There’s no such thing as too much comfortable-shoe content, in our opinion. Sneakers may be both comfy and attractive, but things get a little more complicated from there because there’s a fine line between undesirable and hideous.
So to find the best comfy and not-offensive-looking shoes out there, we asked 21 cool women who spend most of the day on their feet — including servers, chefs, nurses, flight attendants, hairstylists, protesters, photographers, real estate agents, and cleaners — about the shoes they wear. The majority of their time on their feet, including servers, chefs, nurses, flight attendants, hairstylists, protesters, photographers, real estate agents, and cleaners about the shoes they wear. We acknowledge that some of their selections aren’t the most fashionable or current, but keep in mind that the now-ugly-cool Dansko clog was already a thing long before it became a hipster ceramist’s shoe. So, who can truly predict what’s next? All we know is that if you want to have pain-free back and blister-free feet in the future, you’ll find the shoes on this list to assist you.
Best comfortable heels
Clarks Maritsa Lara Sand Suede
Clarks Kaylin Sling Black Suede
“I’m telling you, anything, literally anything from Clarks that I’ve put on my feet, I’m like, Oh, yeah. I’m willing to pay more for them because I know that they’ll be comfortable,” says Cassady Currier, a hairstylist at Pembly Joon. (This isn’t the first time she’s done this: It’s not unusual for a woman who has a high-heel phobia to be alone.) And according to Currier, these shoes (not wedges) are her favorites since they keep her feet comfortable for four to six hours. Currier appreciates Clarks because instead of “kind-of-grandma heels” or wedges, they offer a choice of “relatively cute” designs. The Kaylin’s are a favorite because they “appear to be booties but have a sandal for your toes to show through,” she explains.
Clarks Women’s Emslie Lulin Mary Jane
According to Crystal Roseberry, a flight attendant in her industry generally wears two pairs of shoes at work. Terminal shoes are usually attractive heels worn by flight personnel from when they arrive at the airport until they’re airborne, while in-flight shoes are often unappealing but practical. “These Clarks mary janes — which she has several pairs of — are ‘the best of both worlds,'” according to Roseberry: “comfortable enough to wear all day long while still being fairly attractive.” They’re her “hands-down favorite,” she claims. These shoes are very comfortable, according to Sandra Hinton, who has been a flight attendant for 42 years. The “rounded toe,” cushioning, and “a little bit of platform” as well as the “low heel” make them so.
Dansko Women’s Sam Ankle-Strap Clog
“I’m having trouble finding something helpful that still looks young and trendy,” says Tess Parker, a waitress. The first pair of shoes that met Tess’ criteria for being both supportive and cool-looking were the Dansko Ankle-Strap Clogs, which she refers to as “a solid-gold tip” for people. The cushioned bottoms and the “slight yet forgiving platform” allow these shoes to be so pleasant, according to Parker, who adds, “Our work does a lot of damage to our footwear. However, these are really long-lasting.”
Pashion D’Orsay Convertible Heel
TikTok’s “the NYC Agent,” Realtor Madison Sutton, a.k.a. “the NYC Agent,” regularly hits 20,000 steps each day while traveling about 60 flights of often-problematic stairs when showcasing apartments on TikTok. She prefers these futuristic heels from Shark Tank alum Haley Pavone, which convert into flats in less than 30 seconds because her work demands her to be formal during appointments but nimble on the way there. She adds, “I can do it while standing up, which is kind of interesting.” You simply press the heel, and it comes off. And we know what you’re thinking, but no: “They come with a dustbag, so you don’t have to put the dirty part of your shoe back in your handbag.”
Best comfortable flats
Easy Spirit Gessica Ballet Flats
Nurse Sarah Edeltuch told us she spends most of her days in sneakers. But for something a little more polished, Edeltuch puts on the Easy Spirit Getcity flats, which she says are just as comfortable. “Easy Spirit mostly makes grandma shoes, but this is the one pair that doesn’t look like it’s for grandmas,” she says. “They feel like you’re walking on supportive pillows. I get so many compliments when I wear them to work.” Easy Spirit no longer sells the Getcity flats, but they’re built on the same base as these Jessica Ballet Flats, which are available for $70.
Fila Women’s Kimber Slip Resistant Shoe
Dr. Scholl’s Kimber Flats
“I’ve had so many flats,” says flight attendant Heather Kovarik. She’s tried out a lot of designs that weren’t effective, and she eventually settled on two secure pairs from Dr. Scholl’s and Fila after trying out numerous types that didn’t work. “Their soles have traction, so you’re less likely to slip, and they’ve got a lot of cushion inside,” says Kovarik of both. “Nothing is completely comfortable after an 18-hour day,” she adds. The answer was “these two shoes,” which she thought were the greatest of all the ones she’d tried.
Clarks Women’s Kinzie Light Skimmer
Flight attendant Roseberry’s favorite comfy flats are this pair from Clarks, which she says are “well made and cute, provide good support, and last forever.” She wears them during long shifts in the air and says they keep her feet “feeling good all day.”
Best comfortable clogs
Dansko Professional Clogs
Merica Lee, denim designer, and maîtresse d’ at Frenchette, spends a lot of time running between her factory in Brooklyn, the Garment District in Manhattan, and the restaurant in Tribeca. That’s why she looks for shoes that allow her to “easily bop around between boroughs but are cute enough to wear to work.” She calls Dankso clogs “a standard for restaurant folks,” as well as “one of the most comfortable pair of shoes you can own.” Lee opts for an all-white pair, which she says feels more stylish and unexpected than the classic black. “From running around the city all morning to standing for eight hours straight behind the host stand, I have absolutely no problems wearing them all day.” Flannery Klette-Kolton and Lauren Gerrie, who spend a lot of their time standing in commercial kitchens as the co-founders of catering company Big Little Get Together, also love Dansko clogs. And author Stephanie Danler told us she’s been wearing her “clunky but kitschy” Dansko clogs since she got her first restaurant job at 15.
Birkenstock Professional Unisex Profi Birki Slip Resistant Work Shoe
The “go-to shoe” of Jamie Hogg, the chef de cuisine at the renowned Al Buco Alimentari restaurant in London’s Covent Garden, is a simple pair of Birkenstock Birki sandals. “They’re nonslip, low-key, last at least two years, and have a replaceable inner sole. If your boots are beginning to wear out, you may replace the comfortable sole rather than purchasing a second pair.
Crocs Unisex Bistro Pro Clog
Crocs are not the most fashionable pair on this list, but they’ll do the trick for an even more affordable — and just as comfy! — clog. Chloe Coscarelli, creator of By Chloe restaurant chain, wears them at work and at home because “they’re really comfortable and have just enough elevation to encourage good posture.”
Crocs Classic Realtree V2
If you want to go all out with the Croc aesthetic and mix and match colors and designs, Lily Marotta — comedian, cleaner, and co-host of the podcast Celebrity Book Club —After she bought this camo pair at an outlet mall last year, a woman from Texas claims they “changed my life, especially at work.” “After a long, tiring day of cleaning, my legs are tired, and my back hurts — but when Crocs came on the scene, not only am I less sore but the transition from bathroom cleaning to clubbing is effortless,” she adds. They’re Jibbitz-friendly as well.
Crocs Bae Platform
Photographer Rochelle Brock likes Crocs, and she particularly enjoys the Platform Clog, which is “a little more difficult and structured,” she explains. The whole shoe is made of rubber, and they slip on and off with ease, making them ideal for when I’m in the studio setting up or getting some work done.” The platforms are available in the same vibrant hues as Crocs, and Brock adds decorations to hers.
Best comfortable boots
Clarks Clarkdale Arlo Black Suede
“I feel like boots, no matter what sort of boots you pick, you have to break them in; it’s as if they need to be broken in for a few weeks or a month before you’re like, Okay, these are my boots.” According to Currier. Out of all of the boots she recommends, these are the ones that take the shortest amount of time to break in. She also thinks they’re attractive. “As a hairstylist, I have to look presentable and seem like I know something about fashion,” she says. Currier says so she tries “to find shoes that are at least ranking a level 7 out of 10 that I can wear and be comfortable in and still look cute.”
Dr. Martens Chelsea Boot
Dr. Martens Chelsea Boots are a comfortable yet effective method to walk on ice in New York City during the winter months, according to Gerrie. Lee appreciates them: “By day, I can stomp around the factory floor in them, but they’re fashionable enough to go out with Frenchette at night.” Dr. Martens boots are “really supportive and last for a long time,” according to Lee. And the air-cushioned sole is so comfortable that you’ll never want to take them off, she vows. The notoriously hard leather might take a month or two to break in, but it’s well worth the effort. Jikaiah, who works at Treehouse Social Club, says that while her coworkers are devotees of Danskos and Crocs, she appreciates how Docs supports her ankles for extended days on the job. “I’ve had the same pair of classic black sneakers for two years, and I just purchased a new pair in brown.”
Dr. Martens 1460 Slip Resistant Steel Toe Boots
Currier loves lace-up combat boots like these Dr. Martens. She tells us the air-cushioned sole is extremely comfy, and she appreciates that they’re slip-resistant. “There’s water on the floor when I’m ringing my clients’ hair out,” she adds. “I’ve done this for a while, so I’ll know not to slip in it, but it’s good to know that if I need to walk through quickly or if I’m forced to, I won’t fall and die.”
Blundstone Thermal Series
These boots are Adina Halpern’s preferred footwear since they’re “very durable” and “can transition from the kitchen to my daily life.” They’re waterproof, slip-resistant, and provide more ankle support than clogs or slides, which is critical in a fast commercial kitchen. Halpern even put their slip resistance to the test when she walked “around a butcher shop where the floor was completely covered in beef fat and never slipped.” Plus, these have sheepskin lining that provides extra comfort and coziness during long stints of standing.
Frye Veronica Combat Boots
“Not only are they super-durable, but the soft leather makes them very comfortable when I’m on my feet for hours,” Helene Henderson, the founder of the Malibu Farm restaurants, says of the Frye Veronica Combat Boots. Beyond feeling good, these are extremely versatile and easy to pair with work or weekend outfits.
Red Wing Heritage Clara Boot
“I want to be comfortable, but at the same time, I need to look nice and cool,” explains Chelsey Pickthorn, master stylist and founder of Pickthorn Salon. “I work 14 hours on my feet every day, so I need to be comfy while looking nice and cool.” When the weather cools, her preferred way to keep her feet comfy but looking nice is by pulling on these Red Wing boots. “They are the most sturdy and soft and comfortable work boot.” Pickthorn loves them so much, she has her eye on a second pair in brown.
Best comfortable sneakers
New Balance Fresh Foam Cruzv1 Reissue
Erin Patrice O’Brien, a photographer, has been known to work 15 consecutive hours on her feet while shooting. “It’s critical to be able to get into really tiny places, crawl around on the floor, or carry heavy things for lengthy periods of time,” says O’Brien. That isn’t the case with these Cruzv1She has been focused on comfort rather than appearance since she had to deal with plantar fasciitis five years ago, despite the fact that she doesn’t care for the style of the shoes. The midsole of these New Balance shoes is cushioned with Fresh Foam by New Balance, which she claims makes all the difference. “After I started wearing memory foam, I couldn’t return to hard shoes or other brands.” She picks these as her favorites within the New Balance line. “I tried them on at Macy’s in Downtown Brooklyn, and they were the most comfortable,” she says. She still adds Dr. Scholl’s insoles to all of her shoes for added support, even though they are extremely comfy.
Nike Air Force 1 ’07 Sneaker
Gen-Zers adore Air Force 1s, which makes them a wonderful gift for any teen girl. Three mature women have named it their favorite white sneaker, too. The universal appeal of the AF1s’ comfort is debatable, although Strategist writer Chloe Anello adores them — especially for her challenging-to-shop-for feet. “I have big feet, so when I try on a lot of shoes, the arch is in the incorrect place and they’re not comfortable,” she adds. “Air Force 1s are comfortable to wear all day, every day. I’ve worn them on six-mile treks before, and they’ve been as comfy as my APL running sneakers.”
New Balance 990v5
New Balances are trendy dad shoes, but writer Tembe Denton-Hurst believes they’re classics. “New Balancers are a rite of passage for a DMV girl like me,” she explains. “They’re a standard piece of footwear, similar to the AF1 in New York City.” They also have a lot of personality, according to her. She’s worn them for 12 hours at a stretch and worked out in them without complaint. Even though they don’t necessarily go with everything, she tries to make it work. “I toss them on with jeans, biker shorts, and dresses — they’re stylish in a normcore sort of way and remind everyone that the pandemic has turned me into a comfy-footwear evangelist,” she says. “They make everything more pleasant and are the one shoe I absolutely have to have with me no matter where I go.”
Fila Women’s Disruptor Premium 2 Sneaker
With her bright red hair, Brock likes to call attention to herself. She praises sneakers for their versatility and practicality. She looks for shoes that are comfortable, stylish and can be dressed up or down depending on the job. These Filas, which she has in a gorgeous pink floral design that is only available on resale sites, are ideal for working long hours. “They have a very pleasant feel to them.” Plus, they slip on and off easily, which she says made them great for travel pre-pandemic. “I’ve traveled from New York to England and Egypt with them.”
Adidas Ultraboost 20 Shoes
“The Ultraboosts are fantastic Adidas sneakers for casual wear,” Currier adds. “They’re very comfortable, simple to put on, and go with a wide range of outfits since they come in so many colors.” These are designed for runners, which is an important consideration for Brittany Libman, who worked as an Amazon warehouse employee for ten hours a day. “I prefer to wear shoes that are specifically designed for activewear, such as running shoes,” she says. “My shoes were the Adidas running-style sneakers because they were both cushioning and nonslip,” she said while working on hard floors near a lot of equipment.
Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Core Hi
Gerrie and the bartender, Pam Wiznitzer, both claim that Converse’s Chuck Taylor All Star sneakers (a favorite among Strategist employees) are as comfy as they are iconic. “With more cushioning within, elastic around the tongue, laces (to keep the fit tight), and stronger traction on the floor, these have become my new work shoe as well as ones I can walk all over New York City in,” Wiznitzer tells us. In fact, Garrie — who prefers canvas or leather high-tops — thinks her Converse is her “most tried-and-true footwear.” Brock also adores the high-tops for their extra roominess. “When I have to walk a lot or stand for a long time, they are really comfy, “I have a few in several hues, and I can mix and match my style while still looking stylish and adorable on set.”
Clarks Un Maui Lace White Leather
She suggests these Clarks if your feet are too broad for Converse, as Currier’s or you typically have difficulty finding tennis-style sneakers. Her big feet fit easily into them, and they’re leather, which is always a plus “which is great because they’re easily wiped,” she adds. “For me, doing hair color all day if something gets on my shoes is a tragedy, so it’s great to be able to just wipe them off and not worry about it.”
Keds Triple Kick Canvas
“Cushion and arch support are major keys,” says Nina Sarhan, a Washington, D.C.–based organizer and protester who sometimes walks for hours during protests. “I walked 13 miles on 395 a few weeks ago with a group of Black Lives Matter protesters, shutting down a major highway for a few hours. I probably walked for six hours that night starting at five and ending around midnight,” all in these platform Keds. “Myself find that it really offers extra support and cushion especially for long walks,” Sarhan says of the platform. “Keds also has sturdy construction, so they’re great for miles on the roads back and forth through Washington, D.C.” She thinks the rubber soles help absorb the shock of each step, and they keep her going in inclement weather. “Rain doesn’t stop the protests, so I need the shoes I wear to not weigh down or get gross in the rain,” she explains. “And they need to have traction so I don’t slip on crosswalks where the road can get slippery in the rain.”
Nike Roshe One
Nike makes the most comfy shoes to wear while serving drinks behind the bar, according to Yuki Izumi, manager and signature barista at Hi-Collar café. owing to their supportive arches and comfortable fit. Although they are sports shoes, her favorite Roshe Ones appear to be less athletic than other gym footwear.
Nike Air Max 270
When she’s not wearing clogs or boots, Lee dons her “sleek and modern-looking” Nike Air Max 270s, which she describes as feeling like walking on “sponges.” She says they look good with everything from jeans and jumpsuits to dresses and trousers, but most importantly, they feel great.”
Best comfortable sandals
OOfos Women’s OOlala Sandals
O’Brien found OOfos sandals in a Google search for the best shoes for people with plantar fasciitis, and they’ve become her go-to shoes for summer. “Those are super-comfortable, and they’re aerodynamic for the feet,” she says. They have a foam base, just like her favorite New Balance sneakers, and the OOfoam is said to absorb 37 percent more impact than traditional footwear does.
Teva Women’s Original Universal Sandal
While Gerrie got her to start working in professional kitchens, she now spends a lot of time cooking on sailing boats and at yoga retreats in more tropical locations. If you’re looking for comfy footwear for warmer weather, she swears by Teva’s Universal Sandals, telling us they not only feel good but are super-cute and waterproof to boot. The brand is a favorite of actress Sasheer Zamata, who included the wedge version of the Universal Sandal on her list of things she can’t live without. “I feel like I can walk forever in them,” she said. Strategist editor Anthony Rotunno loves Tevas, too; he is such a fan, he recently became the proud owner of a third pair. The Universal Sandal also came recommended by trail guides when we asked them about the best hiking sandals (which by default need to be comfortable enough to get you through whatever trek you’re on).
Eileen Fisher Sport Platform Sandal
For a sportier-looking sandal, Pickthorn suggests this pair from Eileen Fisher, which she says are “incredibly sturdy for walking and working” because of their thick straps and springy platform.
Clarks Botanic Strap Black Suede
Currier loves a chunky sandal in the summertime. “I’m 100 percent a firm believer that a platform takes the pressure off of your knees,” she says, and the platforms on these suede sandals from Clarks come in at about two inches tall.
Dr. Martens Vegan Blaire
Even though these sandals have more straps than the other sandals on our list, Currier thinks these Dr. Martens “are even slightly more comfortable than the Clarks.” They have the same squishy sole as the Dr. Martens boots she picked above and are made out of vegan leather, so “they stretch out pretty nicely.”
Best comfortable socks and liners
Milano Arch-Support Massage Socks
Relaxife Toe Topper Liner Socks
A common misconception about comfy footwear, Sutton says, is that high heels, fast-fashion finds, and fussy designer brands are a no-go. But she has found that the right pair of padded socks can go a long way toward reducing pavement impact and redistributing weight while walking. Adding these Milano ballerina socks to a cheap pair of Amazon sandals? “It literally transformed a $30 pair of shoes into $80 shoes in quality.” And the no-show design of Relaxife’s liner socks means you can wear them with your open-toed heels while the balls, arches, and heels of your feet secretly relax into the padding. “It completely blends in, and they come in all different skin tones as well as a traditional jet-black sock.”