When did comfort and style become mutually exclusive? I like to believe in the idea that I can be sassy and stylish without wobbling under the pressure of shoes that are too tight, too high or too pointed…Am I crazy to believe that? As I continue to attend more events I grow tired of rolling my eyes at a fly pair of shoes because I know within the first hour my feet are going to be in utter agony.
But with a new year comes new epiphanies and I have decided to become more comfort conscious when determining my “flyest” shoe game. However, much of what creates a supportive shoe might not always produce an attractive shoe. But thank the heavens we are no longer limited to boots or sneakers, many designers are now incorporating comfortable shoes in their looks.
And let’s be real, consistent and constant wearing of high heels on a daily basis takes a severe toll on your feet, knees, hips, and back over time, which makes it especially critical for women to be able to find stylish, comfortable shoes. So I wanted to give a couple of pointers to the everyday woman that just wants to look nice and stroll with comfort, care and confidence. Constant and consistent wearers of high heels should be especially aware here are some key points for good, quality shoes :
• Provide support and absorb shock as we walk to pad our weight against the hard ground
• Keep arches from collapsing, preserving our posture and body alignment
• Consist of a 1 – 2 inch height, a supportive arch, built up sides and padding at the ball joints at the front of the foot
• Kitten heels, ballet flats, or flip flops aren’t good for you if they don’t offer support or a well-built structure
• High-heels aren’t meant to be worn for long periods of time. The structure places all of your body weight on the front of the foot rather than distributing it evenly throughout the entire sole
• Consider custom orthotics or inserts for troubled areas.
And don’t underestimate the impact of a shoe pad. If you've found a pair of shoes that you love but are worried about how comfortable they will be, remember that there are a number of foot and toe cushions you can use to protect your feet, ie ball-of-foot cushions and gel toe protectors are very helpful to women who wear heels all day. Toe separators are great if you suffer from foot pain and aches; they stretch out your foot and toe muscles for a few minutes each day.
And what kind of stylist would I be if I didn’t offer a few of some of my favorite brands that offer style and comfort at various price points:
• Cole Haan
Very solid reputation for making high-quality, comfortable dress shoes for both men and women. Their women's shoes range from elegant pumps and sporty slip-ons to stylish leather flats with Nike Air cushioning.
• Anne Klein
I will be the first to admit that I was surprised at how comfortable Anne Klein dress shoes can be, especially the "iFlex" series, which is created with thinner, softer leather and extra padding. The shoes are literally more flexible than the stiff leather you normally find in dress shoes, so they don't rub your feet and leave blisters after a day of wear.
• Tory Burch
These are stylish, comfortable flats with padded insoles that look good with jeans or dresses.
Clarks has been a long-time favorite American brand for comfortable women's shoes. You will probably encounter Clarks at any shoe store, department store, or mall you visit.
• AerosolesThey are very well-known for reasonably attractive and comfortable dress shoes, with ll, the company offers enough selection that you will occasionally come across some great finds, and the prices are almost always reasonable.
Naturalizer has a loyal following because their designs are generally more stylish than other comfortable dress shoe brands.
• Kenneth Cole
Cool, sophisticated and comfortable. Their name speaks for itself. Kenneth Cole has the ability to constantly reinvent their look and stay fashionable.
• Stuart Weitzman
One of the best designer brands for comfortable dress shoes is Stuart Weitzman . The collection includes bold, fashionable heels, flats, loafers, and mules that most designer brands cannot match in comfort.
Lesson to be learned: The shoes on your feet speak volumes about your style and personality; so make sure you are wearing the right size, shape, stability and style to maximize your comfort! I promise, your feet will thank you for it…Smooches!