Of all the items in your closet, a pair of comfortable shoes just might be the most important. We’ve all come across those too-thin boots, slippery sandals, and painful pumps with no arch support, orthopedic relief, or anatomically-correct cushioning, making it feel like your feet are on fire every time you put them on. To take a step in the right direction away from pain, you’d do well to invest in a pair of the most comfortable shoes for women.
The Importance of Comfortable Shoes
High heels, in particular, have been found to shorten calf muscles by 13 per cent shorter and stiffen and thicken Achilles tendons in a 2010 study of women who wore high heels five times a week for two years, while ballet flats, which don’t feature much arch support, can lead to plantar fasciitis — an inflammation of the fibrous tissue along the bottom of your foot.
What’s more, generalized foot pain is a leading cause of recurrent falls, with a 2017 study in Gerontology reporting an increase in tumbles of 62 percent for older adults with aching dogs.
“As we get older, our muscles and tendons lose elasticity, which can contribute to foot pain,” podiatric surgeon and clinical assistant professor in the department of plastic surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Beth Gusenoff, told U.S. News in 2018.
That doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your person style, however. While keeping your feet in tip-top shape should always be a priority — particularly for adults over 45, for whom one in four experience regular foot pain — we all know a cute pair of shoes puts the finishing touches on a perfect outfit. Our list of pretty-yet-comfortable shoes proves you don’t have to choose between fashion and your orthopedic health.
The Most Comfortable Shoes for Women
Whether you love your elegant heels from ($30.55, Amazon) or prefer a pair of snazzy sneakers ($85, Clarks), our vast selection of footwear designed with comfort in mind will keep your shoe closet stocked with options you’ll love walking around in. Foamy cushions, buttery-soft leather, breezy mesh, and pain-relieving foot molds, will go a long way toward keeping your tooties happy, so you don’t miss out on all those beach trips, family BBQs, and vacation activities. Scroll down to see Womans Worlds picks for the most comfortable shoes for women over 50!
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Most Comfortable Boots
SOREL Harlow Chelsea Boots
Where to buy: $104.90 (Originally $140), Zappos
These boots from winterwear brand SOREL are not only equipped to deal with nasty weather, thanks to a waterproof leather upper, they're made for walking courtesy of a memory foam footbed and an über-supportive midsole. They also have pull-on tabs at the back for easy on and off.
"They are extremely comfortable ... purchased for a vacation involving lots of walking and there was no need to break them in. They were extremely comfortable right out of the box!" wrote one happy buyer.
Added another: "These boots were made for walking! I walk 30 minutes from the train to my office and need really comfortable shoes. These are heaven."
Most Comfortable Walking Shoes
CLARKS Womens Trigenic Flex Sneakers
Where to buy: From $43.90, Amazon
CLARKS is one of the best brands for comfortable shoes, so it's only natural that the company would manufacture a great pair for walking. This nubuck leather pair includes an OrthoLite footbed for maximum support and a special decoupled Vibram outsole to make your walking experience a pleasurable one. Whether you're taking a brisk morning walk or shopping, you'll look chic without getting blisters on your feet or chafing your ankles.
Most Comfortable Tennis Shoes
Clarks Step Allena Go
Where to buy: $85, Clarks
As part of Clarks' Cloudsteppers collection, these sporty sneakers feature the brand's Cushion Soft foam layers and an EVA outsole to absorb shock with each and every step. They're also plenty lightweight and flexible, allowing you to keep moving comfortably all day long. Their rose gold hue, meanwhile, lends a stylish element to the mix.
Best Shoes for Orthotics
SOREL Kinetic Sneak Joggers
Where to buy: From $67, Amazon
Sneakers like these are proof that style over comfort is a thing of the past. Modern and eye-catching scalloped soles provide the wearer of these SOREL shoes with excellent grip and shock absorbency, while the multi-colored mesh is as trendy as it is breathable. Plus, the insoles are removable, so you can easily add your own orthotics into the shoes, making for a fit that will feel custom-made.
Most Comfortable Sneakers
Clarks Womens Un Cruise Lace (Wave) Sneaker
Where to buy: From $23.23, Amazon
For a chic update on your old running shoes, check out these sleek black leather sneakers. The perforated outer material gives your tootsies a chance to breathe on long walks, while a thick wave design at the heel enhances your walking motion and reduces heel fatigue. Buyers with every kind of foot condition, from plantar fasciitis to neuromas (painful pinched nerves), have found these shoes exceed all expectations, with one calling them "the most comfortable sneaker I have ever worn."
Most Comfortable Sandals
Teva Terra FI Lite Shoes
Where to buy: From $47.41, Amazon
Teva's cushy sandals provide plenty of support and security without feeling too heavy on the foot. A rubber sole will feel nice and smooth against your foot and a 1.25-inch stacked heel will add some lift. There's also shock-absorbing technology to buffer against any rough terrain.
Most Comfortable Lace Up Shoes
Dr. Scholl's So Comfy Wedge Bootie
Where to buy: $79.99, DSW
The name of these Dr. Scholl's "so comfy" lace-up boots says it all. Between their cushioned footbed and their faux fur lining, these winter wedge booties are as cozy as can be. They're also well-suited for cold, snowy weather, since they've got a seam-sealed waterproof finish that will keep your toes dry.
Most Comfortable Heels
Naturalizer Natalie Dress Pump
Where to buy: From $30.55, Amazon
If a podiatrist and a fashionista built a shoe together, it would be Naturalizer's Natalie dress pumps. These statement-making heels offer contoured, flexible soles, and plenty of cushioning to prevent any pinching or rubbing. While heels are notorious for causing discomfort, a pair like this will break that stereotype.
Take it from Amazon reviewer Tracy, who wrote, "I have wide feet and a narrower heel, so needless to say I've never found a pointy-toe heel that didn't leave me crippled within a short time of wearing them and the heels falling off my feet with every step. I'm so excited to say that these heels cause zero pinky toe pain and zero toe numbness and they don't slide off my feet! ... The heel in back grips my foot so they stay securely on. This is a dream come true ... for the first time ever (and I'm 57), I can wear a beautiful, pointy-toed high heel and feel totally comfortable."
Most Comfortable Dress Sandals
Aerosoles Laminate Dress Pumps
Where to buy: From $20.61, Amazon
Dressing up shouldn't mean wincing all night long. These leather pumps will make you look — and feel! — dazzling. The ankle strap and heel rest technology keeps your foot secure to prevent any unexpected slipping or sliding. Better yet, the double-padded, memory foam soles ensure your feet won't be black and blue by the end of the night.
As one pleased customer wrote, "I danced all night long on New Year's Eve with this shoes, didn't have to take them off, that's how comfortable they are ... these are awesome!"
The dance floor is calling!
Most Comfortable Shoes for Standing All Day
Skechers Performance Go Walk 4 Pursuit
Where to buy: From $39.95, Amazon
There's a reason these sneakers are No. 1 bestsellers. Innovative technology is written all over this shoe, from its stabilizing heel fabric overlay panels and tapered arch support design to its midsole cushioning and rebound footbed, which will energize your every step. They're also great for temperature control, since they're made out of breathable mesh fabric and fitted with bamboo-lined insoles, so sweat and odor won't stand a chance. They're lightweight, yet durable, and offer support for women who are on their feet for hours at a time.
In a review on Amazon, one shopper wrote, "I love these shoes. I have what I call princess feet. Nothing ever is comfortable. These shoes are my favorite walking shoes. They slip on easily, hug my foot and high arches, and look good too."
Most Comfortable Wedges
Crocs Sanrah Strappy Wedge
Where to buy:From $49.97, Amazon
Whether you're looking for a feel-good pair of wedges for your next vacation or have a zip code in a warmer climate, this strappy pair from Crocs will be just what the doctor ordered. They've got a grippy, contoured sole to keep your foot firmly in place and a Croslite foam footbed, so every step you take will feel like walking on a cloud. Its minimalist straps are also perfect for everyday wear.
Most Comfortable Slides
Birkenstock Unisex Arizona Essentials
Where to buy: From $25.87, Amazon
These all-black rubber Birkenstocks have the same five-star anatomical footbeds as the brand's beloved cork and suede model with the added ability to match just about everything in your wardrobe. The support these unisex slide-on shoes offer is hard to beat. In fact, they're so darn comfortable, you just might catch your partner trying to steal them!
Best Shoes for Hip Pain
Orthofeet Charlotte Orthopedic Slippers
Where to buy: $79.95, Amazon
Slippers that work both outdoors and indoors deserve a place on every shoe rack. These ones from Orthofeet offer orthopedic support and a cozy, soft lining that will make it hard to kick them off at the end of the day. Whether you have bunions, arthritis, neuropathy, or pronation, the OrthoCushion System, deep footbeds, and wide toe box found in these kicks will alleviate any discomfort, making motion pain-free, from your feet to your hips.
Amazon reviewer JoyceP wrote, "I have a lot of lower back and hip pain, so I need shoes/slippers with really good, cushioned support, which these have... I have only had these shoes for about five days, yet I can honestly say I already have less pain in my hips and lower back. If I could have custom-designed a pair of shoes, these are what I would have designed."
Most Comfortable Boat Shoes
Clarks Step Maro Sand
Where to buy: From $25.28, Amazon
Versatile and lightweight, these boat shoes from the Clarks' Cloudstepper collection provide cushioned support with every skip, hop, and step . Their OrthoLite footbeds are paired with a thick rubber sole to make walking on any type of terrain feel painless. They come in five colors.
Most Comfortable Oxfords
Clarks Edenvale Opal Shoes
Where to buy: From $120.00, Amazon
Every closet needs a staple oxford. They're easy to dress up and down, and can be worn everywhere from the office to your next family outing. Made from leather, this pick from Clarks is soft and well-cushioned with an innovative OrthoLite footbed. Because of the pliable nature of leather, they'll be broken in after just a few wears, leaving you with a very comfortable shoe that's fit to your foot.
Most Comfortable Loafers
Clarks Pure Tone Loafer
Where to buy: From $39.99, Amazon
Your foot will fall in love with the silky, soft leather lining and über-low heel on these sophisticated loafers. Clarks' dual-density Cushion Plus technology ensures you won't have to deal with tight and tense feet, whether you're walking for an hour or for the whole day.
Raved one Amazon reviewer: "LOVE THESE! My first day wearing them I worked 11 1/2 hours as a server and experienced zero 'new shoes blues.' They are incredibly comfortable right out of the box."
Most Comfortable Flats
ØriginalGrand Ballet Flats
Where to buy: $150, Cole Haan
Flats that will keep you pain-free all day may sound too good to be true, but with this pair from Cole Haan, you'll start to believe. Designed with a metallic leather outer that stretches and moves with your foot, they feature the company's own GRANDFØAM footbed to give your feet a luxurious, squishy platform for stepping. That means running around with the kids or grandkids at Disney will be a piece of cake!