Recently, we’ve seen a massive surge of professionals returning to the office, and with that comes the need for a professional wardrobe upgrade – starting with shoes as we prepare for more walking and of trips.
Over the past couple of years, many have come to cherish the socks-and-slippers life that came with remote work. And we won’t blame you if you’re worried about stepping back to a time when sacrificing comfort for fashion was common practice. We hear you, which is why we spoke to podiatrist Dr. Miguel Cunha for his advice on the types of shoes that can provide you with long-lasting comfort when you’re on your feet a lot.
How to buy work shoes
If you want to ensure optimal comfort, Cunha recommends that you have your feet measured regularly. “Just because you are [a size] six and a half [or] seven and a half years with one manufacturer doesn’t mean the shoe is going to feel the same with another brand,” he told Shop TODAY. This trick is especially relevant for pregnant or postpartum women, whose feet may become enlarged due to hormonal changes. “Over time you develop ligament laxity, especially after having children, so your feet change in size over time,” he explained.
When you finally make the purchase and get the shoe delivery you’ve been waiting for, don’t think you can just try them on and call it a day. According to Cunha, it is important to consider when you try on shoes. “Your feet tend to swell with the cumulative effects of gravity, so your feet and legs are going to be more swollen at the end of the day than they are at the start of the day.” He added that it’s best to try out new shoes in the evening when your feet are at their worst. “If the shoe is comfortable, it will probably be comfortable all day long,” he said.
If a shoe is painful from the start and your plan is to allow time for it to break, you should probably rethink that strategy. “If you feel like you have to break them in to make them comfortable, then you’re not getting the right shoe size,” Cunha said.
Which shoes provide the most support?
To pretty much guarantee long-lasting comfort, Cunha recommends wearing a sports shoe over anything else. “These are the shoes best equipped to provide the shock absorption to support [and] withstand the pressure of ground forces impacting your feet with every step,” he said. And thankfully, with heels becoming less expected in the workplace and office wear trends gravitating more towards “high casual”, sleeker options for this style are getting easier. to find.
A sneaker also offers the best design for long-term wear, as long as it has the right features. “Make sure the shoe has a wide toe box to accommodate your forefoot; that it has a stiff heel counter, which is the support at the back of the heel, so it prevents any kind of sprain of the ankle; [and] that it has an arch,” Cunha said.
Cunha also suggests opting for mules, slippers, or ballet flats, as these styles don’t aggravate the foot as much as the heel. Just make sure to stay away from pointy shoes, as they can dig into your feet in the toe box.
However, if you like to wear heels, Cunha said a little lift is OK, but he doesn’t recommend a heel height higher than an inch and a half because anything higher can start to put pressure. on the forefoot and Achilles. “The higher the heel, the more your momentum and center of gravity is forward, which puts pressure on the front of your foot,” he said. Style-wise, you should focus on leather or suede heels — as they’re likely to be more comfortable and last longer — as well as options with a thicker, clunkier heel, like a wedge heel.
Ultimately, Cunha’s #1 rule for shoe shopping is to remember that your shoe should fit the foot – not the other way around. “Is it durable? Does it support? Does it absorb shock? Does it have an anatomical arch? Does the shoe have a wide toe These are the things [you want to look for]. It has to serve its purpose to get you from point A to point B painlessly.”
Based on her recommendations, we’ve found 10 styles you can wear the next time you head to the office.
Comfortable work shoes
Banana Republic Knitted Sneakers
Featuring a cushioned footbed and a thermoplastic rubber midsole, these trainers have been clearly designed with comfort in mind. And they also look suitable for the office. “I was looking for a sneaker to wear to work that didn’t feel like I was going to the gym,” said one five-star reviewer. “It’s perfect!”
Lifestride Washable Slip-On Shoes
This shoe gave us “around the clock comfort”. We’re also pretty sold on its other key (and comfortable) features, which include a Soft System sockliner and arch contour, according to the brand. Moreover, we can see this style pairing well with a pair of casual pants and a button up for a casual office outfit.
Dr. Scholl’s Time Off Platform Sneaker
When shopping for a sneaker, Cunha says to opt for a more breathable option that provides proper air circulation to prevent bacteria growth and odor. According to the brand, this pair from Dr. Scholl’s is designed with antimicrobial and anti-odor technology built into the cushioned insole to keep your feet comfortable and cool.
Raid Patent Platform Lug Sole Mary Janes
If you’re looking for height, but don’t want to risk the discomfort of a traditional heel, Cunha recommends trying platforms. “They help distribute the weight across the entire foot instead of just the ball of the foot.” Consider trying these Mary Janes, which feature an on-trend patent leather look and secure strap.
Cushionaire Nila Block Heel Sandal
When opting for heels, Cunha recommends pairs with a strap around the heel or ankle to provide more support. This sandal is perfect for sporting on cooler late summer days, and it even includes a cushioned insole and durable traction outsole, according to the brand.
Universal Thread Maura Mules
The heel of this mule is practically what the doctor ordered. “You want the heel to be short in height and thick in width. If it’s thick in width, you have a better distribution of support across the bottom of your heel, [and] you’re less likely to sprain your ankle or invert your foot and fall,” Cunha said. memory foam cushioning that is said to conform to your foot.
Obtaom Round Toe Slip-On Ballerinas
This round toe flat is available in 17 different color options, making it easy to pair with your favorite office outfits. More importantly, the brand claims that each pair is made with a flexible outsole and soft footbed for added comfort. They are also said to be durable and lightweight.
Hoka One Bondi SR
If your dress code allows for an athletic sneaker, Cunha recommends the Hoka One One brand for the most support. The Bodi SR option may be more expensive, but its memory foam collar, non-slip outsole and padded interior seem worth it.
Keeley Universal Thread Chelsea Boots
If a higher heel is more your style, you’re better off with a clumsier style, like this wedge boot. Not only is it totally on trend for fall, but we imagine the memory foam insoles and stretchy fabric will help keep your feet comfortable even after hours of wear.
Apartment Tamaris Auberon
We don’t know if you can do better than these chic apartments. They are designed to provide personalized support to the wearer, depending on the brand. They’re made with Touch-IT technology, which is supposed to help the insole adapt to your foot.