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.
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?
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 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.
We are often asked for recommendations for heels you can wear despite having bunions, so we’ll be highlighting some of these brands over the next few posts.
Today we’re highlighting the Carousel wedge sandals from Taos Footwear for ladies who would like a little height and a little style without losing support and cushioning in the footbed.
Taos makes a few different varieties of wedges, so if these heels are too tall for you (about 2.5 inches), there are lower heeled wedges available too.
The Carousels are quite comfortable for a 2.5 inch heel. Both of the forefoot and instep straps are fairly wide and attached with velcro closures, so you can adjust the fit to your foot. If you have wider feet and have trouble finding sandals that fit, these could be worth a try.
The footbed is lined with suede and the leather lining is quite soft, so it doesn’t rub your skin anywhere. The sole is made of cork, so the shoe is fairly lightweight, not bulky. The arch support is sufficient, though a heel of this height is not made for heavy walking.
These shoes aren’t particularly formal but they do help to upgrade an otherwise casual outfit with a bit of style.
Taos Footwear is a named after the city of Taos, New Mexico, and the brand reflects the city’s casual lifestyle and focus on nature.
Thank you to our readers for sharing your favorite comfortable dress pumps for work! We are always looking for stylish heels that will be comfortable at the office. If you have more ideas, send them over to us here! We’ll keep collecting and sharing the most comfortable dress shoes we can find.
1) Clarks Women’s Brier Dolly Dress Pump
Clarks are a beloved comfort brand, and these Brier Dolly pumps are one of their best and most affordable heels for professional or evening wear. The platform under the toe box elevates the ball of your foot so the heel is not as high as it looks, which helps to keep you comfortable for longer. There’s a small cushion on the back of the heel to prevent rubbing, which is perfect because that’s where I usually have to place adhesive padding on my heels. Prices range from $40-70.
2) Aerosoles Women’s Shore Thing Dress Pump
These Aerosole Shore Thing pumps are classic and elegant, whether you are wearing them to business meetings and interviews or to church. There’s enough of a heel for it to look stylish and feminine, but it’s not high enough to cause too much pain over a day of wear. It’s also an affordable shoe to add to your heel collection. Prices range from $40-70.
3) Naturalizer Women’s Okira Dress Pump
The Okira Dress Pumps are a unique look from Naturalizer and a stylish departure from typical office pumps. They are closed-toe for more formal or office settings but also have a feminine strap feature that looks beautiful for an evening event and helps the shoes stay on your feet with no effort. The adjustable buckle makes it easy to adjust the straps to fit your feet. Prices range from $40-80.
4) Walking Cradles Women’s Race Dress Pump
The Race Dress Pumps from Walking Cradles are a rare pair of heels that are both stylish and comfortable for those with wider feet. The elegant profile of the shoe disguises the roominess of the toe box, which might be a good fit for those with bunions. The low heel is also a manageable height, and the price makes them an affordable addition to your dress shoe collection. Prices range from $45-60.
5) Mephisto Women’s Mila GT Dress Pump
These Mephisto Mila GT Dress Pumps are certainly an investment, but readers love the stretchy cloth material that conforms perfectly to your feet. What a unique pair of pumps! They are perhaps the most secure fitting heels you can find that also prioritize comfort and feature a nice low heel. The waterproof material also comes in handy in the winter. Prices range from $280-300.
6) Anne Klein AK Sport Women’s Yavari Dress Pump
Anne Klein Sport makes these beautiful Yavari slingback heels that look fantastic at work or at the theater. The medium height heel is low enough to be comfortable all day and high enough to add flair to your outfit. I love the look of the pointy toe, and it’s a great closed-toe shoe to wear to more professional or formal occasions. Prices range from $35-60.
7) Walking Cradles Women’s Matisse Pump
Walking Cradles has again made the list due to their wonderful balance of comfort and style. For a medium height heel (2.75 inches), these are surprisingly comfortable to wear to the office all day. Readers can’t stop telling us about the beautiful look of this shoe and how many compliments they get while wearing it. Prices range from $40-80.
8) Sofft Women’s Tansy
Sofft is well known for the thick cushioning they put into the sole of every shoe, but they aren’t always known for style. The Tansy pumps are a welcome departure from their typical shoe, with a lovely pointy cap toe and heel combination. I wish they made more styles like this because the cushioned footbed really does feel like you are walking on a yoga mat. Prices range from $50-80.
9) Vionic Women’s, Josie Low Heel Pumps
These lovely kitten heels from Vionic are comfortable and classy. For those looking for just a touch of a heel and high quality materials, these Josie Low Heel Pumps are a great option. The heel is well cushioned, and they are one of the most attractive dress shoes from the Vionic comfort brand. Prices range from $120-140.
10) Cole Haan Women’s Juliana 75 Dress Pump
Cole Haan is known more for style than for comfort, but these are still surprisingly comfortable for 3 inch heels. They are a beautiful and very professional looking pump for the office, but they’re also a perfect complement to any dress style. Whether you are going to a wedding or to a cocktail party, you can be confident that these will make your outfit shine. Prices range from $70-150.
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!