Tired of being the frumpy gal at the club.
January 24, 2012 5:43 AM   Subscribe

I'm a fashionable young lady with knee instability and size 9 feet. I have never owned a pair of heels in my life, but I want a pair I can wear to the club.

All I know is that I'm overwhelmed by the billions of models of sexy, low-heeled black pumps and I have noooo idea where to start trying things on.

I'm 5'8", so while I like the look of tall heels, I can get away with and prefer around 2" heels. I'm slightly overweight and clumsy, my feet are not trained for the shape heels put them in and my knees are a little quirky sometimes, so the more comfortable right off the bat, the better. Black, patent black or a cool neutral or nude are preferred. Ideally, I'm looking for a pair of classic pumps (preferably a model women have been wearing for a long time, so I know it's well-reviewed - do these exist?)

I'm a huge fan of Zappos. I can try things on in person, but I need a list of brands and models to try first. I really, really don't want to wear anything from Payless, because I've never had a pair of shoes from stores on that level that didn't shred my ankles or upper feet into a bloody pulp. I'm okay spending 100-200 dollars if they're worth the splurge.
posted by theraflu to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (15 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
As a lady with larger feet, looking for comfy heels, Fluevogs are your friend (I'm a size 10 with wide feet, and I love my 'Vogs). What about these?
posted by purlgurly at 5:55 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I should have noted: not a big fan of ankle straps, mary janes, designs or Fluevogs in general. Too busy! I like simple, sexy, minimalist, comfortable.
posted by theraflu at 6:01 AM on January 24, 2012

I've heard great things about Chie Mihara shoes, but they're on the expensive side.
posted by Ms. Moonlight at 6:02 AM on January 24, 2012

I love Sofft shoes. Sometimes they can look a little frumpy because they definitely have a chunkier heel as opposed to the very thin, stiletto heel. Frankly, I need the stability of that thicker heel because I'm clumsy in high heels myself.
posted by gladly at 6:29 AM on January 24, 2012 [3 favorites]

Check out Hush Puppies womens' heels selection. They have some shoes which are quite practical yet totally club-appropriate.

This is a UK site I've linked you to, but they are a global brand.
posted by Ziggy500 at 6:41 AM on January 24, 2012

I too have wonky knees! I've had my best experiences with Rieker and Hush Puppies heels. Very solid, both have been noticeably more comfortable "heels" experiences than other brands. I never wear more than 2" unless I'm feeling adventurous, since I'm 5'11"... :) (also, even in flats sometimes a knee will go, "thpppthpppt! I do not want to work any more, nya!" which is not easily recoverable in tall heels...) That said, I live in Europe and don't have access to some of the options other commenters mention. I will say you're right not to buy whichever, I've had bad experiences with shoes that work decently for others (all French makes).
posted by fraula at 6:43 AM on January 24, 2012

Must they be heels? i'm a fan of wedge pumps--the Ivanks Trump line at Zappos are really quite well-made. Looks like a low-cut pump from the front, and the wedge gives you the height of a heel but with greater stability.
posted by Ideefixe at 6:53 AM on January 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I sound similar to you – size 8.5 in heels, 5’8 height. I am constantly on the lookout for sophisticated, classic heels that are easy to walk in for extended periods of time and don’t leave my ankles a bloody mess by the end of the day (which I would say 90% of new shoes tend to do). I tend to prefer rounded toes rather than pointy, especially if the heel is low, just because pointy toes tend to make my feet look absurdly enormous and no matter how sophisticated the design of the shoe is, I end up feeling like Sideshow Bob. Rounded usually looks a little more cutsy and less sexy though, so you may want to go for the pointed toe for clubbing. If you do, I would go for a slightly higher heel, the angle of the foot tends to downplay the length added by the pointed toe. If you get a good pair, the heel height should not impede your comfort or ability to walk. As for specific recommendations:

1. Brands: Calvin Klein, Corso Como, Stuart Weitzman, Mossimo (from Target – bear with me here).

2. Calvin Klein Ashley pump: Classic black pointed toe 2.5 inch heel. Check the picture of the sole, there is a squishy plastic part that adds nice shock absorption.

3. Stuart Weitzman Dotty. I think these are so adorable. You mentioned you don’t like embellishments though so this may not be your thing. Some SW pumps have super soft stretchy leather with elastic around the heels (basically ballet flat in heel form) that are absurdly comfortable and safe from the dreaded heel shredding.

4. Here is a more classic SW pump: May be a little boring for nighttime though.

5. Target shoes are hit or miss and definitely vary wildly as to quality, but when they are good they are hidden gems. I own these and even though the heel is super high I can walk in them all day. Really, unbelievably comfortable.

6. Also Target, I do not own these but they also seem to get good reviews and are a little sexier in the patent leather.

7. Corso Como is also ridiculously comfortable right out of the box. I have Del which comes in a million colors and has a cute little rhinestone embedded in the sole, but they also have lower heeled, similar versions.
posted by frolic at 6:55 AM on January 24, 2012 [2 favorites]

The quality is more hit-or-miss than it used to be, but I have some favorite low-heeled shoes from Aerosoles. (They don't seem to have them at Zappos, but Endless also does free 2-way shipping. I do not recommend buying them directly from the Aerosoles site, although if you have a store nearby they have great sales.)
posted by JoanArkham at 7:17 AM on January 24, 2012

I sprained my ankle big time a few years back and then sprained the other ankle a couple of years later. I've never been the same. I love my heels. Try Joan and David and Charles David. They are a little more expensive, but not too terribly overpriced (under $200, sometimes you will find a sale and get them for $60!) They are very comfortable and I am able to wear five to six inch heels. Try a platform front with a tapered heel. I walk a lot. I live in NYC and when I mean I walk a lot, I mean I walk about an average of a mile on concrete and up and down stairs (I take the subway everywhere) on a daily basis.
posted by Yellow at 7:22 AM on January 24, 2012

I know you say you'd like a list to try on, but in your situation - comfort first - and with your price range, I'd seriously consider going to Nordstrom, explaining what you are looking for to a salesperson, and trying on the shoes they recommend.
posted by insectosaurus at 7:39 AM on January 24, 2012

Response by poster: Thank you everyone! Narrowing it down to just brands helps a ton! I'm a fan of Sofft, Clarks and Aerosoles for my day to day flats and boots but I've never ventured into fancy party heel territory. Nordstrom Rack was not fruitful, I'll be sure to check out real Nordstrom.

A quick bonus question. I just want to check: is there a rule I never learned regarding sizing on pumps? I'm a 9 to a 9.5 in my everyday shoes, depending on the brand - do I order a 9 to try on heels, or an 8.5? If I order online, I'd like to have a better shot at getting something that fits the first time around.
posted by theraflu at 8:03 AM on January 24, 2012

I'm almost always a 10, but lately I've been getting a 9.5 in dress shoes. I honestly think they are vanity sizing them now.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:29 AM on January 24, 2012

I have touchy ankles and don't wear a ton of heels, but in the past year I've found two amazing pairs at Aldo. I generally find their shoes very hit and miss on a comfort level, but I got these Montalbans a few months ago and wear them nearly every day. The wedge makes them extra stable, and they're padded enough to be comfortable wearing, standing and dancing(!) in them for hours. I loved them so much that I ordered an extra pair and am keeping them in a box for the sad day when my current pair wear out.

I also love these Elzinga boots for exactly the same reason. I wear both out to bars/clubs regularly and get compliments on both all the time.
posted by nerdcore at 9:51 AM on January 24, 2012

Forgot to say: also doesn't do half sizes and the 10s might be perfect for you! I'm generally an 8/8.5 and often move up a size in Aldo shoes.
posted by nerdcore at 9:52 AM on January 24, 2012

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