We often hear the saying 'beauty is pain' — especially when it comes to shoes. Whether it be with a six-inch stiletto heel or a too-tight strap across the ankle, women often sacrifice comfort in the name of style. But trust us: Fashion and comfort can go hand in hand, even when shopping for dress shoes.
With summer finally upon us, the season for weddings, graduations and other outdoor events is in full swing, and there isn't a better time to start giving your feet the love they deserve. But what should you be looking for in a pair of comfortable dress shoes? Shop TODAY tapped Dr. Meghan Kelly, an Assistant Professor of Foot and Ankle Surgery at Mount Sinai, for some expert tips.
Plus, we're sharing 9 surprisingly stylish options to shop, including flats, loafers and — yes! — even heels.
Is there such a thing as comfortable dress shoes?
The short answer is yes, comfortable dress shoes for women do exist — but what's comfortable for one person may not be for the next.
"Feet come in very different flavors," Kelly says. "There's a lot of different shapes to people's feet, and then everybody has some underlying pathologies or underlying issues with their feet that may influence what shoes are going to be more comfortable for them than others."
When choosing a dress shoe, it's important to keep any specific conditions, such as plantar fasciitis or bunions, as well as your arch type in mind. Still, there are a few key features that Kelly recommends looking out for when shopping for your next pair of dress shoes.
If you have flat feet, "you definitely want something with a little arch support," says Kelly. If you have a history of ankle sprains or instability, "having straps around the ankle or having some kind of fit around the ankle is also very helpful."
While flat shoes may seem more comfortable than heels, you don't have to avoid the latter altogether. In fact, Kelly says they actually have some benefits. "Wearing a small heel, even if it's just an inch or so can just take that pressure off the Achilles so that you can feel a little more comfortable while you're on your feet," she says. When choosing a heel type, Kelly recommends looking for chunkier heels or wedges, which provide more support.
Beyond looking for comfort-promoting features, Kelly adds that it's vital to ensure your shoes fit correctly. She recommends getting your feet measured as feet tend to subtly change with factors like age, time and pregnancy.
If you're looking for ways to make your shoes even more comfortable — especially if you're on your feet all day — Dr. Kelly says to consider wearing compression socks or adding orthotics (particularly if you have flat feet) to help alleviate potential swelling and pressure.
Ready to upgrade your dress shoe collection? Your feet will thank you! Easy Spirit is a shoe brand that emphasizes comfort and fit in many of their shoe styles, and they have so many cute dress shoes that are designed with features to keep your feet protected. Below, we rounded up some of the top comfortable dress shoes for women to shop at Easy Spirit right now.
Comfortable dress shoes for women
A low-heeled loafer is a staple for office attire, so you'll be needing ones that provide support and ease for all-day wear. The Connie loafer features arch support and is orthotic-friendly, according to the brand. The suede fabrication, which is available in varying hues of black and navy, adds an extra touch of luxury. Plus, they're on sale.
Pumps are often one of the first shoe styles that come to mind when thinking about dress shoes for women, but Kelly recommends a thicker heel over a stiletto. "If I know I'm going to be on my feet a lot, I tend to gain a little bit more towards the chunky heel," she says. The Cosma pump features a thick heel and a cushioned foot bed, so you can stay on your feet every day. Plus, it comes in over 12 different colors and textures.
With summer around the corner, sandal season is finally upon us. This strappy pair features arch support and a cushioned footbed for ultimate comfort during those summer brunches and day trips to your favorite destinations. The stylish kitten heel and unique ankle strap also give them an elevated feel.
If you're looking for a little extra height but still feel wary of heels, Kelly recommends looking for shoes with internal platforms "where the whole shoe is lifted up. Even though the heel of the shoe measures three, four inches, the front of the shoe is lifted off the ground an inch or two itself. So the actual heel is not as dramatic."
The slight wedge platform on these Gracey heels can help provide that extra bit of support, and the cushioned, removable insole allows for a more customizable fit.
Espadrille wedges are a warm-weather must have, but we don't blame you if the higher heel feels a little more intimidating. "I do think that wedges, from a shoe design standpoint, are probably the most biomechanically good for your feet. Just because they do provide that support all the way through your foot," says Kelly.
This pair from Easy Spirit also provides arch support, according to the brand. And with colors such as classic black, hot pink or a fun multi-floral, you can style these with all your summer-ready 'fits.
One reviewer loves that these pumps are "very comfortable, practical and professional for work when paired with the right dress, slacks or skirt," and that they are just as perfect to pair with your evening wear for a romantic night out.
As a timeless wardrobe staple, it's important to ensure your go-to loafers are not only stylish, but comfortable during long days on your feet. This pair slips on with ease, and is designed with extra traction and flexibility in mind, according to the brand. The padded back counter can help ease discomfort along the back of the foot as well.
Ballet flats are not only trendy this season, but these ones from Easy Spirit also provide extra cushioning in the insole. According to the brand, their eFlex technology helps keep these shoes stretchy, comfortable and allows them to move with your feet.
Not only does the chic, round silhouette and cute kitten heel make these a wardrobe must-have — but they also have arch support and flexible outsoles, according to the brand. They're easy to dress up for work, or pair with jeans, a t-shirt and your favorite blazer for a trendy everyday 'fit.
Meet our expert
Dr. Meghan Kelly, MD, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Foot and Ankle Surgery at Mount Sinai in New York. With a background in both clinical and science research, she has worked on numerous publications regarding orthopedic literature. In addition, she is involved with the American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society and a member of the Ruth Jackson Orthopedic Society.