Bad feet love beauty too!
October 4, 2011 4:01 PM   Subscribe

I have bad feet, but I want cute shoes for work. Who sells good quality, fashionable shoes these days?

A recent visit to the podiatrist confirmed it: my feet suck. No arches at all, bunions, plantar fasciitis, the whole works. I have been strictly instructed to wear sturdy flats (with good arch support) or one inch pumps - nothing higher if I would like to still be walking at age sixty.

But when I go to the shoe store, all I find in the required styles are boring black and brown, with the occasional daring foray into beige. It makes me sad.

Is there anyone out there in MeFi land who has found an awesome shoe brand that makes colorful shoes for people with pathetic feet? Or am I doomed to have boring shoes forever?
posted by backwards compatible to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (30 answers total) 61 users marked this as a favorite
I have these and I love them! People compliment them all the time. Danskos are handmade and you should try on three of the same style and size before choosing. Also, there should be room behind your ankle.
posted by dchrssyr at 4:12 PM on October 4, 2011 [2 favorites]

My wife would recommend you look at Fleuvogs. She refuses to wear uncomfortable shoes and has had problems with plantar fasciitis (but memail me about that). She's got several pair, and routinely gets compliments on them. Colorful and funky and well-made.
posted by adamrice at 4:16 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I have bad feet and I love Cydwoqs, but they are not cheap. I also buy Superfeet and slip them into shoes that have a removable insert. Miles better than Dr. Scholls, and come in lots of different styles/fits.

A warning about Danskos: the styles that have no heel will make your foot work to keep the shoe on. I've had two specialists tell me that is bad for already taxed feet.
posted by Specklet at 4:18 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

What do you usually wear for work? Dresses? Suits? Pant suits?

I walk a lot on pavement every day and after many years of stilettos and pavement, my feet now protest anything that is uncomfortable.

I have a pair of Marc Jacobs flats that have a little bit of heel that go great with anything. They are slightly more expensive than what I like to spend, but they are black patent and it is from his line of Marc by Marc Jacobs. They are super comfortable.

Geox make unbelievably comfortable shoes and some of them are even attractive! I like Clarks too. I have had Clarks from when I was a little kid and they are great shoes. Also, try Born. They are not necessarily pretty, but fantastic shoes.

Occasionally I find beautiful heels that are very comfortable, but I am not sure you want to test your feet on them since your doctor said no more than an inch heel. Maybe the booties that are coming out will be to your liking too!

I am not fond of comfortable shoes since they are usually not pretty so I know what you are up against. Good luck with shoe shopping!!
posted by Yellow at 4:23 PM on October 4, 2011

Clarks! (They carry them at Zappos, so free shipping.)
posted by BlahLaLa at 4:27 PM on October 4, 2011

I feel your pain (literally)! A friend of a friend runs this blog - she reviews comfortable shoes and some are pretty cute. Also, I was about to buy Dansko clogs and then read that they are no longer made by the company that used to make them (Sanita) so I just bought a pair of Sanita clogs (look just like the Dansko's but according to the comments they are better made). I have a lot of the same foot problems that you have and these clogs feel wonderful!
posted by la petite marie at 4:29 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Alegrias! I work in a bookstore and I'm on my feet for 8 hours a day. Alegrias are the ONLY shoes that don't hurt at the end of the day. I love them so much that I actually own two pairs in different patterns. Plus, they're really cute and different and come in about a zillion colors and patterns. They are honestly the most comfortable shoes I have ever owned, way better than Danskos. I've had trouble with plantar fasciitis and I am supposed to wear arch supports every day but with the Alegrias I don't even need inserts.
posted by mygothlaundry at 4:33 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I second Fluevogs, Cydwoq, and Danskos (with the caveat that the quality of Danskos has faltered in the last few years since they started being made in China). I would add to the mix Pikolinos and Arche.
posted by kimdog at 4:45 PM on October 4, 2011

I should have mentioned that my office is very formal, so clogs won't do, I'm afraid.
posted by backwards compatible at 4:50 PM on October 4, 2011

They don't all have great arch support, but a lot of Me Too flats are amazingly comfortable.

This isn't what you asked, but it is possible to improve messed-up feet. I have problems similar to yours. Recently I have been attempting to strengthen my feet. I've gradually built up to doing a lot of walking in barefoot-style shoes (Vibram five fingers or similar). I started doing this after reading Born To Run, which suggests that attempts to support feet with lots of cushioning, arch supports, orthotics, etc., may actually worsen foot pain and running injuries. My foot pain has dramatically decreased; the bad bunion pain I used to have every day has gone away; I've stopped needing to wear my orthotics in many shoes; and I can wear a lot more different types of shoes without pain. So maybe that's worth a try.
posted by medusa at 4:53 PM on October 4, 2011

I like Born but only the ones with soft rubbery soles.
posted by francesca too at 4:57 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I really like Born shoes, too. Here's a simple flat that comes in a few nice colors, and a basic flat is here.
posted by jabes at 5:02 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Indigo by Clarks is the more stylish version of Clarks, and their flats are nice and structured. My foot is borderline narrow, so these tend to run a little wide for me, but that's fine because I stick some superfeet insoles in them.

Born is my favorite comfortable shoe brand, followed by ecco. Also, Cole Haan makes an "air" version of their shoes (as in Nike Air). These look incredible, but are too pricey for me.
posted by smalls at 5:12 PM on October 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was never into any particular brand until I started wearing Clarks. Now I have a pair of low heels, medium heels, high heels, and two pairs of walking shoes. If I had the cash I'd buy Fluevogs too, but those are pricey.
posted by arcticwoman at 5:13 PM on October 4, 2011

Ask your doctor about wedges. I've found some really cute platform wedges that look like they have 2-3 inch heels, with the platform though the heel is really only raised an inch. You might have better luck, but you'll probably have to take a tape measure with you on shopping trips.
posted by TooFewShoes at 5:15 PM on October 4, 2011

Ditto the Cole Haan Air shoes. I've tried them on--they really do feel like heaven. But they are pretty pricy. Still, there's a lot of variety in the line with plenty of color. Check out this selection of flats.
posted by litnerd at 5:24 PM on October 4, 2011

Fitzwell! Their palette does not venture beyond brown and black but they do have a good variety of styles and heel heights, and the shoes themselves are very comfortable and well-made.

If you're intent on having a zazzy color for your shoes, it looks like you have two choices:

* Find a Cydwoq shoe you like and order a custom color.

* Run a Zappo's search by shoe type, wide width, color:white. Find a style you like, then dye them yourself. (Which is totally do-able. Memail me for details.)

I was going to recommend La Canadienne until I saw that you live in Houston. I'm stickin' the link in here anyway, because these shoes and boots are absolutely essential for real winters.
posted by dogrose at 5:42 PM on October 4, 2011

There are some good choices at FootSmart.
posted by candyland at 5:54 PM on October 4, 2011

Alegrias (which I'm seconding - and I have rheumatoid arthritis pretty badly in my feet) also come in Mary Janes. Marshmallow clouds. Born are pretty cute too - but can't wear them everyday. Alegrias.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 6:13 PM on October 4, 2011

I have flat feet, although I don't have near your level of difficulties, and I looove Indigo by Clarks as said above. I get a million compliments and I can walk in them all day. I hope they work for you, but don't let the secret out! Just kidding, please let the secret out.
posted by sweetkid at 6:14 PM on October 4, 2011

Check out the blog Barking Dog Shoes: Fashionable Finds for Fussy Feet and look at the posts tagged "Comfortable Women's Dress Shoes."
posted by virago at 6:18 PM on October 4, 2011

Clarks, hush puppies, and naturalizer. I have weird feet too, so I'm forced to buy online. This leads to a greater color selection, because warehouses can stock teal and silver, etc.
posted by bilabial at 6:48 PM on October 4, 2011

I love, love, love Anyi Lu's shoes. I can't stand wearing dressy shoes, and her company makes the most comfortable & cute shoes. (warning: expensive...but well worth it, IMO).
posted by bolognius maximus at 7:19 PM on October 4, 2011

Also, if there's a local shoe store you love supporting? They might special order shoes for you.

But that might cost more than black or brown.
posted by bilabial at 7:19 PM on October 4, 2011

I've had good luck at Naturalizer and Naot. (I don't have bad feet, but that's because I've never worn shoes that were going to destroy my feet.) It's kind of hit-or-miss with the styles, though. Some of them are fashionable, some of them definitely look like granny shoes.
posted by Green Eyed Monster at 7:43 PM on October 4, 2011

Nthing Clarks (both the standard and the Idigo line) Ecco (very nice, very comfy) and Fluvog -- over the top but comfy and striking. All three lines make nice, elegant, stylish shoes that don't have mile-high heels.

Alas, they're all expensive.

As I get older I've found that I HAVE to buy expensive shoes; happy cheapies from China, or even reasonably mid-priced brands from Winners or The Bay, make me hobble pathetically after about an hour of standing. But buying good shoes means that I'm still wearing shoes and boots that I bought five years ago, which is all to the good.
posted by jrochest at 10:25 PM on October 4, 2011 [3 favorites]

Dansko makes more than just clogs. I have a pair of Mary Janes (these: only I bought them on Zappos, though they no longer seem to be available there) that would absolutely work in a more "formal" setting.
posted by sonika at 5:50 AM on October 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

Indigo by Clarks and naturalizer have both been good to me (flat feet too). But my biggest recommendation is -- go to Nordstrom's if you have one. They have a great shoe department that actually helps you.
posted by ejaned8 at 6:35 AM on October 5, 2011

Nthing Fleuvogs. They are exceptional. Nothing else quite cuts it for me.
posted by thegreatfleecircus at 1:43 PM on October 5, 2011

As I get older I've found that I HAVE to buy expensive shoes;

I so second this, and yes, the good shoes will last a long time, especially with resoling, zipper replacements, etc. My shoe taste doesn't change much though, so I've had a lot of my shoes for 5-7 years. Sandals wear out pretty quickly, but other shoes, boots especially, can last a long, long time.
posted by sweetkid at 1:56 PM on October 5, 2011

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