Thursday, 09 March 2017
The Dressing Well Blog
Carolyn Lieberman

Comfortable Shoes for Uncomfortable Feet

By Dressing Well Stylist Carolyn Lieberman

Over the years, the number one style issue that the majority of my clients ask for help solving is finding comfortable shoes that are still attractive. Arthritis, bunions and other ailments, along with simply wearing heels that are too high for too long, are typically cited as the causes for all this foot (and shoe!) angst.

With so many fabulous comfort shoes available on the market these days, you really don’t have to sacrifice style for comfort. By considering these 4 ideas, you’ll be jumping for joy, possibly in a pair of heels, nonetheless!

Editor's Note: For the purpose of this blog post, we are giving tips for dress shoes and sandals as opposed to sneakers and other very casual shoes and sandals – enjoy!

#1 Feet First.
If you have difficulty finding shoes and often leave the mall empty-handed after a day of shopping, consider purchasing your shoes before your clothing. Enter the shoe department well-fed, wide awake and ready to try, try, and try again. Walk on the carpet and the hard floor, and have the socks and hose (or bare foot) that you will be wearing with each pair readily available. Once you find a fabulous, comfortable pair, the hardest part of your shopping trip will be complete. Consider buying other styles and colors from the same manufacturer as a way to leverage your time and energy. Record sizes and brands that work for your feet to be able to shop online more effectively too.

#2 The Wedge: A Woman’s Best Friend.
The wedge shoe is a great way to add height without sacrificing comfort. It’s updated, stylish, and gives you the confidence to know you can walk on stable ground. There are many wedge heel height options available today, in many different colors and fabrics, and you will see them from winter boots to summer sandals and everything in between. They truly can take your wardrobe to new heights comfortably.

#3 Stylish, Comfortable Shoes Don’t Have to Break the Bank.
Many people think to have comfort, you need to spend a lot of money. It’s true that many high-end shoes are constructed well and give the support needed for a day on your feet. Be assured, however, there are extremely comfortable shoes at all price points. Anne Klein Flex, Ecco, and Naturalizer, among others, are all reasonably priced and have stylish options. These are the brands I personally wear when I’m shopping with clients. I still want to be fashionable, but a limping stylist is not a helpful or happy stylist! Also, for me (like many of my clients), wearing sneakers and other overly casual shoes daily is not an option.

#4 Size (Along with Fabric & Padding) Makes a Difference.
I have found some fabrics are better than others when dealing with foot issues. If you find a shoe with a lot of stretch, you will be surprised how it will conform to your feet, widening in areas where you need it. Conversely, a shoe that’s not very forgiving is a patent leather. They are less likely to stretch and may not give you the comfort you need. Another option for comfort is going up in size or trying a wider shoe. Since many people have one foot larger than the other, this is key in finding a comfortable pair. With the many padding options available, either under the ball of the foot or by the heel, a shoe can be fitted so that you can walk with ease.


Last Word for the Guys
As for women’s shoes, men’s comfort shoes come in many price points. Clark’s, Rockport and Born are all stylish and affordable and have become my “go to” brands for my male clients needing help in this area. No matter their price, keep all your shoes clean and buffed and they will last you a few seasons.

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Carolyn Lieberman

Warm, energetic and personable, Carolyn is able to mix her love of fashion with her desire to help people reach their personal best. Her ability to quickly connect with her clients, discover their goals and suggest just the right clothes and accessories to complement their lifestyles, personal tastes and professional needs has quickly become her trademark.

Learn more about Carolyn »

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Pauline Gehnrich 2017-03-10 09:56

Having recently realized I have foot issues, I was referred to a certified "pedorthist" who works at a good quality shoe store in my town. He has been able to recommend work shoes, heels, flip flops that I can stand in all day. For example, I needed to have a shoe with a rigid sole and a high arch. He also helped me identify which sneakers have a high toe box....
These are things just trying on shoes in a store won't help you with.

Peg Cronin 2017-03-10 10:58

Any chance you could share his /her name and contact email?
Thank you

Carolyn Lieberman 2017-03-11 17:43

I'm glad you've had great success. Thanks for commenting.


SAJohnstone 2017-03-10 11:18

+1 on the comfort of wedges! Cole Haan (not cheap, but not overly expensive for the quality) has some incredible wedges that can be worn all day long, and look very professional.

Mary McCormick 2017-03-10 12:32

Thanks for all the brand info, definitely will do some further research. I've bought several pairs of shoes in my search for something supportive, comfortable & cute that I can wear for running errands that aren't athletic. It seems my walking shoes (Brooks) are the only ones that do everything but I want an alternative. While you might think that shouldn't be too difficult, I find that many shoes that might fit my needs aren't stylish or are too clunky looking in my size. Wouldn't it be lovely if shoe designers thought about how that shoe, that is so cute in size 7, can still be attractive in a size 10.5?

Carolyn Lieberman 2017-03-11 17:41

My clients with larger feet still find beautiful shoes that look great and are confortable. Check out the shoe departments in Nordstrom and Lord & Taylor. Thanks for commenting.


Phyllis 2017-03-10 16:30

I have worn Vionic shoes for years, with before/after knee replacement. They are fashionable and extremely comfortable. Arch support is amazing! Buy at or Not cheap, but well worth the money.

Theresa 2017-03-10 17:41

Thank you for a great article. Can you tell me the shoe name/manufacturer for the wedge shoe that is second on your email page. It does not show up in your blog.

SabinaG 2017-03-10 18:46

Hi Theresa, I'm the Dressing Well webmaster and hopefully I can help you find that shoe! If you take another look at the photos for tip #2, you should see a little arrow on the right that will allow you to scroll to additional selections when you click on it. I believe the one you're looking for is the Naturalizer "Brelynn" Slip On for $88.95. (You can click on any shoe to be brought to the retailer's website.)

If you don't see the arrow, here's a direct link for that shoe:

Let me know if I got the wrong shoe or if you need additional help!

Theresa 2017-03-11 19:01

Thank you for the information Sabina!

SabinaG 2017-03-12 12:18

My pleasure, Theresa--happy shopping!

Judy Massey 2017-03-11 13:51

Thanks for the tips. My podiatrist had me buy special insoles that fit great in sneakers, clogs and boots. when I shop for something more business like or dressier I need to look for removable insoles so I can switch out for the ones that help my arch issue. Very hard to find.

Carolyn Lieberman 2017-03-11 17:38

Glad to hear your inserts are helping! Thanks for commenting.


Aless 2017-03-11 20:42

It's great to see this problem addressed as a fashion issue, especially for mature women.I have always adored shoes......
I have developed neuromas at the base of ALL toes because of psoriatic arthritis(diagnosed by a podiatrist). This finally solved my questions (over many many years) directed at doctors as to why wearing even 2" heels caused excruciating pain. The full pressure of my foot sliding forwards onto the neuroma area was the problem.
Quite by chance, when looking for new sandals, a shop assistant (about my age- 60+) suggested I try a platform sandal. I said 'No thanks!'(so 70s!) She persisted and I gave in!! Thank goodness I did! For the first time I was comfortable in a 'high' shoe.I went on to buy a second pair a year later that were made on the same last as the first pair.The true test was wearing them to a wedding where I had to walk a VERY long way from church to reception (don't ask!!) and then stand chatting, dancing etc. Absolutely no problems!! Platforms are hard to find, but I keep my eyes open every time I pass a shoe shop. :-)

Susan R 2018-03-01 18:30

Last year when I searched for these shoes, they all were sold out. Can you re-do this article with current shoes for 2018? Thank you!

Carolyn Lieberman 2018-03-01 21:18

Hi Susan,
Online stock is notoriously unpredictable, it’s amazing how quickly items sell out! We’ll see about revisiting footwear in future articles, but in the meantime we’d recommend shopping from any of these brands:
- Taryn Rose (,
- AGL (,
- Anne Klein iFlex (,
- Ecco (, or
- Naturalizer (
There should be plenty of wedge heels and fabric styles to choose from, and of course, be sure to order up those spring styles asap before they’re gone again!

Good luck!


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