I absolutely LOVE Pikolinos! They are definitely the most comfortable and longest lasting/wearing shoes I’ve owned. I have 2 pairs of sandals that are going on 4 and 5 years of daily use from May – September for work, city walks, and travel. Last fall I purchased a pair of Pikolino brogues and loafers that were comfortable right out of the box, and are perfect for work or a dressing up a casual outfit. Unfortunately, I find the shoes to be extremely expensive in Toronto, but I’ve been fortunate to come across the brand during visits to Portugal, France, and Spain where they are much more reasonably priced.
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.
I bought a pair of Ecco sandals (the hauraches) for my summer Italy trip, and they were the best! They look kind of dowdy online, but are way cuter on than in the photos, and they have a really supportive insole, and really stable almost sneaker like outsole/bottom, so they really hold up for tons of city walking, while keeping your feet cooler than a regular sneaker, and work with dresses and pants.
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’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!
I second Ali’s comment! Have you tried Gekk’s? I’m newly obsessed with them! They’re no show socks except you basically glue them in place in your shoe so they don’t slide around like normal no-show socks seem to do constantly. Then if they get stinky you can pull them out and wash them. They’re not cheap but neither is replacing smelly shoes every three months :-)
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.