When I sat down to write a post on "the comfiest heels to shop," it was slim pickings. In my experience, no heel is comfortable until you break it in. So, in an attempt to find out if the style is even good for your health—and if so, what makes one pair more "comfortable" than another—I turned to an expert. The first question I posed to Tania Kapila, D.P.M., doctor of podiatric medicine at DeLoor Podiatry Associates, was, "Do comfy heels exist?" The short and depressing answer: no.
"There isn’t an ideal heel out there because they all cause some trauma to your feet," she says. (Think: corns or calluses, to start). "The key is moderation. You can have one night where you wear high heels, knowing you'll suffer the next day, because one night is so much better than wearing heels on a regular basis."
But what if moderation isn't an option? The majority of us save our five-inch strappy stiletto sandals for that occasional "going out" night, but still have to wear pumps during the day to our 9-to-5 jobs. Before you break out the bandaids or foot numbing cream, Kapila shared three quick tips for buying a comfy pair.
• Check the height of the heel. If it’s extremely tall, it will cause jamming of the toes and ball of the foot every time you walk. The best height heel height is between one and two inches.
• Pay attention to the shape of the toe box, whether it's pointy or curved. A pair that's sharply pointed will squeeze your foot more versus something more round.
• Avoid leather or hard materials like vinyl, which can increase perspiration and put you at risk for a fungal infection. Look for something with a breathable material, like nubuck or suede.
Regardless of the style your shopping for, there's one more factor that can have a massive impact on whether or not your shoes will be killing you as soon as you step outside the store: when you choose to buy your heels. "Feet tend to change in size throughout the day because they swell. It’s best to buy shoes in the afternoon or later in the day rather than in the morning. Whatever size shoe fits you better during that time frame is the size you should be buying," said Kapila.
Um, genius? So now that you're armed with all the facts, make a 3 p.m. date with your bestie to go shoe shopping. I selected some winning heel options based on the doctor's recommendations, below, to get y'all started.
Although this sandal has a three-inch heel, technological innovations make this shoe ultra comfortable. The sandal has a retention foam footbed to help absorb shock when you walk and a sole made from breathable foam lining. And the brand just so happens to be recommended by Dr. Kapila! Wear with jeans and a floral blouse.
Jimmy Choo, $725
These Jimmy Choo shoes are the epitome of a pretty, comfortable party heel. The heel height is only 2.5 inches (perfect!) while the sparkly silver-to-blue ombré glitter gives the shoe a fun, frosted coating (even better!). Give these babies a spin on the dance floor to capture everyone's attention.
The next time you're about to wear the same battered black ballet flats to work, stop. Swap them for an of-the-season mule like this backless pointy-toe pair from Schutz. Thanks to the 2.25-inch heel, it won't put too much stress on the ball of your foot or toes, so you can stand comfortably while you nail that presentation to the execs.
The 1.34-inch heel on this nude sandal is almost invisible thanks to the tapered wedge design. For Saturday nights when you know you'll end up hanging out at the bar until 3 a.m., wear these heels so your feet don't scream bloody murder. As for that hangover? You might need to take an Advil or two.
Naturalizer, around since 1927 is known for creating, "the shoe with the beautiful fit," so it's no surprise Dr. Kapila mentioned it as one of the brands that should be your new go-to. The beauty of this pink slingback is in its simplicity, which makes it a solid, no-fuss everyday shoe. Sign me up for this heel in multiple colors, please.