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!

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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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.

Right now I’m wearing Audrey Brooke ballet flats that I found at DSW and liked so much I got them in both black and beige: https://www.dsw.com/en/us/product/audrey-brooke-winny-ballet-flat/346590?cm_mmc=CSE-_-GPS-_-G_Shopping_Flats-_-New_Flats&cadevice=c&gclid=CjwKCAiA24PVBRBvEiwAyBxf-YsFHhzrUN7TieTobdfNN7iEDu3NDesJZ8uQvBpgDPTQFkIHUFyfrBoCevoQAvD_BwE
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.

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’m a produce manager so I need to wear comfy, heavy, non-slip shoes. After much searching, I found these https://m.6pm.com/p/shellys-london-tulle-hiker-boot-leopard/product/8940739/color/429?zhlfid=139&kpid=42196438&ef_id=WZirBgAAAHxMmQN_:20180310231403:s ( although I got mine for $60!) and they are both cute and functional. And I get compliments on them all the time.
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.
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!
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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