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.

Taos ballet flats. They had some in pewter a few years ago, with a laser cut design along the opening, that I wore daily until the leather on the right toe of one of them cracked. It was the only time I’ve ever felt heartbroken about shoes. I now have a pair of shiny patent leather (black) Taos ballet flats, but they lack the laser cut detail. I would pay double for another pair of those original flats. So cute, comfortable, and perfect with pants or dresses, even for someone with narrow feet.


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!
I have such a hard time with content like this because I work a (literal) blue collar job. my go to work shoes are 5.11 ATAC 8″ boots. theyre kind of expensive, but theyre by far the most comfortable tactical boots I’ve ever tried on. I am in the market for a new pair though, and I think I want ones with a puncture resistant shank, so if any other work boot wearing cup of jo readers have recommendations Id love to hear them.
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. 

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.
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!
Love this post. I used to always buy cheap shoes and they would leave me tired and blistered every time. One Christmas I got the Everlane Babo shoes and I am NEVER going back. I literally where these shoes everywhere—work, out, walks around the city. They are by far the most comfortable shoes that I’ve ever owned. I feel so passionately about these shoes that I will find myself on unsoliciated ramblings on elevators telling everyone they should buy these shoes. I realize they aren’t the *cutest* shoe (I call them my elf/witch shoes) but I love their interesting shape and they go with everything! Do yourself a favor and buy these shoes: https://www.everlane.com/products/womens-modern-babo-black?utm_medium=cpc&utm_source=pla-google&utm_campaign=838132553&utm_content=197323891655&utm_term=pla-341116225674&adgroup=43249559952&pid=2414-8509&device=m&gclid=CjwKCAiA24PVBRBvEiwAyBxf-TmH1XO5IYJ8Bi3MK5k-SUMQmo8tvfiC1Gc0v86JuwjptnbHnglemhoCwPAQAvD_BwE
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.
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