Reader Request: Comfy, Sexy Shoes


Gorgeous Laikabear had this request after ogling a recent shoe-laden post:

How about a post on the best comfortable sexy shoes? Maybe I am not trying expensive enough brands but I feel like half the shoes I buy at DSW end up being so uncomfortable I can’t even wear them when I’ll only be walking a leeetle bit.

Ahhh, comfy and cute is a relatively easy one, but comfy and sexy? A bit more challenging, in my opinion. But I’m up to it! Here are my picks, all under $200.

Yes, you’re sick of hearing me say it … but too bad! These shoes are THE BEST. Mid-height heel, cushy footbed, roomy toe-box, and fantastically walkable. The silver pictured above is truly fab, but they come in several shades of brown, black, and red if you’re willing to stalk older generations on eBay.

Born Vara, $130

I haven’t worn this exact shoe, but my experience with Born has been entirely positive. These folks know how to design a shoe that makes even the fussiest of feet happy. This style – with the high vamp, peep toe, and slingback details – is super hot this season and just about every maker has a version. But you can bet the Born iteration will be comfiest.

Jump Thurman, $48 to $83

These guys are the bargain of the bunch, and I think they are simply irresistible. The straps are thin, so they may cause problems if you’ve got sensitive ankles or heels, but the heel is at once sassy and sturdy, and the stud detailing such fun. Jump shoes are super quirky in design, but fantastically comfortable in my experience.

Again, my experience is with the brand, not the shoe. But Camper designs heels made from solid, flexible rubber. Soles are generally crafted from the same material, as is the case here. This means you get support and stability, but also a little bit o’ give. SO helpful if you’re walking long distances. And these Biancas would look equally awesome on bare legs or worn over tights come fall.

My pair of Sofft shoes are just that: SOFT. Like little foot cushions, but with heels. And I’d bet my life these patent pumps are no different. Plus, just look at that sassy little platform. Meeeow!

These are from a few seasons back, but totally timeless, in my opinion. My red suede pair never fails to draw compliments, and I adore them fervently. That almond toe is super flattering, the construction is top-notch, and the heel very walk-able.

If all these heels are making your head spin, try these babies on for size. Patent leather and a peep-toe make this sleek flat fabulously sexy. And they come in turquoise, too!

Now, I realize that these are spendier than many of you might like, but here’s the thing: Comfortable shoes are expensive. They’re harder to design and costlier to construct than cheap shoes made from shoddy materials. Especially when we’re talking about something with interesting design details and loads of sass. Making a cute, cheap, comfy BOOT is slightly easier than making a cute, cheap, comfy pump because a boot has a more forgiving, boxy shape. But if you want both comfy and sexily eye-catching, you should be willing to invest. Here’s why it’ll be worth it:

  • Not all of your sexy shoes need to be comfy. A few cheapie pairs that only get worn for sit-down occasions can supplement your collection.
  • Not all of your comfy shoes need to be sexy. As I mentioned above, comfy boots can come cheap as can comfy sneakers.
  • You’re likely to wear these shoes hard, so ponying up for a quality pair will pay off. Remember the importance of cost-per-use.
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  • La Historiadora de Moda

    Born is amazing. I have friends who swear by Dansko. I also have to give a shout out to my Fluevogs.

  • jennypower

    I recently bought a pair of A2 Aerosoles at Kohl's. They are patent leather black heels with a peep toe, and I got them for 48$. I am in love with them. They are the only peep toe I've ever been able to wear – instead of my toes squishing down into the cut-out they actually sit perfectly in the base of the shoe, and the cut out just shows a peek of nail polish. Comfy, sexy, and for me at least, still office appropriate.

  • Michelle

    I have many problems with my feet and can never find sexy shoes that don't have me crying in agony – so this post is great! I recently found 2 pairs of wedge pumps at Merrell of all places. Merrell and Keen are usually my go to for footwear, for comfort and durability but not so much for sexy. I'm dying to get the Camper Bianca and the Sofft Ramona!

  • Darling Petunia

    Yeah, I'm familiar with Camper and I hate them, because they don't come in my size. Fascists!

  • myedit

    Born are great though they take a while to break in….
    Taryn Rose has great designs in comfy styles and of course you can't go wrong with Frye…

  • Blume

    Can I ask, what are we calling 'walkable' here? On the days I walk, it takes me about 25 minutes to get to work. I own lots of what I consider comfortable heels (including Campers and Chie Miharas), and yet they are really not suitable for that kind of walking. I have never quite figured out whether I have a different definition of 'walkable' or whether I just have less patience with foot discomfort and/or more sensitive feet than others.

    (I usually bike to work, which allows me to wear any shoes I want. You get a lot of looks while biking in heels…)

  • Someone

    jennypower has the ticket – Aerosoles (and their A2 line also) have well-made, comfortable, and Very Affordable shoes that can be just great looking or even sexy. I wore some strappy silver Aerosoles heels this weekend to a party and complimenters were surprised at what brand they were.

  • Sal

    Blume: Good point! Walkable, for me, means 20-30 minutes of moderate walking. Or, say, an hour or more of slow museum walking with breaks. I can vouch for the Acreas as meeting these standards, absolutely. The Amsets, too, actually.

    But then, we may have differently sensitive feet …

  • Cynthia

    I just bought a pair of Clarks Indigo Raasas which are both super-cute (YMMV, of course) and incredibly comfortable. I always hated heels when I was younger, but then I learned to ballroom dance and I realized if they could make 2.5" heels that were comfortable to dance in, there had to be 2.5" heels out there that are comfortable to walk in. For me, those brands are Clarks and Ecco, both of which have some cool styles.

  • Leone

    Born is great, but I LOVE me some Fluevogs! Pricey but wonderful.

  • Sheila

    Fluevogs also make some wonderfully comfy low heels and flats!

    I have also found that Seychelles (I have two pairs) are quite comfy, as are Aerosoles.

  • What Would a Nerd Wear

    this is an awesome post! i have recently discovered clarks and love them for comfy sexy shoe-ness, too!

  • Erin

    I have a pair of the Camper Biancas in black patent leather, and I can vouch for their comfy-ness. And they didn't take long to break in, either. Super bonus! I almost always have good luck with most Nine West shoes, too, and they're usu. v. affordable. I have a pair of Born ballet flats that are good, too — but they took a long time to break in.

  • CompassRose

    Fluevog Mini. Any of 'em. Not cheap by a long shot, but comfy (I can run in mine) and HOT HOT HOT! I get comments every time I wear mine. Still. After five years or so. And after five years ago (with occasional maintenance of course) they still look spiffy.

    I do not own any other sexy shoes, cheap or not, as comfy as my Minis.

  • LPC

    Oddly, my Ferragamos and my Louboutins both meet your definition of comfy. But they, of course, are anything but affordable.

  • lisa

    I love the colour of the Camper Leias. Recently I did a purge of all the uncomfortable shoes in my closet (i.e. shoes that hurt or pinch if I have to stand or walk for more than 3 hours straight). You're quite right about not buying cheap shoes and spending more on good ones. Although a couple pairs of Payless shoes made the cut, I can't go back to shopping there now that I'm used to better quality shoes.

  • Julia

    As long as heels are wide enough, they're usually walkable. I just have a problem finding places to wear heels – they click and I feel really self conscious about it unless it's a fancy occasion.

  • Nancy

    Those red suede shoes!!! Be still my beating heart!!! You're totally right, so classic and timeless. And at that price they're a good value because they'll never go out of style. I'm swooning!

  • Charlotte

    Thanks for the tips, Sally–I'm always on the lookout for comfortable shoes that aren't Dansko Professional clogs or Earth shoes, both of which are like wearing nothing on your feet. Dansko's heels are also very comfortable, elegant and solid–no spindly heels or strappy straps, though. Still, they're about as high as I can go in a heel without falling on my face. Franco Sarto makes very moderately priced shoes that are also walkable and some of them are kind of sexy. I read somewhere that they're cut a little wider than most shoes, which certainly helps.

  • Sara Darling

    Ooh, after many years of refusing to wear heels on a daily basis I finally gave in after finding some comfy ones. Fluevogs tend to be pretty comfy, usually have roomy toe boxes, are generally exceptionally lovely, but spendy — and you have to be careful in picking your size as they tend to run 1/2 to 1 full size small. Once you know your size, eBay has some great deals. Born shoes are super comfy but I've had trouble with them pinching a bit at the pinky toe joint on their heels in ways I haven't in their flats. My comfiest heels are 2.5-3 inch ones from Clarks Indigo line. Clarks in general are known for comfort and the Indigo line tends to be super-cute. I wouldn't go jogging in them but I've walked the two miles home from work in both of the pairs I have just fine.

  • tinyjunco

    Clark's Artisan line has the best of both worlds for me – comfortable but supportive as well. too squishy-comfy of a shoe can throw my joints out, which is very painful.

    i have a pair of Clark Passions that i can walk in for three plus hours (in a 2 1/2" heel). i find a wider heel base and straps/covering across the vamp increase comfort. steph

  • Susan

    I came across a pair of leather Maryjane style wedges by BareTraps that are probably the most comfy of anything I've put on my feet.I;m curious about the Tsubos though- do they run true to size ?

  • emm

    If your feet happen to be slightly wide in the metatarsal area (but not a true wide) and regular everywhere else, you might look into Spanish brands. Chie Miharas, Pikolinos, and Campers have become my go-to brands.

    That being said, I've gotten to know my feet pretty well over the years, and no non-wedge heel over 3 inches will be walkable for me for more than half an hour or so, no matter what the brand. I have a 2.5" inch pair of Chies I can and have worn while walking on vacation 5+ hours several days in a row (the Regalitos). On the other hand, I have a 3.5" pair (Otelo) that I will only wear when I'm doing just a little walking and will be sitting frequently.

    Fluevogs sound like they might work, so I'd like to try them someday. And has anyone tried the Ugg Violets? I never thought I'd use Ugg and sexy in the same sentence, but these are wonderfully comfortable and yes, sexy. As wedges with a slight platform, they also let me go above three inches too.

    I now own far fewer and far more expensive shoes than I did in my 20s and 30s, but my back and feet thank me for it. 😉

  • Audi

    I second the Tsubos, Campers, Borns, and Soffts, and I'll throw in a vote for Faryl Robin — the pair I have is sturdily constructed and wonderfully comfy.

  • Laura

    OMG those Tsubo Nabu's *LOVE SWOON LOVE*

  • The Budget Babe

    love all your picks, especially the born clogs! delicious

  • Gracey

    I think it all depends on your definition of sexy, but I'm going to get on the Aerosoles bandwagon. I am wearing a pair of 3-inch pumps, with a delightful peep-toe and they are crazy comfortable. I wore them on my bike (I also bike to work and agree with Blume that you do get some looks!) and have been wearing them all day long, walking around the office. They are very, very comfortable. Corso Como also makes a good comfortable shoe – I have some wedges from them that are great for walking (and bike riding). Like Sal's picks you can usually find them for under $200 at sites like Piperlime.

  • spacegeek

    I think fluevogs are awfully sexy. Don't own any, but I sure like them!

    I have an amazing pair of Pikolinos wedge sandals that are higher than my usual but still cushiony comfy! I am amazed at how great they are an would buy them in all colors if I could find them!

    Like this post. I'm always looking for good shoes!

  • Nancy

    I'm saving up for a pair of Anyi Lu shoes (http://anyilu.com). The designer is a former ballroom designer (as am I), and her shoes are bliss. Nordstrom carries the line.

    Cole Haan's pumps with Nike Air technology are also sexy/comfy.

    And I've heard good things about Dana Davis shoes (http://www.danadavis.com), which are outrageously gorgeous (and spendy). Davis has diabetes-related foot problems and has undergone eight (!) foot surgeries; she turned her quest for comfortable shoes into a business.

  • Anonymous

    I have to give a shout out to two of my faves not yet mentioned: Terra Plana and Beyond Skin. I have heels from both, which I wear all day for work (and that means a lot of walking and standing), and they've never let me down. I've worn my Beyond Skin pumps all over Paris for days in a row–and that a *lot* of walking.

  • tastymoog

    camper is great. I know a few people who have had some sizing issues with them, but I've always had good experiences, comfort and fit-wise.

    my etienne aigner loafers are very comfy.

    bass is also good, though I find them to run a tad large (at least current versions– vintage seem to fit my normal size).

  • tastymoog

    oh, and Born? I had a pair of Born loafers that I wore so much, I got a hole in the sole within a year. They were sooo comfy. (yea, I got a thang for loafers).

  • The Waves

    I guess my comfiest not-outrageously-expensive heels would be Campers. The rubber heel does wonders! My sister loves her Clarks. I have never owned a pair myself so I can't vouch for them though.

    I do agree that you have to be willing to pay a bit extra for comfort. You can get cheap shoes that are superbly pretty, but comfort is quite a different beast…

  • Rad_in_Broolyn

    I second the Born, Aerosole, and Clarks recommendations. I also find that Eccos can be comfortable. Some of the Tahari shoes you can find at DSW are comfortable. Anything with a non-synthetic sole usually flies when in my book. Preferrably under 2 1/2 " for walking more than 3-4 hours. I've taught in 3" shoes before and the end of the day, my feet are mad at me. That's what the office flats are for.

  • Valerie-MN

    I agree on Born, Clark's Indigo, and Sofft. Another line I find very sexy and comfortable are Bandolino shoes. I have several of their pumps with animal print on the toes or details on the toes. I also have worn to death a pair of their heeled sandals. I haven't worn any of the sexy Danksos, but I have a pair of mary janes and a pair of the patent clogs and I love them for professional wear/comfort. If anyone is looking for sexy sandals, check out the patent Birkenstocks or the pretty printed Birkenstocks. I have found very pretty ones on the QVC website or at the retail Birkenstock stores.

  • emm

    anon @6:50: don't know if you'll see this, bu thanks for mentioning two brands I'd never heard of. The Beyond Skin shoes are very cute, but do they make your feet sweat in warm weather? That's my only concern about vegan shoes.

  • Madeleine

    Walkable for 30 mins and sexy? I have accepted that the shoes I consider sexy are not going to be suitable for walking further than 10 mins. Once I got my head around that, I just accepted that I need to carry a pair of flats and change.

  • Sal

    Susan: In my experience, Tsubos run true to size.

  • spacegeek

    Where can I find a large selection of Chie Mihara shoes? Love the general looks but so far nothng has screamed "have to have". And I want to try on Fluevogs before I commit… same kind of question. Anyone know where these shoes can be found in-store??

  • Susan

    Oh good, cause I just bought me a pair of Anush off ebay and they're on their way!
    I'ma so cited
    I will advise if there are any idiosycratic fitting issues.
    WHeee

  • Laikabear

    Wow, you answered my question! Thanks!!

    I am definitely going to be getting a pair of the last two – the Camper Leia and the Tsubo Amset! My feet are a little narrow in the heels and I have a problem with a lot of my cheap flats slipping off. I'm going to have to look and see if there's a place I can try these on!

    Thanks again!!

  • Jenniferocious

    I just today got a pair of wedge heeled Softspots shoes that I got off eBay. They retail for no less than $70, but I got a pair new-in-box for less than $9.00. I only just got them, so I can't say for sure, but so far they seem really comfy! And they have excellent reviews on Zappos.

    I'd say to scour eBay for shoe bargains. You never know what you'll find!

  • Flitryss

    The Camper Leias are adorable. Seeking them locally for sure!

  • Anonymous

    @ emm-I don't find that my feet sweat any more than usual in the Beyond Skin pumps–but my feet sweat a lot, regardless, so I'm not sure a slight change would be noticeable to me :). I do tend to be in air-conditioned office buildings all day (and if I'm in Paris, Paris is freezing. It's a rule), and I would not put them on in the crazyhot weather we've had for the last week or so. I have not tried any of their more summer-y styles yet, but it's on my list, because those pumps are my go-to shoes.

  • Emily Kennedy

    So true so true about the link between comfort and price. I firmly advocate for Borns. I have had OK luck with Soffts, but I would try them again.

    You got it lady!

  • Michelle

    I bought the Camper Bianca you suggested, (got the last khaki pair in size 6!) they are great! Didn't wear them for a long period of time yet, but I can at least walk in them which is a plus. Thanks again for these suggestions, I love your blog.

  • VJ

    Sofft is a very comfortable shoe. I can not wear just any shoe. It must be well made and have a stable and comfortable footbed. Nuture (sold at Dillard’s) is also a very very comfortable shoe. I love both of these brands. They are exactly what I’ve been searching for. Comfort with style, and they deliver.