Pretty shoes for Problematic Feet
April 11, 2011 9:51 AM   Subscribe

Help me find pretty, comfortable women's shoes that don't kill my problematic feet.

So, my feet are various sorts of messed up. Apparently, my arches are high, I put too much pressure on the ball of my foot, and I have three hammertoes on each foot, with my little toes each slightly bent under the one next to it. I have a bone spur on the top of each foot and seems like one along the side because of the position of that little toe. I have seen a podiatrist (about six months ago) for tendinitis in a foot that has since resolved. She advised me to buy some Dr Scholl's inserts that I wear in most shoes.

If a shoe is comfy, I still often have to deal with my toes scraping the top, even if the toebox itself is wide. I don't even like shoes that are too wide, nor do I like shoes that are too narrow/pointy. My feet aren't wide, but I am a size 9, so I try to choose shoes that don't make my foot look visually longer.

I live in NYC, so I need something I can walk in. I bought these cute Aerosoles low heeled pumps recently and they feel great on the bottom, but my toes rub against the top inside of the shoe, causing pain. I have moleskine pads stuck in there already that don't help enough. I bought those after the first rubbing/pain incident.

The only things I seem to be able to wear with near complete comfort are maryjanes and sneakers, or something with an open toe (which can still rub against the tops f my toes too, so it's no guarantee). I've also had the toe rubbing with maryjanes, actually. Even ballet flats that are otherwise comfortable can rub my toes to shreds. I can't wear thongs/flip flops or anything that goes between the toes because the skin will blister and crack.

But I'd like to wear pretty shoes that don't look like something my grandma would wear, perhaps a low heel, maybe a wedge, not always flats or sneakers. I don't like clogs, stiletto heels, or anything too extreme. Nothing chunky, no loafers, no moccasins, nothing too menswear-ish. I'm really girly, and for years, I wore dresses with socks and maryjanes or with sneakers because of these issues. I thought I was just super picky with shoes, but needing them to be comfy enough to walk a mile or two in was just the beginning.

I want things that look pretty with dresses and skirts, since I love wearing those, but also occasionally with jeans. I'd also need good professional/interview footwear. Warm weather should be okay since I can probably find good sandals, but I need closed-toe pretty shoes too.

I can't afford to get my toes fixed right now, so how to find comfortable, cute shoes or to make shoes that I do buy not kill my feet?
posted by cmgonzalez to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (13 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
Have you tried taking shoes that are almost right to a cobbler? They can stretch the leather to give you a little more room at the top of your toes. I've done this a couple of times with great success.
posted by rosa at 10:09 AM on April 11, 2011

Check out Sofft brand shoes. They have some very attractive, comfortable options.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 10:09 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Huh. What are my feet doing at the end of your legs?

Anyway. I've found myself wearing a lot of relatively low-heeled dress sandals, especially SAS. Naturalizer, Clark's, and Ecco also works for me--being able to adjust all the straps is a major plus. For close-toed shoes, I've been pleasantly surprised by Born.
posted by thomas j wise at 10:15 AM on April 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Barking Dog Shoes provides detailed reviews of comfortable shoes for women and offers good discounts.
posted by rdc at 10:16 AM on April 11, 2011 [2 favorites]

Have you ever tried on Born shoes? Although I don't have your specific issues, I could never find comfortable shoes, especially heels, until I bought my first pair of these to wear with slacks. They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, and I bought a pair of ankle-high boots this year. I swear I could run a marathon in them. Maybe try them on in a department store and see if they work.
posted by raisingsand at 10:19 AM on April 11, 2011

These Softspots have been my summer sandals for years.

I just started wearing these Nayas and they're shockingly comfortable (for heels) - I got them in two colors.

(For some reason Sofft and Born shoes never fit me right, though I keep trying because they're often really beautiful).

Your feet actually sound not so much like mine (although I feel like shoes cause me a lot of the same problems, blisters in the same places, etc), but what I've found is that I just have to try try try. I love zappos for that, try on shoes, walk around my carpeted workplace, send them back.
posted by Salamandrous at 10:34 AM on April 11, 2011

Response by poster: Casual recommendations are fine too. I just want a few options I can rotate through after dealing with these issues for years, and need a little guidance. These are helpful so far.
posted by cmgonzalez at 10:48 AM on April 11, 2011

My wife would recommend Fluevogs. She also has finicky feet with some of the same needs as you.
posted by adamrice at 10:56 AM on April 11, 2011

Not cheap, but Naot has super cute shoes shoes for casual and work wear. I have a pair of Matais that my corn-prone overpronating feet love. Read the reviews on their site and over at Zappos -- lots of folks with lots of foot problems are thrilled with them.

Oh, and I know you said no clogs, but my Dansko clogs are the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned. I look forward to the first chilly day in autumn so I can get them back on my feet!
posted by apparently at 10:56 AM on April 11, 2011

Also not cheap, but worth it: Terra plana and Camper shoesare fabulously comfortable and easy on the eyes
posted by helion at 1:47 PM on April 11, 2011

I'm a fan of Fitzwell shoes - They come in a range of widths, and the toe box on the Captains I own are roomy. I have the same high arches you do, with too much pressure on the balls of the feet. I have bunions though, not hammertoe, so my toe boxes need to be wider, not taller.
posted by twoporedomain at 8:22 AM on April 12, 2011

I second the suggestion for Camper shoes. They are comfortable and super cute. There's a Soho boutique for them too, so you can at least try them on before you buy.
posted by slimceagirrl at 6:08 PM on April 15, 2011

Response by poster: Just a little update. I've been browsing around some of these brands and seeing what I might like. These are good places to start since I haven't heard of some of these/or ignored them before.

My favorite pair of shoes of all time were actually from Camper. I bought them in Spain and they lasted a good eight years or so before I wore a hole in the leather and destroyed the soles. They were definitely on my list before.
posted by cmgonzalez at 8:36 AM on April 20, 2011

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