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.
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.
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! 

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!
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.
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.
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
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!

If you’re a commuter, I really recommend the brand All Black! I have a few of their slip-on Vans-style shoes and have received so many compliments on them. They’re super comfy for the commute into work, and they’re nice enough to wear in the office if you work somewhere a bit more casual/ slip off super easily if you’re running to a meeting and need to quickly change shoes. They’re the best (and currently on sale)!
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