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
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.
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!
So I tried the Susina loafers and they ARE soft as butter, which was nice, but I know I am hard on shoes, so I returned and opted for the Everlane Modern Loafer (and got my official Everlane Club Member card…jk) Significant price difference, but I feel worth it. LOVING them! Ordered 1/2 size up and will likely use a stretcher to break in the toebed a bit more.
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!