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.
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A big thank you to Charlotte H. from Melbourne, Australia for sharing her favorite shoes – these lovely LifeStride Sonya pumps that are different from your typical slingback.
These classy heels are stylish and feminine – pointed toe, 2.5 inch heel, black or taupe – while also prioritizing comfort. The elastic slingback strap and thick, cushioned insole help to keep these heels securely on your feet all day without painful rubbing or clenched toes. If you can’t find this exact pair, we are big fans of LifeStride’s selection of slingbacks and low to medium heels.
Special thanks to a kind reader who recommended Sacha London brand shoes to us! Sacha London makes stylish high heels with a vintage flair and with an emphasis on stability, elevation, and comfort. These suede slingbacks (and many of their pumps) have a thick platform under the sole of the shoe, which makes the height of the heel much more manageable. You get the height of a nearly 4 inch heel while really only enduring the pain of a 2 inch heel. As with all high heels, there is no arch support and they might run a bit narrow, but cheers to a comfortable and elegant option for weddings and for work.
Thanks to Leslie P. from Chesapeake Bay, MD for sharing how comfortable and sleek her Trotters pumps are!
Trotters is a company that has been around for a long time and focuses on soft leathers, flexible soles, and special cushioning for narrow or wide feet.
They offer an impressive variety of women’s dress shoes with lower/kitten heels, so you can dash around the office all day without your pumps wearing you down. If you have to travel for work, these lower heels make trekking through the airport more manageable.
If you often have trouble with dress shoes rubbing the back of your heels, try LifeStride slingbacks! They are very comfortable and more importantly, a heel saver for women.
If you often encounter the problem of your heels getting rubbed raw by the backs of your shoes, consider slingbacks or Mary Janes. They’ll hold your foot securely in place, so you can relax. Your shoes also don’t have to fit as tightly because you won’t worry about them slipping off.
Almost any pair of pumps I buy will rub the back of my heels in a painful way. If they are slightly loose, my foot slips in and out of the dress shoe with every time I take a step. If they are snug, then the leather often digs into the back of my heel.
That’s why I love Lifestride slingbacks – they hold your heels very securely on your feet without rubbing them as your foot moves up and down!
Make sure the strap is made of a soft leather. I have come across some pointless slingbacks with straps that are made of an uncomfortable materially that irritates your skin.
Soft Style is a brand of women’s dress shoes that you don’t find very often in stores, but they make well-cushioned, low-heel pumps and slingbacks.
If you have wide feet or bunions but need to wear heels for work or a special event, you’ll especially appreciate the roomy build of these shoes. They are well cushioned without being bulky, add height without being unstable, and maintain a relatively slim profile for your feet.