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Professional footwear that's actually comfortable

Comfortable shoes that are office-friendly

Looking for office-friendly footwear that’s actually comfortable? Believe it or not, there are plenty of options out there beyond ballet flats, slip-ons and sneakers. In fact, many of these pairs are made by popular shoe manufacturers that now incorporate a wealth of comfort features into their designs. 

Finding comfortable footwear involves examining a few key features, including cushioning, toe box design and fit. Ideally, shoes should offer a reasonable degree of flexibility and support to keep feet comfortable throughout the day. Aesthetically, the footwear should have clean, sophisticated lines that complement your professional wardrobe, too.

Key considerations for finding comfortable footwear

Features to look for in comfortable shoes

While it’s always recommended to try on shoes before you buy them, it’s helpful to examine key design features to determine their overall comfort level. 

Toe box: Comfortable footwear usually has wider toe boxes that leave ample room for toes. Rectangular and rounded toes are considered the most comfortable, whereas pointed footwear is often narrow and restrictive. 

Flexible materials: Flexible materials, such as mesh, polyester, elastic and some leather, allow wearers to walk and move freely. These shoes usually have the most flex at “bend points,” namely across the toes or around the ankles. 

Cushioning: Shoes with cushioned insoles or shock-absorbing outsoles provide the most impact support. They cushion and cradle feet with memory foam or gel that molds to the shape of feet to provide a near-custom fit.

Adjustability features: Laces, elastic straps and buckles give the footwear an adjustable fit. They come in handy for wearers who need to adjust fit styles based on the type of socks or hosiery they intend to wear.

How to find the right shoe fit

When you try on footwear, be sure to wear the socks or hosiery you expect to wear with them the most. For example, it’s a good idea to try on shoes with dress socks instead of thicker athletic socks. Individuals that regularly use orthotics or insoles should place them inside shoes to get a true feel for the overall fit as well.

Accessories that make shoes more comfortable

Many people invest in accessories that make shoes more comfortable and tolerable for commuting and all-day wear at work. Some of these footwear accessories provide more support and shock absorption, whereas others reduce rubbing at high-friction areas.

Dr. Scholl’s Heavy Duty Support Orthotics are designed with an arch guard that helps distribute weight more evenly across feet. They’re equipped with full-length cushioning and a heel shock absorber. 

ProFoot Plantar Fasciitis and Heel Pain Insoles are ergonomically contoured to cradle and support the heel with a gel insert. The insoles fit easily in most types of footwear, including boots and some pumps. 

Makryn Premium Heel Grips are made with soft microfiber to reduce friction between the Achilles heel and back of the shoe. The self-stick grips are lightly cushioned and won’t negatively impact the shoe’s fit. 

How much you can expect to spend on comfortable, professional footwear

Comfortable, professional footwear with basic features like cushioning or adjustability start at around $40. Mid-range styles with better construction and more comfort features cost $65-$100. Designer footwear with better aesthetics and premium comfort features costs $125 and above. 

Comfortable footwear you can wear to the office

Comfortable, professional footwear for women

Skechers Cleo Bewitch Women’s Flats

These flexible Skechers flats have a sleek, seamless design and a slightly tapered toe. Their shock-absorbing midsole is suitable for commuting and long periods of standing, plus they’re machine washable. 

Sold by: Amazon and Kohl’s

Clarks Women’s Sharon Gracie Penny Loafer

A trendy spin on the classic loafer, this Clarks platform style is as comfortable as it is fashionable. The shoe has an Ortholite footbed, moisture-wicking insole and a smooth textile lining. 

Sold by: Amazon and Macy’s

LifeStride Women’s Suki Pump

This comfortable pump has a modest 2.76-inch heel and a wide-cut instep. The shoe has an elastic strap that naturally flexes with your stride. It’s available in several colors, including some with shiny patent finishes. 

Sold by: Amazon and Macy’s

Easy Street Women’s Proper Pumps

A modern pair, this Easy Street pump is appreciated for its low block heel and soft, rounded toe box. It has a Super Flex outsole and a cushioned insole for maximum comfort. 

Sold by: Macy’s

Naturalizer Women’s Banks Slingbacks

Elegant and chic, these slingbacks have a modest heel that adds just enough height to elevate the style. The strap features an adjustable buckle to provide a near-custom fit. It’s available in black and nude.  

Sold by: Macy’s

Comfortable, professional footwear for men

Johnston & Murphy Men’s McGuffey Plain Toe Shoes

Suitable for business casual wear, this upscale shoe dons the Oxford look with a comfortable slip-on style. It features a cushioned insole and oiled full-grain leather upper, both of which contribute to a flexible fit. 

Sold by: Macy’s

Croft & Barrow Perry Men’s Bicycle-Toe Dress Shoes

Simple and versatile, this Croft & Barrow style has a spacious toe box and elastic side details. It’s designed with Ortholite technology, which boosts airflow around the foot and wicks away moisture. 

Sold by: Kohl’s

Clarks Men’s Bushacre 2 Chukka Boot

Touted as one of Clarks’ most comfortable boot styles, the Bushacre 2 Chukka is appreciated for its rugged sophistication. The boot has a full-grain leather sockliner and cushioned insole for support and comfort.

Sold by: Amazon and Macy’s

Skechers Men’s Casual Cell Wrap Sneakers

These low-profile Skechers are considered ideal for commuting given their water-resistant shell material and shock-absorbing flexible midsole. The lightweight, breathable design is available in black and dark gray colorways. 

Sold by: Macy’s

Nunn Bush Men’s Cam Moc Toe Slip-On Shoes

While they have a professional appearance, wearers liken the fit of this slip-on style to athletic shoes. It’s equipped with a fully padded mesh lining as well as an anatomically designed gel pad to absorb shock. 

Sold by: Kohl’s


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Sian Babish writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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