBT, a comfort brand for world travelers and adventuring nomads that’s short for Off The Beaten Track. Ankle shooties appear to be ankle booties that are more of a shoe than a bootie. OTBT makes well-padded and often thick-soled casual shoes and sandals for walking, but they also make some unique pumps and wedges that you could get away with in a more casual working environment. If you want to stand out and wear interesting shoes that no one else has, look here.
If you like OTBT, you might also like Baretraps.
You would never guess that this is one of those brands developed by a podiatrist featuring Orthaheel technology. Vionic describes its shoes as “sassy and supportive,” and we would have to agree. The brand has become much more stylish while still prioritizing comfort and arch support. If you need orthotics and hate wearing grandma shoes, this might be the closest you can get to stylish design.
If you like Vionic, you might also like Taryn Rose.