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.
I work at a business school and rarely wear heels anymore. I have embraced a feminine menswear style. I have the everlane loafers, cole haan oxfords (they come in wide which translates to less narrow), an old pair of jcrew monkstrap type shoes. I have one pair of 1” -ish heels, again “wide” cole haans. Non work I do clogs/clog boots (everyone has their fancy faves but Dansko is still my go to for their sole) and multiple Ecco leather sneakers. Very comfy, those!

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after a long search I settled on these. Not super exciting but we will see how it goes. At least they will go with pretty much everything. Sorry for the dansko rant, I am just bitter about them because they are so heavy and I wore them for so long working full time and they changed the structure of my feet! My little toe started rotating. And all the ankle rolls… hard working nurse ain’t got time for that.
I’m a long-time reader but first-time commenter – this post has made me want to share my shoe shopping secret. On New Year’s Day, Saks has an incredible sale (up to 75 percent off!) before noon. It’s amazing for shoes! In the past few years, I’ve gotten black Rag and Bone 1.5” heel booties and grey suede Stuart Weitzman loafers for 70 percent off. Still a splurge, but so worth it. I wear them constantly. I work in a formal environment and have to be *dressed* for work each day (though I avoid suits). I also generally avoid heels, save for a pair of ridiculously comfortable oxford heels I got from L.L.Bean, of all places, and always get compliments on. Flats, loafers, and boots are my mainstays, even though I’m short and pretty small. You don’t have to wear heels to look professional!
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.

I have the same problem with some of my shoes, you just have to pick the right store. I like nine west and MK but I have bought a few online I love and are comfortable. I have found a site I like called http://www.heelstoday.com, I bought a 6in stiletto from them that turned out to be great and I have bought two other pairs. So I would look at them if you are in to online shoes.


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!

I’ve been wearing Sam Edelman Felicia flats to work almost everyday for over a decade (not the same pair…I have a couple pairs at a time that get replaced every two years or so). They are cute and have a padded sole so they’re comfortable to walk distances in. A few years ago the manufacturer changed the design a bit, so now they have an embroidered logo on the heel (yuck) and are slightly less comfortable for my foot. I haven’t found anything as good yet to replace them though, so I am soldiering on with them.
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I think I need the Everlane heels now … I work in a corporate legal department in Northern California, but I am often meeting with executives, so I am trying to look halfways professional. I am also a 6 footer, so don’t really need heels. I love Paul Green oxfords (available on Zappos), they look great with slacks or jeans; they look essentially like mens’ oxfords (wingtip and such), but a bit cuter, and they are incredibly comfy and long-lasting.

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!

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.

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