Fall In Love With Comfy Shoes
There’s no need to sacrifice style to treat your tootsies right. Use these tips to choose high-fashion shoes that are good for you.
Stylish Women Rejoice!
Dr. Judith F. Baumhauer, a spokesperson for the American Orthopaedic Foot & Ankle Society and an orthopedic surgeon specializing in foot and ankle care, says there are certain qualities that make a shoe great for you. Here are Dr. Baumhauer’s shopping tips for finding smart shoes:
- The shoe’s sole should be made of a shock-absorbing material such as rubber or cork.
- The upper portion should be made of expanding materials such as soft leather.
- The widest portion of the sole should match the width of the ball of your foot.
- Your heel should fit snugly into the back of the shoe.
- Get both feet measured--the size and shape of each foot changes with age. Buy for the larger foot, if needed.
- Shop at the end of the day when your feet have expanded.
- Go where a reputable salesperson is available for sizing.
Great Brands for Feel-Good Footwear
Want comfortable options that fit your taste? Here are our top picks for brands with taste and the right technology for a good fit. We’ve grouped these based on cost from high to low.
- It’s an investment: Jeanne Jarvaise, Taryn Rose
- Pricey but worth every penny: Cole Haan, Cordani, Gentle Souls by Kenneth Cole
- Comfort within reach: Aravon, Born, Clarks, Me Too
- A steal of a deal: Aerosoles, Dr. Scholl’s, Easy Spirit
The sling-back heel is sleek and elegant--a classic choice for an evening out. Look for one that uses a wide strap to increase stability, a wide toe box to prevent cramping from strap pressure, and shock absorption to pad the ball of the foot. Editor’s pick: The “Claudia” style from Taryn Rose, orthopedic surgeon-turned-shoe designer.
The Ballet Flat
Comfort key: This sweet and versatile slipper is stylish enough for work yet goes great with your favorite jeans. Its trademark is a light-looking sole, but shop for a pair with extra padding to cushion the foot and a functional strap for a snug fit.
Editor’s pick: The “Gabby” shoe by Gentle Souls. The deerskin lining in this shoe feels like a soft glove.
The Classic Flat
Comfort key: A multipurpose flat is every woman’s best friend on those days when outfit assembly needs to be easy. Look for a shock-absorbing sole and extra-soft lining.
Editor’s pick: The rightfully named “Carefree” style by Aerosoles. This shoe is a great value.
Comfort key: The platform pump is fun and adventurous and can be surprisingly comfortable if you look for a few difference-makers--a wide upper-foot strap for extra support, shock absorption for padding, and an angled platform under the ball of the foot to reduce lower back pain.
Editor’s Pick: The “Heather” heel from Jeanne Jarvaise. This shoe’s a shocker! It feels so soft on the ball of the foot.
The Rounded-Toe Pump
Comfort key: The rounded-toe pump is all things feminine and a timeless staple for dressing up on any occasion. Look for a deep toe box to prevent jamming into the front of the shoe, memory foam for extra cushioning, and built-in arch support.
Editor’s pick: The “Calgary” style by Cordani. This shoe wins top pick for its ultra-stylish look, great fit, and pretty affordable price.
The Casual Slip-on
Comfort key: Busy days call for shoes that slip right on and keep up with fast-moving feet. Look for an ultra-soft footbed, extra padding in the ball of the foot, and a flexible rubber sole.
Editor’s pick: The “Saba” patent leather flat by Me Too.
The Mary Jane
Comfort key: The youthful Mary Jane pairs especially well with ankle-cropped pants when you want to look cute but feel comfortable. Look for straps made of extra-soft leather to prevent blistering, cushioned footbeds for extra padding, and built-in arch support.
Editor’s pick: The “Hayley” shoe by Aravon.
Comfort key: The wedge is a smart option when you need a heavier shoe that still looks sophisticated. But walking on a wedge can feel trickier than tightrope walking. Shop for a medium-to-low heel to reduce forefoot pressure and back pain.
Editor’s pick: The 1-inch “Air Linden Ballet” wedge from Cole Haan. Shock absorption is always a plus, and this style has a high-tech Nike Air sole.