Life·11 min read

Comfy Shoes for Every Work Shoe Dilemma

Nisolo sneaker
Design: theSkimm | Photo: Nisolo
Sep 6, 2022

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We all know that comfy shoes are key to a happy workday. Achy feet can throw off even the best one. So as a part of our Relatable Fashion Week series, we rounded up our go-to shoes to get you through your 9 to 5. Like flats for commuting, heels if you’ve got a meeting with some VIPs, supportive sneakers if you’re on your feet all day, and more. Run, don’t walk, people. 

Psst…for more recs on what you should wear for a job interview and the best layering pieces if your office is freezing, click here.

An elevated flat you can walk all day in… 

If you live in a city, you’ve no doubt seen a million women walking around in these. And trust us when we say they live up to their cult-fave status. These cloud-like flats feel like walking on actual heaven thanks to their no break-in period and soft, flexible upper. They’re made with a fully machine-washable fabric so no sweat if you get ’em dirty. Plus, they’re made with thread spun from plastic water bottles so you’re doing some good for the environment too. They come in over two dozen colors and patterns, from neutrals to brights. You won’t be disappointed. Promise. ($145, Rothy's)

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An organic cotton sneaker that comes in white or black…

An instant classic, these old-school sneakers are the perfect mix of cute and comfy. If you work in a casual environment — you can rock these all day. And if you’ve got to be more dressed up, we rec scooping these up for your commute. (Because yes, you could wear Crocs…but what if you run into your boss in Starbucks before your AM meeting?) They’re machine washable too. So if you tend to step in puddles and get your shoes dirty, no stress. They have rave reviews from customers and also come in men’s sizes if you wanna match with your brother, S.O. or fave co-worker. Enough said. ($65, Everlane)

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A classic riding boot that’ll last for years…

Frye boots are synonymous with luxe leather and quality construction. And these boots are no exception. They’re made of vintage Italian leather, which can be easily cared for with the brand’s accompanying cleaning accessories. And with a ¾-inch heel, they’ll give you a little extra boost but won’t make your feet ache after a day at the office. The square toe adds an extra-special detail to this timeless silhouette too. ($398, Frye)

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A boot with plenty of options for wider feet…

These Vince Camuto Chelsea boots will pair with virtually everything in your closet — from jeans to all types of dresses. With shiny hardware detailing above its just-high-enough 2¼-inch heel, we wouldn’t be surprised if they become your new go-to from fall through spring. Available in five colorways and in both leather and suede options, they also come in wide sizes. Customers say they run true to size. ($66.48, QVC)

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A sneaker that’s designed for healthcare workers…

Twelve-hour shifts in the books? No problem. They have fluid-repellent uppers and laces, so they can be cleaned easily with basic wipes. Other perks that make them ideal for hospital workers: They’re built with super-grippy oustoles (to minimize any slipping), they’re squeak-resistant (so you won’t be waking patients up in the middle of the night), and they slip on easily (so if you get paged for an emergency, you can get them on quickly). They fit true to size, but if you typically wear a wide shoe, they rec going up half a size. Oh, and they come in a ton of amazing colors. ($139, Clove)

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Everlane glove boots for a sleek and sophisticated look…

Under trousers, over tights, with jeans — these are super versatile and a solid addition to your shoe closet. With just the right amount of stretch to maximize comfort, these ribbed, sock-like boots are great for anyone who has to be on their feet during the day but still wants to dress it up with a heel. Each one is made from nine plastic bottles, so you can do good for the planet while you look your best at work. They come in black, toffee, and bone (think: off-white) — and hey, no one will notice if you happen to scoop up all three. ($130, Everlane)

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A combat boot if you wanna give off an edgier vibe…

These have a cushioned footbed and a lightweight sole so you won’t feel like you’re lugging ankle weights around. There’s nothing that screams fall more than a combat boot — you can rock ’em with just about any outfit and they’ll look great. Customers also rave about the arch support and high-quality leather. 10/10 rec. ($169.95, Nordstrom)

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Shearling clogs that literally scream ‘cozy’...

Casual dress codes for the win. Even if your office requires dressier footwear, these are a no-brainer for your commute come the chillier months. Birkenstock is famous for their insanely comfortable shoes — and these are a prime example. The genuine shearling lining helps provide extra cushioning. Plus, the natural cork-and-latex footbed was designed with the shape of a healthy foot in mind, so you’ll be distributing your weight properly when you walk. ($170, Nordstrom)

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Slip-on flats you can throw in the wash…

If dodging messy puddles or dog poop is often part of your daily commute, you can rest easy with this pair. These Allbirds are designed to minimize smells — in part because they’re made with moisture-wicking materials and have an odor-reducing insole. (Your co-workers say ‘thanks.’) It’s a given that flats are great work shoes, but here are some other reasons why these are a must-buy: They have a ribbed collar so they won’t fall off the back of your heel, they’re made with eucalyptus tree fiber so they’re extra breathable, and they come in 10+ color options. Hop to it. ($80+, Allbirds)

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Adjustable mules you can pair with jeans, a skirt or even leggings…

These unique babes have a cushioned footbed to make you feel supported and comforted throughout the day. They fit true to size and are made of premium leather (and in one case, denim). Dress ’em up or down — you really can’t go wrong with this fun fall silhouette. ($74.50, QVC)

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Frye booties with cushioned insoles…

These are ideal for the fall season, especially since they’re short. You’ll be able to easily tuck jeans into them or slip ’em over a pair of leggings. We love Fryes because they genuinely hold up year after year — so you won’t have to rebuy a pair every season. These have harness straps and a rubber lug sole to give you that moto-chic look. Do it, do it. ($278, Neiman Marcus)

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A knitted sneaker you can dress up or down…

These soft, water-resistant ones have a sock-like fit and help add a relaxed feel to any outfit. Whether it’s for a casual Friday moment or your HR team lets you rock sneakers every day, these shock-absorbing ones with a sporty vibe are the perfect pick. They’re also breathable and eco-friendly. And you can throw ’em in the wash. What can’t they do? ($130, Nisolo)

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A vegan mule that has a simple yet sophisticated silhouette...

Sometimes you want your shoes to be the star of the show. Other times, you want something reliable that won’t steal the thunder from your outfit. This stacked heel falls into the latter category. It’s versatile enough to take you from work out to happy hour and gives off some ’90s nostalgia in the process. Choose from neutrals like black or tan or scoop yourself up the lemon ice option for a little pop of color. ($99, Aerosoles)

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Chic contemporary knee-highs for an elevated look…

The pointy toe and 2.5-inch heel on these gorgeous Sam Edelman boots will add a touch of sophistication to any OOTD. Pair it with your favorite chunky sweater, and you’ll be your office’s best-dressed employee in no time. ($250, Nordstrom)

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Printed canvas sneakers for something fun and light…

Maybe you’re a teacher and want a shoe your kiddos will approve of. Or maybe you just can’t resist a fun twist on a classic silhouette. These attention-grabbing cuties from Cariuma are super popular for a reason (besides their good looks). They’re handmade with organic cotton canvas and have a vegan memory foam insole (with arch support) that maximizes comfort. Win. ($89, Cariuma)

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Rain boots for those drizzly mornings…

Wet, gloomy days have met their match. The rubber construction will keep you dry. And the buckle on the back lets you adjust the shaft to your preferred fit. No need to fear any puddles or uncomfy tightness here. These will hit at your mid-calf area so you can easily tuck them into your jeans or trousers. Win. ($29.99, Target)

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A loafer-like flat that comes in fun patterns…

You know when you find one shoe that you want to order every color of? Well…this is that shoe for us. Made from Rothy’s signature thread (crafted from plastic bottles), these loafers marry support with style. Note: They don’t stretch much after wearing, so take that into consideration when choosing your size. According to Rothy’s, these have a no-break-in period...so throw ’em on right out of the box and get moving. Oh, and when they’re dirty, they can go straight into the washing machine. Bless. ($165, Rothy’s)

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Tiny block heels you can slip on…

For those days when you’ve got a big presentation or a very important interview. These have an embossed heel that makes them look more expensive than they really are, and you’ll get 2.75 inches of height outta this pair. Note that customers rec sizing up a half size and say that they’re not the best option for wide feet. They come in a number of colors and at this price, we won't blame ya if you pick up a pair in more than one color. ($21.24+, Target)

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Supportive athletic sneakers you can’t go wrong with…

Whether you’re a healthcare worker who has to stand all day or you just prefer to give your feet the maximum amount of support and comfort while commuting, look no further. With a gravity-defying foam sole, these Hokas are definitely made for walkin’. They’re ultra lightweight so you’ll barely feel like you’re wearing shoes. And they’ve got a gusseted tongue that’ll keep things in place as you move. Psst…the pair also has removable cushioned insoles. So if you prefer to rock your custom orthotics, you can do that no problem. ($140, Nordstrom)

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