My husband splurged and got me a pair of Tory Birch flats for Christmas this year (these: https://www.toryburch.com/minnie-travel-ballet-flat–leather/32880.html?dwvar_32880_color=232&cgid=shoes-ballet). After years of wearing el cheapo Target flats, it was AMAZING. Zero break-in period. One of the most comfortable pairs of shoes I’ve ever worn. It has definitely made me realize that, if you can float it, better quality shoes are worth it!
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I work for a public transit system, so I have a job that has my time split in offices with public officials wearing suits and walking around in train yards and tunnels with oil-covered rail mechanics. Sometimes I’ll have time to swap out my shoes at my desk, but I’ve relied on these suede Vans https://goo.gl/yVJZxT for 3 years now. They’ll never pass for heels, but they are incredibly versatile and comfortable plus the price point is perfect.
When I was working full time, on my feet all day, I had an amazing pair of Naturalizer boots, so I’d recommend that brand for sure, Also a favorite, Geox shoes are incredibly comfortable. I still wear a pair of wedge sandals I bought about 5 years ago, and they feel like you’re walking on pillows! Bought them in brown too, love them so much! Geox has seasonal warehouse sales, where you can score some great deals, and they have mens, ladies, and childrens footwear.
For you Australian Cup of Jo readers out there – check out Bared Footwear. Their footwear is stylish, comfortable and the company was started by a podiatrist. I wear the “Parrot” style at work, where I’m on my feet for up to 9 hours sometimes. I LOVE THEM, they are supportive and my legs don’t feel nearly as tired at the end of the day, compared to when I don’t wear them.
If you’re in need of a specialized design as well as specific construction, our shoe shape filter helps you browse women’s work footwear in shapes like heeled sandal, pump, athletic, dress boot, flat, slide flat, and work boot. Our search-by-color filter lets you pick from hues like olive green, classic black, playful floral patterns, deep browns and reds, and more. Whether you prefer a marbled leather outer with antimicrobial lining or high-quality suede with cushioned inserts, you can find a range of materials and features all right here. Plus, using our handy filters, you can hone in on quality women’s work footwear brands, including Skechers, KEEN, Timberland, and more.
I work for a public transit system, so I have a job that has my time split in offices with public officials wearing suits and walking around in train yards and tunnels with oil-covered rail mechanics. Sometimes I’ll have time to swap out my shoes at my desk, but I’ve relied on these suede Vans https://goo.gl/yVJZxT for 3 years now. They’ll never pass for heels, but they are incredibly versatile and comfortable plus the price point is perfect.

Emily, thanks for this comment! I work in disaster relief, so I wear work boots when I’m on sites. I LOVE that my “work uniform” is a)whatever I want when I’m remote, and b)work boots and a hard hat when I’m on site. I wear Vasque hiking boots. These are sturdy and comfortable, with traction and support. They are not, however, steel-toed or puncture-proof, which would technically be best practice. I love them and am willing to forego the latter precautions, but I know that as another commentor mentioned, Red Wing has those things. I would recommend checking out Sierra Trading Post for certain boots, because nice quality brands tend to get very expensive, but they are worth seeking out at a discount.
When I was in my early 20’s, I realized that I would not be able to sit at a desk for the next 40 plus years and went back to school to get a degree in occupational therapy. I specialize in pediatrics and work in a sensory integration gym with mats on most of the surfaces, so we take off our shoes when we treat. I wear Crocs at work! I play with children all day long and I don’t have to wear women’s shoes, ever, which I find impossible to walk in, anyway. When I go out I wear Frye boots in the winter or Mephisto sandals in the summer. I refuse to hobble myself.
Being a petite lady, I’m a size five in women’s, which proves difficult sometimes. Some shoes don’t even go down to a five! Always a six, never a five. So I’ve started resorting to buying kid’s shoes! A women’s five is around a kid’s 3-3.5, depending on the shoe. I’ve found lots of cute slip on shoes this way, for example! I always get a small internal swell of resourceful pride when I get complimented on them, knowing, little do they know, I got them for cheap from the children’s section!
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