The Hunt: Low Heels

Six Low, Cute and Comfortable Heels | CorporetteSure, we all know what basics professional women are supposed to have in their closets, but if you’re buying one for the first time or replacing one you’ve worn into the ground, it can be a pain to find exactly the right incarnation in stores. In “The Hunt,” we search the stores for a basic item that every woman should have.

Low heels that are feminine and cute can be difficult to find!  We’ve looked before (in 2012 and 2013 — and check out our updated 2015 roundup of walkable heels), and there are two Hall-of-Famers that I can think of:  Stuart Weitzman Poco and the Cole Haan Juliana 45 (2″, $90-$160).  In addition to those few, we’ve rounded up six other heels (below) that are currently on the market and all under 2.25″ — most are under $100.  Readers, what is your favorite heel height? Have you gotten any great low heels recently?  Can you think of any other “hall of famers”? 


Anne Klein Isana heels | CorporetteOne of the most comfortable pairs of shoes that I’ve ever owned came from the Anne Klein iFlex line, so I always like to check that brand when we’re doing a roundup. These Isana heels come in a zillion colors, have great reviews on Zappos and are available on sale at 6pm. They’re $79 full price but are available as low as $31 at 6pm. (If 2.25″ high is too much for you, check out the Dabria heels from the same line, which are only 2″.) Pictured: Anne Klein Isana
Fitzwell Elizabeth pumps | CorporetteI like the buckle detail on these Fitzwell pumps, and the numerous glowing reviews. The price doesn’t hurt either: they were $69 but are now $50 at Zappos. Fitzwell Elizabeth
Clarks Sage Hallie pumps | CorporetteAnother slingback option: The Sage Hallie pumps from Clarks Artisan line. At 2.25″ they’re one of the taller heels, but they also have a hidden .25″ platform, which certainly helps. They’re currently on sale for $78 (were $110). Clarks Sage Hallie
Circa Joan & David Callalily | CorporetteThese Joan & David heels are new to me, but they have a solid five stars (with 99 reviews!) on Zappos, and they come in numerous colors. They’re an even 2″ high, and $110. Circa Joan & David Callalily
Isaac Mizrahi New York Gabriel 3 | CorporetteThese highly rated Isaac Mizrahi heels are only 1.5″ high, and come in some fun colors, including this lipstick pink (pictured) and even a silver metallicif you like the look. They’re $130 full price, but some colors (including the pink) are marked down; the pictured shoe is $69. Isaac Mizrahi New York Gabriel 3
Beautifeel Rebecca Pump | CorporetteOK, I’ll grant you that these Rebecca pumps from Beautifeel are a teensy bit fug. But Beautifeel really does make very, very comfortable heels (the shoe beds are insane — like sneakers) — so if you’re desperate for a pair of comfortable heels, these are a great compromise for comfort and style. They’re only 1.75″ high and come in numerous colors. They’re marked $85-$269 at Amazon. Beautifeel Rebecca Pump
Salvatore Ferragamo Rietta | CorporetteReaders continually sing the praises of Salvatore Ferragamo heels, and these Rietta heels — clocking in at 2.25″ high — look great. (For once, I love the bow!) I am, of course, a fan of the Viola color (pictured), but they also come in black. They’re marked down at Zappos — they were $575 but are currently marked $344-$402. Salvatore Ferragamo Rietta

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  1. The Circa by Joan & David Callalily is my go-to work shoe. Highly recommend.

  2. YESSS! This is totally up my alley! I only wear low heels. The problem is that I have is that I look awful in stiletto kitten heels because I have really muscular/athletic legs. Any recs for higher-end brands ($300-500) that have non-stiletto low pumps in a variety of colors?

    Someone recommended LK Bennett a few weeks ago here, and I’m going to check them out soon, but any other recs would be great.

    The current set of low pumps I have are from Varda in NYC, which unfortunately only carries more “boring” colors. Great for work – seriously, I have one of their styles in 3 colors right now and am contemplating buying another 2 colors – but I’m dying to find a pair of cobalt or coral pumps!

    • cavity maker :

      what about these ones?

    • Fourth try:

      I love Varda (wearing them right now). You might also check out Galo Shoes (east 60s, but they have a pretty good website).

    • Get thee some ferragamo varas on sale. they look great on all feet and are around $300 on sale, $425 when not.

      • Which websites have you noticed offer them on sale? I’ve recently discovered Varas and can’t stop thinking about them!

    • This isn’t quite high end, but I really like a lot of Van Eli’s lower heels (some are grandma-ish, many are not). You can find them at Marmi (although easier to see in their catalog than website–website is terrible)!

  3. Lorelai Gilmore :

    I am currently wearing the Callalily and am considering buying another pair. It’s a great shoe – I’ve had it for years and it still looks sharp.

  4. anon-oh-no :

    i love the SW pocos. And SW in general is my go-to brand for low heeled pumps. Whenever i see one i like in any color on sale, i always buy it becuase i know it will fit comfortably and hold up well.

  5. Another Lawyer :

    How do you deal with a friend who is always, without fail, significantly late whenever you agree on a time to meet? My family loves hanging out with this other family, but they are chronically late to arrive at everything – birthday parties, playdates, religious gatherings, etc. Last night, we agreed to meet at a restaurant for dinner at X p.m. After getting seated, I text them at X:09 to let them know we’d be at the table. They texted at X:16 telling us they’d be there “in 10 minutes” but ultimately they were 30 minutes late! Service was slow so we weren’t served until X plus an hour and 15 minutes. This was all made worse by the fact that I have 3 young children who were getting antsy (the other family has 2 young children). Honestly, it affects our friendship with them, because if they arrive at our house late for dinner (which is a given as well), they will stay later and keep us all up past our bedtime, so we try not to have them over at our house anymore. They always have some kind of excuse, but truthfully they seem to just take their time and they badly underestimate the time it takes to get anywhere. How do we save this friendship?

    • If you love them, learn to live with it and work around them. They aren’t going to change and they’re probably like this with everyone, so don’t take it personally.

      • Yes, this. If you want to have them over to your house for dinner at 630pm, tell them that dinner is at 6…

      • Orangerie :

        OP should definitely not take it personally, but that doesn’t mean that this behavior isn’t rude. Chronic lateness basically says “my time is more important than anyone else’s.”

        • Agree. She asked how to save the friendship. IMO, the only way to save the friendship is by accepting this admittedly rude behavior on her friends’ part. Trying to change them is almost definitely a losing battle. Our loved ones all have flaws. She can accept their lateness/rudeness, or continue to get aggravated by it (which will almost definitely impact the friendship), or just plan fewer activities and spend less time with them.

    • For my wedding, I actually changed all of the clocks in my father’s house and snuck into his bedroom to change his watch and set them 15 minutes ahead. I also lied to him and told him we were getting picked up at 10 (instead of 10:30). It worked.

      Not that you can change your friend’s watch, but why not tell them an earlier time and then you arrive late?

    • EduStudent :

      Tell them the wrong time – if you want to meet at 7pm, say 6 or 6:30 (adjust for their typical lateness).

      • Another Lawyer :

        I thought about this, but I didn’t want to be the one showing up 30 minutes after I agreed on a time – in the off chance they actually arrived on time or early.

        • Blonde Lawyer :

          It would work when you have them at your house at least.

          • Ha – my brother is always late and so I always do this and give him an adjusted time. .. And he had the gall to ask recently what the “real” time was for something recently.

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      Don’t do stuff with them that requires reservations or timing. Make it more open-ended: “We are going to X park today for a picnic. We’d love to have you join us. We’ll be there between 10 and 2.” They can show up whenever.

      • +1. I think lying to them about the time & then being late yourself isn’t a great solution (two wrongs don’t make a right and all that). Planning an activity with an open-ended meeting time seems like a much better solution, particularly if you can enjoy the activity even if they show up very late or don’t show up at all.

    • Orangerie :

      Try telling them to meet you at X-30 minutes, or whatever their average margin of lateness is.

      • Another Lawyer :

        Right, but what if – by all miracles – they changed their behavior and showed up on time? Then I would be late on purpose, which seems worse that being late by accident…

        • Wildkitten :

          They wouldn’t give it (you being late) a second thought.

        • Orangerie :

          Maybe them being forced to wait for someone else would make them realize how rude they’d been by consistently showing up late?

          Wishful thinking?

      • +1 to this. I have similar friends (er, family) and this is the only thing that works, ever.
        Provide a buffer and if you happen to be later than them on an occasion or two, they won’t even notice or give it a second thought.

    • ooh, thanks to the new edit feature I can see when my advice has been scooped by 5 other people! agree…

    • Get better at setting boundaries. Etiquette does not require you to bend over backwards to accommodate someone else’s rudeness. When friend is at your house and you are ready to go to bed, tell friend it’s time for you to go to sleep and maybe you can catch up another time. Don’t let her guilt you with the “But I just got here!” routine – she can show up on time if she wants to spend time with you. Don’t wait for her to show up before ordering dinner at a restaurant. It is not fair to your kids to make them sit and starve because someone else can’t bother to show up on time. Order your food and ask for separate checks so you can leave when you’re ready.

  6. These are great – I need a new pair of black or neutral low-heel pumps. But what I want is something with a little flair, a little flash – tan with a black toe, or black pointy with some detail (I’m thinking about the Joan & David’s above) under $100 and not a slingback. While I love a slingback, it means I can only wear the shoes for about 1 1/2 seasons, which doesn’t justify the space in my shoe rack. Any suggestions?

    • I was just going to recommend these:
      I have the red patent and never fail to get compliments on them. The blue suede ones are also tempting me.

  7. My favorite low heel shoe is the ferragamo vara. It comes in lots of colors, and there is even a custom option. Expensive but worth it. If you take care of them, shoe trees, don’t wear them two days in a tow, cream polish, they will last a long time. Classic style.

    • I love the shape of these, but can’t deal with the bow/branding on top! My work outfits are normally pretty menswear inspired, so the bow wouldn’t fly. Really wish one of the custom options is to get it without the bow.

      • You might try the PRVUE from Joan and David, to me it has a bit of a menswear vibe.

    • I tried these on the other day and they’re super comfortable–1/pauleen#beginIndex=40&pId=6148914691233552023

    • Not sure you will still check this, but do you find them comfortable? Do you know of any time of year any of the major retailers put them on sale? I’ve been considering them for a long time…

  8. Ciao, pues :

    I posted this earlier, but hit the chain at the very end and am wondering if others have thoughts (and thanks, TXLawyer!)

    Is it necessary to withdraw an application for a position that you have not been called for an interview yet? To my knowledge they haven’t started interviewing, but a colleague made a call on my behalf. Seems premature/ presumptuous to withdraw at this stage, but I wonder if the personal call makes a difference at all. I have notified the colleague who reached out to recommend me. (I’ve accepted a different job offer).

    • Lorelai Gilmore :

      Yes, withdraw the application. If you get an interview request at this point and turn it down, you will make your colleague look bad. Don’t worry about being premature or presumptuous.

    • It’s not premature, it’s considerate of their time and of the other candidates. If they offer you an interview, that’s one other candidate that won’t be getting one.

  9. What about non-pointy options that could look good with either pants or skirts? I really can’t seem to tolerate a pointed toe for a full work day. I’d say I have a regular (non wide) foot, so maybe they just need to make shoes more comfortable.

    • That’s what I need too. My feet aren’t wide but they definitely don’t come to a point. Even almond is too pointy for me to wear for very long.

    • Almond toed shoes :

      I would check Tsubo (often on sale on 6pm) for some comfortable, low heeled, almond toed and still pretty cute options.

  10. For a more inexpensive but leather low pump, I like the Naturalizer Deino. Very walkable.

  11. Flying Squirrel :

    There’s a Saks brand kitten heel that I frequently find at their outlet (usually patent leather) that I love!!

    • Flying Squirrel :

      Looks like they have a pair on the website right now:|Saks+Fifth+Avenue+BLACK|Saks+Fifth+Avenue+Made+in+Italy|Saks+Fifth+Avenue+RED&start=1&location=3349&slotLoads=2

  12. Technical issues replying to your post so creating a new comment here.

    If you like Varda, you may also like Galo Shoes (east 60s, but they have a pretty good website).

    — Basics

    And this is in moderation. I cannot imagine why.

    • Alohilani :

      They can be pricey, but I really like the Louboutin Simple Pump in a 70 mm height (it’s a round/almond toe). I have them in basic black and a dark grey/taupe color, and they’re fantastic office shoes if you don’t mind rocking the red sole.

  13. circa joan and david calalilly is my default work shoe- great for interviews, meetings, etc. looks professional and I find they are more comfortable than flats (and look better). highly recommend, and I found mine for $34 on amazon last fall.

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