For many of us, high heels are a fashion item that we hate. They can be stylish, offer a few inches of height we wish we had grown, and elevate the look for a job presentation or other important event. However, its cost often comes not only in dollars, but in various aches, pains and ailments in the legs, feet and back.
If you’re not completely enamored with the idea of flats for every situation, you’ve probably fallen down the rabbit hole of reading customer reviews of dealers and dealers and weighing the merits of each to come to a conclusion. We’ve compiled this list for you with the guidance of two New York-based podiatrists: Jacqueline Suter, DPM, of City Podiatry, and Emily Splichal, DPM, of the Center for Functional and Regenerative Podiatric Medicine.
Best Ensemble: Sarah Flint Rosie
Sarah Flint is known for her ability to design stylish luxury shoes that don’t compromise on comfort or foot health, which is why her style is placed in several categories on this list. The Rosie is usually the best because it has a very low block heel, extra cushioning and a roomy almond-shaped toe box – features that podiatrists say are paramount to comfort in any pair of shoes. Combined with one shoe, they create extremely comfortable high heels. They are also stylishly designed and versatile; you can wear them to work, run errands or have lunch with friends.
Best Budget: Amazon Essentials Slide Sandal
These sandals, which are simple and sensible due to their versatility, have been appreciated by reviewers for their high quality, comfort and overall we arability for the price. At around $30, this is a steal compared to all the other pieces on this list.
Best Low Rate: Yorktown Aerosols
If you need a little lift and a lot of cushioning, Aerosols has just the shoe for you. The Yorktown style is an everyday leather sandal with a 1.25″ wedge so it supports your feet instead of weighing you down. The manufacturer has an excellent track record of producing comfortable footwear and is usually podiatrist approved.
Best platform: Aerosol Dade
Naturally, the platform is one of the most comfortable heels, Drs. Suter and Splichal say. This pair of aerosols keeps feet flat but supported with a natural arch. It’s also very wearable – you can complete the look quickly with a basic shirt and cropped jeans. We especially love the different velvet versions for the colder months.
Best Wedges: Castamere Carina Wedge Espadrilles
Castamere has perfected the espadrille in terms of quality, versatility, and comfort—at least that’s what reviewers on various e-commerce sites like Shop bop and Revolve have given them along with their five-star ratings. In the early 1970s, the founders created the brand’s signature wedge for a customer you may recognize: Yves Saint Laurent. Since then, they have been a mainstay of fashion.
Best pump: Sarah Flint Perfect Pump 85
Famous figures from Lady Gaga to Meghan Markle love Sarah Flint’s pumps, which the designer says she created with the idea of beautiful comfort at the forefront. Handmade in Italy, the flared toe box and V shape of this style prevent toe creasing without eliminating toe cracking. It also features an arch support and extra cushioning insole – to Podiatrist standards – and rubber soles for better traction, which the designer said was necessary to make his luxurious heels as practical as possible.
“[Rubber soles] I always added to my shoes after I bought them, which I thought was crazy that you could spend so much money on luxury shoes and then go to a cobbler to add them,” Flint said in a video on the brand’s YouTube channel.
Ultimate luxury: Dior Jairo singback pumps
If you’re in the market for a singback and are willing to buy a well-designed shoe priced for comfort, check out Dior. The quality of these shoes speaks for itself; This pair of sling backs is fully lined with Italian leather and features a cotton strap that won’t sink into the top of your heel. Plus, the pair is made from the brand’s signature technical fabric, which is more flexible than patent leather, so it’s quite easy to break into.
Best Boots: Naturalize Verne Waterproof Boots
The best footwear is versatile, comfortable and weatherproof. Naturalize checks all those boxes with the Verne boot: a waterproof boot with almond toe, side zip and thermal lining to keep you warm. Reviewers also say they love the rubber outsole, which offers great traction and a modern look.
Best Sandal: Crocs Brooklyn Low Wedge
Crocs offers you a sandal that you can wear all day long. The low wedge is a platform that keeps the heel low as if you were wearing a very supportive flat. The shoe also has a foam insole and a deep heel cup. This style has nearly 1,300 five-star reviews, citing great comfort as a big plus.
Best Bride: Marion Parke Pippa Crystal Stiletto Mules
Marion Parke shoes are valued for comfort and style, and the new bridal collection is no exception. The brand was founded by a former foot surgeon who wanted to design luxurious high heels with an emphasis on comfort (the cushioning insoles have been patented twice). Because they are designed to increase stability, adapt to the curvature of the feet over time and reduce leg fatigue, there is no need to throw them on the dance floor. Pippa heels are available in both white and light blue, perfect shades for your wedding day.
Best Chunky: Swedish Platform Sandal Has-beens’ Miraj
Has-beens’ of Sweden makes slightly clunky casual shoes that you can’t help but love, and this thong clog style is no exception. The lining and sole are both made of leather. This softens and shapes the material of your foot as it wears, making it easier to walk in. It also has a rubber sole that guarantees a good grip when walking.
Best Heel: Sarah Flint Perfect Emma
This style is favored by A-listers like Amal Clooney and Alexa Chung for its low, chunky heel and many of Sarah Flint’s signature features, including a wide toe, arch support and cushioning. Reviewers say this style is “incredibly comfortable” and even rivals high-end luxury brands like Jimmy Choo.
Best Tire: Replace 27 Naturalize Abilene Pump
Laced, sculptural and super comfortable, these heels are from 27 Edit, Neutralizer’s new collection of premium styles. It has a full leather lining, extra padding and a rubber sole for shock absorption and grip. This pair is highly rated by reviewers for its classic design and comfort.
Best ballerina: Repetto Camille Ballerina
Repetto claimed bragging rights decades ago when Brigitte Bardot showcased the Cinderella style in the movie “…And God Created Woman”. But it has continued to produce stylish footwear over the years, expanding beyond ballet flats to pumps, lace-ups, boots and more. Our favorite style is this hybrid shoe, or a small step (1.25 inches, to be exact) above a regular ballerina. Made in France, this shoe is wrapped in leather, lined with cotton and has a rubber sole for waterproofing, perfect for fall, spring and early summer.
Best Cat: Avionic Josie Kitten Heel
Avionics’ Josie Kitten heel has a nearly 2-inch heel and a classic pointed toe with a toe wide enough to keep your feet comfortable. It is ideal for long days on your feet, such as work or other occasions that require hours of professional wear. Reviewers who mentioned issues like plantar fasciitis and bunions said these shoes were helpful.
Best Slides: Maryam Nassir Zadeh Agatha Sandal
Minimalism makes the shoe very versatile, while high-quality materials and careful design make it comfortable. Both are attractive and with so much support and versatility, this Maryam Nassir Zadeh shoe leaves nothing to be desired. Made in Italy, it features a round open toe, a leather upper, a fine grain calf leather lining and a 2 inch heel, all essential elements for a comfortable heel.