Thank you to Wanda J. from Bridgeport, CT for recommending the Kristy Bootie from Earth footwear!
For those who want a little height without the discomfort of heels, these soft leather booties are a much more comfortable alternative and versatile enough for work or casual wear.
The unique style (peep toe, almost slingback, and side zip closure) can enhance a variety of outfits during the summer and fall seasons, and you’ll appreciate the thickly padded soles and arch support if you’re on your feet all day long. The leather is high quality, and the shoe looks well made.
If you usually wear orthotics, you may not even need them in Earth booties. The padding of the sole is generous and comfortable.
Those with wider feet or bunions will also appreciate the roomy foot space and the soft, flexible leather. You probably won’t have to worry about the leather rubbing your skin.
Most importantly, Earth brand prices tend to be reasonable for the value. Check out the different shades of leather available.
Searching for the most comfortable women’s shoe brands that are both stylish and affordable? Check out our reader favorites:
Thanks to Rachel J. from Purchase, NY for recommending these Soft Style pumps for women with bunions!
The Mabry pumps from Soft Style are roomy in the toe box and perfect for those with wider feet or issues with bunions. They come with a medium, block-style heel, so you get the elegant, professional look of a lower heel with a relatively stable base.
If you have trouble finding heels that are comfortable for bunions, try on a pair. They look very professional and pair well with business attire, but you could also wear them to an evening event. The profile is relatively slim-looking for a comfort shoe – they aren’t too chunky or blocky, and you’ll notice the signature Soft Style padded footbed.
Thank you to Vanessa T. from Great Falls, VA for recommending Tory Burch Minnie Travel Flats!
These beautiful designer flats are wildly popular, and you’ve undoubtedly noticed the signature Tory Burch emblem on women’s feet at the mall, at the airport, and at work.
The Minnie flats are certainly a pricey investment, but they are clearly a notch above regular flats, with buttery soft leather, beautiful colors, and the signature Tory logo. Like most flats, there is no real arch support, but there is some cushioning in the elastic back of the shoe, and the supple leather stretches and folds with ease. Even those with wider feet shouldn’t experience rubbing with these flats.
The true value of Tory Burch flats are that they are elegant, professional, and stylish – a rare, dressed-up version of everyday flats that pair as well with dresses as they do with jeans. You can wear them to a business meeting or on the weekends when you want to take your casual outfit up a notch.
These flats are a relatively comfortable option given the versatility of the shoe, and they come in a wonderful array of styles and colors. They might remind you of Me Too or Sam Edelman flats, which are less expensive and probably equal in comfort. But for a classy designer brand, these Tory Burch flats are at the top of their game in comfort and looks.
Have a favorite shoe you’d like to recommend to our readers? Share it with us here!
Thank you to Alex V. from Pasadena, CA for recommending the Bay Unique Flat from Gentle Souls!
Unlike 99.9% of women’s flats, these soft leather ballet flats actually have medium-level arch support! You’ll notice the well-cushioned footbed immediately when you slip your foot into the shoe.
Gentle Souls is a comfort line from Kenneth Cole known for its soft, flexible leather material and shock-absorbing insoles.
These flats include elastic cross straps that help keep the shoe on your feet without causing any rubbing against your heel, and the footbed is roomy enough for orthotics if you use an insert.
You’ll also notice the unique high back with a vertical zipper, which is supportive and comfortable (no rubbing), but it does take an extra second to slip on compared to typical flats.
If you have trouble finding comfortable flats with enough support to wear the whole day, try on a pair of these Gentle Souls. They look flattering on your feet, and they’re versatile enough to wear with many outfits. They may be the most comfortable ballet flats you’ve ever worn.
Since we hear from so many high heel wearers searching for pain relief, I wanted to highlight toe separators as a great tool for alignment and comfort.
Wearing heels every day for years will negatively alter the alignment of your feet, even if they are the most comfortable dress shoes you can find. The damage can appear in the form of bunions, hammer toes, plantar fasciitis, and general foot pain.
If you’ve noticed your big toe veering towards your second toe because your favorite heels are too pointy and narrow, it’s best to fix the problem now before it’s too late!
One way to restore the natural alignment of your toes and relieve tension is to stretch those muscles, just as you would stretch your muscles after other kinds of work outs like running or lifting weights.
There are many different brands of toe separators on the market but they mostly function in the same way. You slide the separators between your toes and hold them there for a few minutes at a time to give your toes a good stretch.
You may notice pain relief immediately, or it may take a few weeks of gently nudging your toes back into alignment. Hopefully you’ll notice your toes straightening out and some of that foot pain subsiding.
Your feet go through a lot of intensive physical stress every day and need to be taken care of in order to avoid permanent pain.
Looking for more ideas for pain relief from wearing high heels?
I have probably tried on 100 pairs of flats searching for the perfect mix of style and comfort.
These experiences always yield a certain amount of frustration because there are so many flats out there that are supposed to be comfortable but start rubbing your feet painfully within the first 5 seconds of wearing them.
Then there are those cushiony flats that make you feel like you are walking on a yoga mat. You can’t believe your luck. Finally some flats you could wear all day! Then you look at them again in the mirror and realize you can’t get over how ugly they are.
At some point, after trying on tons of flats with diminishing hope of finding a pair you will love, the clouds part and the light shines down from the heavens. This is the pair you love so much that you end up wearing them every single day until they are completely worn out. This is the pair you recommend to your sister and your best friend.
For me, those are Sam Edelman Felicia leather ballet flats.
Sam Edelman makes a lot of flats in different styles, colors, and materials, but these are my favorite. The leather is super soft and pliable and doesn’t rub my feet anywhere. I wore them for a full day right out of the box with no problem. The sole is sturdy but flexible and lightweight. They look stylish and professional enough to wear to the office but are also a cute addition to your outfit on weekends. And unlike most ballet flats, these actually look a little more upscale and expensive! It’s all about how you feel when you are wearing them.
Admittedly, the Felicia flats have no arch support and are not suitable for walking long distances. They are flats after all, not tennis shoes. So they are not the most comfortable shoe you will ever wear, but they may be the most comfortable flats you own and certainly on many ladies’ Top 10 lists.
If you’ve reached that point where you can’t handle wearing uncomfortable heels every day anymore, don’t worry! Here are 10 great alternatives to high heels that are comfortable, stylish, professional and feminine.
Ankle Strap Mini Wedges
Wow, these ankle strap mini wedges from Madewell are so popular that they are sold out everywhere! I saw these in a few different colors and patterns and was so excited to buy them because I love everything about them. The ankle strap is perfect for keeping shoes from slipping off your feet and having to overgrip with your toes to keep flats on. The mini wedge gives you just enough height to be dangerous without the discomfort of a high heel. The perfect combination and a very comfortable alternative to wearing heels to work.
These low wedge pumps from Aerosoles are a great alternative to high heels – they are much more comfortable and still give you some added height. If you don’t want to give up height completely, wedges put a lot less pressure on your heels and your knees than a single metal heel.
Slingback flats from brands like Naturalizer and Tory Burch are really comfortable and still look sharp enough for the office. If you experience pain with the backs of your shoes rubbing your heels, you will love slingbacks. Your heels will be completely comfortable and pain free. Even if you get a pair of slingbacks that rubs slightly at the strap, you can always tape a little strip of Moleskin padding to it and you won’t feel a thing.
I will admit that I am not a huge fan of loafers but these pointy toe loafers from Taryn Rose are beautiful. Usually women’s loafers are clunky, boxy, and generally unattractive. These are well cushioned, sleek, and make your feet look narrow – a welcome alternative to wearing heels. They also come in beautiful suede and metallic leather colors that really make your outfit pop.
Pointed Toe Leather Flats
You can still enjoy that lovely pointed look without the pain of high heels. Take this pair of pointed toe flats from Lifestride – these are professional, affordable, and most importantly, comfortable for most types of feet, even for those with slightly wider feet or bunions. These are casual enough to wear out on weekends and formal enough to wear to the office. If you’re on your feet all day at work, you’ll want to find some reliable flats as an alternative to heels.
Quilted Ballet Flats
I love the quilted look – it gives these Sam Edelman flats an extra touch of elegance and class. Some flats look way too casual to wear to the office, but I think these quilted flats would pass my test.
These are a little pricey for flats, but they are made with a soft, supple leather that make them the most comfortable flats in my closet. These are a perfect alternative to painful heels.
In cooler climates or even in moderate weather, ankle boots are a comfortable and classy option when you don’t feel like wearing heels. Walking Cradles is a comfortable brand that makes both flat and heeled ankle boots, so you have the option of a little height if you’d like.
This is usually a good brand for those with bunions, and the elegant leather material makes these shoes a good option for work or for the weekend.
Pointed Ballet Flats with Straps
These cute pointed ballet flats from ASOS are a fun and stylish alternative to heels. They come in a variety of colors and textures so you can mix and match with your outfits. The thin straps give you the added benefit of staying on your feet more easily, so you can totally relax your foot muscles.
Mary Jane Flat
There are obvious comfort advantages to wearing Mary Janes but they don’t always look cute. Me Too, the brand known for flats, makes some cute options with laces and straps that could be appropriate for the office, depending on how formal your work environment is.
Thank you to Erin C. for recommending these lovely evening pumps from Aerosoles!
The Aerosoles Onward Pumps are a comfortable option for women looking for closed-toe pumps with a dressy strap and moderate heels. (2.25 inch). They come in several formal colors and that signature Aerosoles foam footbed.
If you need to stay comfortable while dancing the evening away at a wedding or a holiday party, these are a cute heel to pair with any dress.
If you need to pivot and wear these to the office, you can do that too. The closed-toe is perfect for more professional settings.
Aerosoles is an affordable comfort brand that can be hit or miss, but these are comfortable and stylish enough to give them a try.
Thank you to Hannah G. from Plano, TX for recommending these lovely leather boots from Mephisto!
The Mephisto Seddy boots are almost as comfortable as you can get for a low leather boot with a heel. Like all Mephisto shoes, they are high quality and high priced, but these are an investment you can wear all day long.
The leather is so soft and pliable. The style of the boot makes your feet look slim, but the toe box is surprisingly spacious. If you have bunions, give these a try! There may be room to wiggle your toes.
The boots are well cushioned and very convenient to slide on and off, at least much easier than my other leather ankle boots. They come in leather and suede, but I prefer the look of the leather – it’s more dressed up. You can wear these with so many outfits, and no one will guess that you are wearing a “comfort” brand.