Comfortable shoes in the UK
February 17, 2009 10:06 AM   Subscribe

Help me find comfortable shoes I can buy from a shop in the UK.

I do a lot of walking around, and my job involves a fair amount of standing up, so I want to buy a pair of really comfortable shoes I can walk for miles in. I had a pair of Skechers trainers which were great, but they wore out, and the replacement pair are nowhere near as good and give me sore feet. I don't want to buy shoes online, which rules out a lot of previous AskMe comfy shoe suggestions as they're not available in the UK. I have wide size 6/7 women's feet, I prefer trainers but I'm not fussed about style if they're comfortable, and I'm willing to pay up to £80 or so.

Any suggestions for brands and/or shops I could check out? I'm based in Cambridge but could get to London shops.
posted by penguinliz to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Ecco. You'll find them in any good shoeshop.
posted by fire&wings at 10:26 AM on February 17, 2009

As a man I love me some Clarks. They are dirt cheap and their boots are incredibly comfortable. I walked all over the place for a year and wore them out but they were super comfortable all the time. I went and bought a replacement shoe right away. I can't vouch for their women's line though. Clark's is a UK brand and are everywhere.

Googling shows a store in Cambridge called Advanced Performance which appears to be focused 100% on getting comfortable well-suited trainers on your feet. They have New Balance, which is supposed to be a good sneaker brand.
posted by Deathalicious at 11:02 AM on February 17, 2009

Yeah, when I lived in London, I wore Clarks shoes and Camper shoes. Campers can be pricey but are pretty comfortable and very durable. Clarks are pretty great and readily available all over.
posted by bluefly at 11:28 AM on February 17, 2009

The Natural Shoe Store do a selection of very comfortable brands. I recommended them a few weeks ago to a work colleague who was looking for comfortable shoes and she managed to find exactly what she wanted there. I know they have shops in Covent Garden and Richmond, but I suspect that there are others. They tend to be somewhat pricey - you're probably looking at the upper limit of your price band - but they're good leather shoes that last for ages.

In general, there is a remarkably good selection of these kinds of shoe shop - The Natural Shoe Store, Camper, Birkenstock, Ecco, Terra Plana, a couple of others I can't remember the names of - in Covent Garden on and around Neil Street. It annoys me sometimes because it used to be a somewhat eccentric shopping area with all kinds of odd little shops, and now it is just Shoeland; but for your purposes this is ideal. Spend a few hours walking around between Long Acre and Seven Dials and I doubt you'll come away unshod.

There are also shops in Cambridge that do this kind of thing - one on that little street between Trinity and Caius, for example, and another one I forget the location of - but I would still go to Covent Garden for it, because if you're going to drop up to eighty quid you want to be sure you've looked at as many different shoes as possible.
posted by Acheman at 12:33 PM on February 17, 2009

Yep, just bought a pair of Clarks, and they're great! It was a tough decision, though; I walked around the shoe shop for about 30 mins with the shoe I bought on one foot and a Mephisto sneaker on the other. The Mephistos were something else entirely, truly heavenly, but in the end I couldn't bring myself to spend $400 on one pair of shoes, so the Clarks won out.
posted by carsonb at 12:34 PM on February 17, 2009

I have hiking boots from The North Face that look much like trainers, and they are the most comfortable shoes that I own. In particular, the insoles are incredibly well designed for me. The North Face has a shop in Covent Garden, but I think that their shoes are also readily available in outdoors-y shops.
posted by sueinnyc at 2:29 PM on February 17, 2009

Camper. You've just missed their sale (the saleswoman told me it was due to end yesterday) which had trainers for 60-80 quid, but you might get lucky at the Foubert Place/ Carnaby Street outlet which has a better range than either Oxford St or Old Bond St (can you tell I was shoe shopping last weekend?). They're very light, very comfortable and have a two year guarantee. They're also often trendier or can be dressed up more than many comfortable shoes. Look online to see how you like the style.
posted by tavegyl at 1:25 AM on February 18, 2009

To disent slightly, my Camper shoes are very nice but not particularly comfortable. They have a very thin, uncushioned sole which means I wouldn't wnat to do too much walking in them (although obviously styles differ.)

I've recently bought a pair of Karrimor trainers. They were dirt cheap and seem to be massively reduced everywhere, including big sportswear chains like JJB. They are comfortable and, since they are hiking shoes, I would hope they are very hard wearing. They are also much less overbuilt than some brands of hiking shoe (like Merrell) which means they are better for walking in town, wearing to the office, etc.

Prior to that I wore a pair of New Balance trainers which were very comfortable. I killed them after about 18 months heavy use but I got my money out of them.
posted by ninebelow at 9:32 AM on February 18, 2009

I'd second The Natural Shoe Store and a trip to Covent Garden. I also came across a shop on the outskirts of Cambridge that do custom shoes / trainers but can't find it at the moment.

I and a few members of my family went through an "Ecco phase" a couple of years back but I'm afraid I can't recommend them. 4 out of 5 pairs of shoes (from 3 people) have developed cracks in the soles below the ball of the foot. Although comfortable, the shoes seem to be poorly made and have consistently failed after as little as 12 months of light use.

This may sound bizarre but now, I generally don't trust shoes that feel fully broken in and comfortable when they are purchased - the shoes I have that took a few months to break in properly (typically men's leather shoes with leather or sturdy rubber soles) have lasted for many years of regular use.
posted by tkbarbarian at 2:02 PM on February 18, 2009

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