Women's Dress Shoes

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  • Comfortable flats for high arches

    (11 replies)

    I seem to have high arches and have been wearing walking shoes with a lot of support for comfort days and low-heels for work shoes.  I now have to walk a lot more at work than I used to and would like get comfortable but professional looking flats that I can wear with office dresses, slacks, or office skirts in the summer.  Everything I tried to date was not comfortable and did not provide the right support to the arch area.  I tried Rothy's that everyone is recommending and did not find them comfortable.  I prefer leather shoes though can make non-leather work too if breathable and looks good.  I would appreciate any recommendations for shoes to try.  

    I have found success with Born and Clarks. I don't have high arches, but I pronate, so need the support. And in general, I find ballet flats are terrible and try to look for an oxford or mary jane style that has more structure to it. Also: these pedag arches are nice, you can velcro them in and switch between shoes, they'll add arch support without the bulk. 

    I recommend Bass and Rockport. Both have outlet stores in Vacaville. These are the only shoes I have worn for years. Good support, comfortable, and relatively stylish.

    Vionics have good arch support  https://www.vionicshoes.com/womens-shoes

    Also, have you looked into getting custom made orthotics that you can slip into your shoes. 

    I also have high arches and have gone through my share of shoe failures. Two of the best brands I’ve found are :

    L’amour des Pieds-carried at Shoes on Solano. They have some low wedge type flats that are my most comfortable shoes. Unfortunately they are expensive. 

    Tamaris-some on Zappos and some department stores(Nordstrom, Macys).

    i look online periodically to see if there are any good new styles or sales on these brands.

    i personally find that a slight heel (1”) is more comfortable than a flat shoe when you have high arches.

    good luck and happy walking!

    Might be worthwhile to go to see Cyrus at Next Step in Albany. He specializes in orthotics but also has a very small but well curated selection of shoes that he sells.

    Show him your feet, tell him what you are looking for. I've purchased some great shoes there that are very supportive for my high arches and bad bad knees ...

    Run, walk, or hobble to the Berkeley Walk Shop. They have whatever is available for walkable shoes in whatever style you need. I went there and they helped me find a brand and style I never would have considered on my own, but now is my go to commute/work/city shoe.  I happily pay their prices because they are super knowledgeable and I always get what works for me - no more gently worn donations!

    Have you looked into insoles? Birkenstock makes a 3/4 insole that works well for my high arches. Superfeet has good insoles too, but they're full-length so they take up more room in the shoe. This might allow you to adapt your current shoes rather than get new ones? 

    I have high arches and wear Birkenstock sandals around the house, Brooks running shoes for the gym, and Birkenstock Mary Jane's style for shopping or dress (this season's shoe is a more sleeker style than usual for Birkenstock).  For my boots and shoe brands that don't have much arch support, I use the inlay inserts (I have bought these at the Elmwood Village Shoe Store in Berkeley) that just sit either on top or under the insole. For dates check out Dansko shoes.

    Josef Seibel is my go-to brand. The Walk Shop carries them.

    El Naturalistas.  I'm on my second pair of Yggrasil boots and I wear them like sneakers in the winter.  Can walk for miles.  Not sure where you can get them in a shop, I by them at Zappos or Ebay.  Yggrasil is the best model for me because of the sole. They come in boots, clogs, ugly (IMHO) mary janes, and sandals.


    I have some Arcopedico ballet flats that I have taken on trips to Europe when I needed to look a little more dressed up but still be able to walk a lot.  They have very good arch support and a thick sole with slightly elevated heel.  They are lycra and stretchy. I also have a pair of Arcopedico booties, which look like leather but aren't. They are great for travel because they can be scrunched down into a small ball, are lightweight, waterproof, and you can walk in them. And you can wash them in the washing machine! I got them at Village Shoes in Elmwood but Zappos has them too.

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Favorite shoes have worn out - custom made?

June 2015

Is there a place in the bay area I can take my favorite worn out women's elegant mary jane leather pumps and have them make me a second pair?

I've worn these shoes practically every day for 4 years with my business skirts, dressy skirts and I have just about worn them out. They are beyond resoling and redying. They are no longer made by the manufacturer and I can't find anything similar in stores. I'm picky about my pumps because one of my legs is shorter than the other so most women's shoes make my hip ache all day. This is the only pair that does not.

Really hoping I can find someone local to make me another pair

I don't know about custom made shoes but I do know about/have experienced different length legs and persistent pain. Mine was solved by seeing Cyrus at Next Step in Albany, who solved the length issue with off the shelf sole pads in the shorter leg (in shoes that can accommodate pads etc) He also has a reasonable, although not enormous, selection of shoes good luck finally walking even

I sympathize having worn out shoes which are the only comfortable ones. While I don't know a custom shoe-maker, I recently had luck going on Ebay and finding exact replacements for my more than 4 year-old shoes in very slightly used condition, like next-to-new. I ordered them and was thrilled. Keep checking Ebay--you'll never know what you will find! Difficult-to-fit feet

Comfortable dress shoes

June 2007

I need some well made women's dress shoes that I can wear skirts or pants with. heels are OK but not more than 2 inches for dancing at events. I am willing to pay for good shoes but want them to last and be pretty comfortable. I have had shoes in the past like this so I know they exist, just don't know where to go and don't have time to shop around. shoe challenged

You must check out Zappos! http://www.zappos.com

The selection is fantastic. Also, you can select the type of shoe you want (e.g., dress/comfort or dress sandal), then narrow the selection down to size, width, color, and heel height. I buy almost all my shoes from them now. Their customer service is extremely good. I had to buy special occasion shoes last year and ordered about 10 pairs from Zappos because I hadn't settled on my dress yet. It was great to be able to try on various shoes at home with the dresses and see what looked best. They credit their returns extremely quickly, too. I just dropped off a box at the UPS store late last week and I already have the credit on my card.

Many people are wary of buying shoes online, but Zappos has free shipping and returns, so you can order as many sizes and styles as you want and just return the ones you don't want. I always get my shoes within a day or two of ordering. And for returns, you just go to the website, check the shoes you want to return, print a return form, print either a UPS or US Postal Service return label, and drop off the box (without waiting in line because it is prepaid). Huge Zappos Fan

Easy Spirit shoes are my fave for comfortable dress shoes. Available at department stores and they also have their own stores in many local malls. comfy toes

Danskos has great dress shoes that are super comfortable (they are not cheap -- they're priced at over $100). You can find a good variety at either Walk Shop in Berkeley or next to the Orchid Florist on Solano. Dansko Fan

Squishy comfortable shoes to wear with skirts

Feb 2007

A few years ago I found out that the reason my feet hurt is that the fatty pads of my feet have diminished, and that my sesamoid bones (the balls of my feet) have hairline fractures in them. To feel comfortable, I wear my orthotics in my Spira tennis shoes. But I'm so tired of wearing tennis shoes! I miss wearing skirts. Does anyone have any recommendations for squishy, comfortable shoes? I have just ordered some Crocs, so I will begin my experimentation there. I really need a lot of padding. I'd love to hear what others in a similar situation have done. jenny

Danskos are pretty comfortable. They sell them at Shoes on Solano. Good luck!

Dressy/comfortable shoes..do they exist?

October 2006

Thanks to everyone who answered my post about the ''Black Tie'' wedding in Brooklyn NY. VERY HELPFUL. Now, part two.... My dress is mid calf length, black and grey swishy kind of. Really nice, and dressy. I need black dressy shoes that are COMFORTABLE. Does this exist? I wear size 8 med but I can't do really pointy shoes. My feet are slightly wider than the average foot. I also don't want really high heels or open toe. A small heel would be OK. Any recs. on dressy and comfy shoes would be appreciated. Thanks party girl

My criteria for any pair of shoes I buy is that I should be able to run in them comfortably if need be and walk as long as I want without noticing them. There is one brand of dressy shoes I love: Taryn Rose. They have great style and they're like air to walk on. They're really expensive retail (around $300) but if you try some on in the store and you figure out your size (Nordstrom carries them) you can often find them on eBay at a fraction of that. You can see their collection online at Tarynrose.com anon

Try Aerosoles or Easy Spirit. Both have separate stores in malls and are available in bigger dept stores Dance Till U Drop

I gave up uncomfortable pointy shoes ages ago and now wear stylish comfortable shoes only - here are the three shops I go to most often: The Walk Shop & Earthly Goods - both on Vine up from Shattuck and Feet of Dreams on Solano at Colusa down from La Farine bakery. They are out there! Good luck. Keley

i really like dansko clogs. they have some dressy shoes that don't look like clogs but are unbelivably comfortable. try danskooutlet.com in the casual secion. they even are starting to make some shoes with a heel to them. dansko.com has more variety anon

I don't have a recommendation on a specific pair of shoes, but have you ever shopped at zappos.com? This is a great website - they've got tons of shoes, and offer free shipping and free returns. I just had to buy some bridesmaid shoes. The bride requested that we were strappy heels, and since I never wear heels, I wanted something comfortable. So I looked at every pair on zappos.com and read all of the reviews, and bought a couple of pairs based on what other people said. The shoes I ended up wearing were perfect, and I simply returned the pair I didn't pick. A big zappos.com fan

you can do a detailed search on www.zappos.com (2'' pump, for example).

Sure, it exists! Go to zappos.com or nordstrom.com and search for flat or low heel dress shoes in the ''comfort'' category. You may want to buy something that comes in a C or D width. Look for a T-strap, mary jane or other ''strappy'' style, which can look very dressy without having a ridiculous heel or ''pizza toes'' Won't Wear Uncomfortable Shoes

Oh yes, there are. I refuse to wear anything but! B\xf8rn shoes are great, as are Dansko (they aren't all clogs), Birkenstock makes some amazing styles... A Step Forward in Piedmont carries B\xf8rn and Dansko There is a Birkenstock store on College in Oakland Elmwood Village Shoes at 2915 College Ave, Berkeley has a good selection of stylish & comfy shoes http://www.bornshoes.com/ http://www.dansko.com/Our_Products/Women's/Shoes.aspx?PageID=All http://comfortableshoes.com/ good luck! monica