These shoes are made for walking.
With fall rolling in, it’s time to put your beloved sandals away and embrace the season’s cold-weather shoe options … hello, suede heeled booties! But if you have foot pain, the change of seasons may cause a little stress, as you search for fall kicks that are as supportive as they are stylish. So we went to an expert for a little shoe-shopping help. Here, Dr. Michael King, the medical director of Upperline Health in Nashville and Alabama Podiatry and former president of the American Podiatric Medical Association, shares his recommendations for podiatrist-approved fall footwear.
First things first, says Dr. King, it’s important to avoid shoes with extreme heels: “Stilettos are just not good. If you want to wear well-fitted stilettos for events they match, like nights out, weddings, or hot dates, that’s fine. But you shouldn’t be wearing them for 8 hours straight.”
Shoes that are completely flat are equally problematic, he adds, referencing the rising popularity of shoes that mimic being barefoot. “We’re not used to running around barefoot, so few people [who are used to wearing shoes] can function that way.”
When it comes to footwear (outside of running shoes), says Dr. King, your best options are those with about 1.5-inch heels and aides in support. And these days, he notes, it’s easier than ever to find shoes that are equal-parts supportive and stylish.
Five companies, he says, do a particularly good job of bridging the gap between trendy and comfortable in their shoes: Vionic, Aerosoles, Aetrex, Echo, and Clarks.
Dr. King notes that Clarks have worked especially well for his patients over the years, and a quick scroll of the website proves that the company has stepped into a more fashion-forward arena with their designs: Beyond the Desert Boot Clarks first became known for, there are now sleek black slides, heeled leather booties, and ladylike block heel pumps—all with the same support of the brand’s original comfort shoes.
Even if you’re not wearing one of Dr. King’s recommended brands, you don’t have to skip out on trends: “Slides and mules are fine,” he says. “Some people don’t like them because your toes have to work a little harder, but as long as they’re made from decent material and have a little bit of support, people do fine in them.”
Finally, while it may be in vogue to mix and match other pieces in your closet, you should never try to make shoes work double-duty, says Dr. King: “You should wear shoes that match whatever activity you’re doing.”
So no running in your mules, ya hear?
WATCH: How To Waterproof Shoes
What's your go-to pair of cold-weather kicks? Tell us about them in the comments.