Rare is it that comfortable and pumps are used in the same sentence. Often it is a choice between one or the other. Nearly 20 years of living in NYC is finally catching up with me and wearing heels has started to become something I’m hardly interested in. Between the pain, the impracticality, and the fact that I want to get where I am going quickly, I only wear heels if I have to. And sometimes I do.
Foot comfort is also incredibly important to most of my clients too. Like me, if they are going to wear heels they better be comfortable and take them from point a. to point b. with ease. Thankfully, over the years comfort brands have stepped up their style and many non-comfort brands have finally realized there is a good segment of the population who want more from their shoes than just attractiveness.
Comfortable Pumps that aren’t Ugly
Focusing on comfortable pumps, I am featuring styles from several brands that have managed to combine pretty shoes with standout comfort features.
This first style isn’t a pump in the traditional sense, but it certainly is a viable option for work and beyond. Cole Haan is a terrific brand for comfort and rare is it that their styles don’t sacrifice looking chic. Cole Haan’s Tali wedge has a foam cushioned footbed, an outsole with horizontal treads to maximize forefoot agility and a low stacked heel of 1.5″. This is an ideal height for comfort. If you want comfortable pumps but are concerned about wearing actual heels, a wedge is a much sturdier alternative.
The Vionic Bria wedge is another comfortable pumps alternative if you want more stability. I also chose these shoes because if you have ever looked at the inside of a pair of Vionic shoes you know they are designed for comfort and are really perfect if you need arch support.
When I was a kid, I remember all the middle aged dads wore Rockport shoes. For years I equated this brand with suburban men lacking any sense of style. This was until I stumbled on their shoes again decades later. First of all, you can’t not be taken in by the insides of their ‘Total Motion’ Kalila pumps and other styles that basically look and feel like sneakers. The padding is beyond impressive. The fact that these pumps manage to look sleek and stylish but are padded like comfort brand shoes is sort of amazing. While I don’t usually recommend pointier toe patent leather for those with bunions, one of the reviewers on Nordstrom mentioned they do work for hers.
The Trotters Signature Gigi pump is a great style if you can stand 3 1/2″ heels but prefer room in the toe box. They also look deceptively close to Christian Louboutin’s Simple Pump in 85mm (3/1/2″). These shoes are generously padded and are sold in wide sizes, a width that can be hard to find in pretty styles.
For some women, it’s not so much about the heel height as it is about feeling secure in heels. Block heels are much easier to walk in than stilettos, not to mention better for walking on subway grates or uneven sidewalks). Thankfully, blocked heels have made a strong comeback and Ecco has a style that touts their comfort technology including a molded anatomical contoured comfort footbed.
If you’re someone who experiences pain in the balls of your feet when you wear pumps, selecting a style with a small platform, like this pair from Naturalizer, can help absorb some of the shock when walking. In addition, that small platform can help mitigate the height of the heels which will give you the look of height while making them feel more comfortable. Additionally, Naturalizer is known for creating comfortable shoes and this pair has their signature N5 Cushioning System that includes extra padding to absorb shock, support body weight and distribute pressure, breathable lining, balanced heel-to-toe distribution, flexible soles and lightweight comfort.
There are two types of women in this world; those who can wear slingbacks and those who can’t. I fall into ‘those who can’ category. In fact, I find them easier to wear than pumps. However, when I was a kid, I remember my mom always walking around with the straps of her slingbacks falling off. I think it’s the shape of the heel that makes them either good or bad.
I didn’t select these shoes simply because they are low heeled slingbacks. I chose them because they are from Clarks. I mean, come on, Clarks. Who thinks of them when it comes to comfortable pumps, but they do make them. This particular style has the brand’s Cushion Soft Technology and a molded footbed and has gotten outstanding reviews.
Don’t forget to tailor your shoes
Just like you might need a nip or a tuck with your clothing you, customizing your shoes can also make a huge difference. In addition to searching for comfortable pumps, consider tailoring your shoes. It’s not uncommon for me to buy pads specifically designed for making my shoes more comfortable. Foot Petals are my favorite.
I hope this these selections of comfortable pumps have given you some suggestions that will work for you. If you have a favorite brand or style I’d love to hear about them.