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.
For those of us not in an office setting that requires heels and the like…Hoka One One Bondi 5 and Hoka One One Clifton 4 running shoes are amazing. Working in a research lab on my feet all day I’ve found there’s no point in wearing anything other than sneakers (and absolutely no open toed shoes – you’ll lose a foot!). I have gigantic and WIDE hoofs with a supination issue and high arches. Hoka One One makes the best shoes for my feet (the Bondi is the cushiest). Insoles that support your unique foot shape are a must (I’ve found that Superfeet Green insoles do it for me, plus a custom pair of orthotics for long runs). But seriously, go see a podiatrist and get your feet and your gait analyzed (multiple times throughout your life – it changes!). Well worth the co-pay.
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.
If you’re a commuter, I really recommend the brand All Black! I have a few of their slip-on Vans-style shoes and have received so many compliments on them. They’re super comfy for the commute into work, and they’re nice enough to wear in the office if you work somewhere a bit more casual/ slip off super easily if you’re running to a meeting and need to quickly change shoes. They’re the best (and currently on sale)!
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 can’t say enough about Rothy’s flats! I have two pairs – a leopard print and a bright blue with orange soles and they are both the pointed toe flats. I get a ton of compliments from random people on the street, and all of my coworkers have bought a pair. They feel like sneakers but are fashionable and can be washed in the washing machine so if I get caught in a rainstorm, they aren’t ruined.
I commute in Cole Haan ballet flats (unless boots are needed) and then change into heels at my desk. My most comfortable are the Sam Edelman Hazel pumps, which are honestly the most comfortable heels I’ve ever worn. Pro tip – Zappos sells the black and nude (in various materials) in a narrow width, which has been a life saver for my feet! I’ve also found Ann Taylor and Tory Burch heels to be pretty comfortable and narrow feet friendly.