2018 Update: We still stand by this discussion of comfortable flats every professional should own — you may also want to check our more recent discussion on cute flats for the office for more updated brand and style options.
Which are the most comfortable flats very professional should own? We did a roundup of the most comfortable ballet flats a while ago and a lot of readers noted that they’ve never found ballet flats to be that comfortable. I get it, trust me — I’ve said for years that personally I prefer strappy flats. So if you hate ballet flats, but still struggle to find comfortable heels, which ARE the most comfortable flats for work? Today, we’re rounding up four types of comfortable flats every professional should own — other than ballet flats.
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|The Strappy Flat. I’ve said for years that this is my preferred kind of flat — an ankle wrap, a T-strap, a more elaborate lace-up situation like a Ghillie shoe — I’ll take any of them. Pro tip: make sure you’re comfortable with how it buckles or fastens (personally I prefer ones that zip up the back of the shoe, but sometimes the zipper can dig). Other tips: for the most flattering look, watch where the straps hit — for some reason straps that hit higher, at the skinniest point of my ankle, seem to look the best. If you can find them, look for ones that have a strap that’s close to your skin tone, or where the strap has a slight shape of a V on your leg instead of a straight line across your ankle. For the most sophisticated, sleekest look, watch the way the toes are shaped and where the shoe hits the top of your foot (the vamp) — the rounder the toe and higher the vamp, the frumpier the shoe (in general). The pictured strappy flats are getting rave reviews, and are only $119.|
|The Sleek Loafer. Loafers have come a LONG way since the days where you actually put pennies in them — there are a number of sleek models out here. Personally I can’t wear them (narrow ankle, wide toes), but from a fashion perspective these can look great with a pencil skirt, shift dress, ankle pants, or more. (For some reason I think they look a bit dowdy with full-length pants, but that’s me.) Look for cutouts on the side, a soft but firm leather, and a sole that doesn’t slip for you — and avoid a “slipper” look as much as possible for a sleek work look. The pictured shoes have rave reviews at Nordstrom and are only $55; we’ve also sung the praises of these popular Kate Spade loafers in the past as well as the Everlane loafers.|
|The Oxford. If you like the “borrowed from the boys” approach to dressing, this menswear-inspired trend can be a great look for the office. There’s a huge range in these shoes, with platform oxfords, laceless oxfords, and sporty oxfords trending right now (I’d say “know your office” applies to the sportier ones, particularly those with a white or colored sole). They look particularly great with pants, but some of the sleeker models also pair well with skirts and dresses. (Readers just had a discussion about how to style oxfords for work like the pictured shoes, the Everlane Modern Oxford; this $69 pair is similar and a best-seller at Zappos.)|
|The Foldable Flat. To be totally clear, if a flat can fold it’s probably not an “all day” sort of look — but these can be amazing “savior shoes” when your other shoes are killing you. Because they’re foldable and super lightweight you can throw them in pretty much any bag — I’ve even stuffed them in a clutch. There’s a huge range of prices here — Amazon has options as low as $5 (your local drugstore probably does too), while other people swear by $200+ versions like Tieks (Tory Burch and Kate Spade both have options as well!). The middle tier option that I’ve heard great things about is the pictured one from Yosi Samra, generally $89ish new (but find it on sale in select colors at Nordstrom and Amazon for as low as $35).|
Readers, what are your favorite flats to wear to work — and which do you think are the most comfortable flats every professional should own?
(Oh, and if you still want classic ballet flats instead of or in addition to these shoes, these are some of the best-selling, most comfortable ballet flats according to thousands of reviews:)
Pictured at top and in Pin: Deposit Photos / © belchonock.