Can you help find stylish but fashionable women's shoes?
March 5, 2012 6:46 PM   Subscribe

Do you have recommendations for stylish and comfortable women's shoes that my wife can wear while we travel in London and Paris? She's tall, thin, and pretty fashionable, but she's stumped about what she can wear while on her feet all day.
posted by starkraven to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (31 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
Maybe Tory Burch flats with some nice insoles for added comfort?
posted by superfille at 7:15 PM on March 5, 2012

I'm not sure what type of stylish she is looking for, but in the cute sneaker realm these are really comfortable and look pretty cute with most outfits. Come in many colors too. They're relatively lightweight sneakers, so some may not find them supportive enough, but they work great for my low-volume/high arched feet.
posted by annie o at 7:19 PM on March 5, 2012

ooh, and these are good too. Fit may be pretty foot specific though. I've worn both these and the above asics mexico's all over London and Paris, with not blisters or pain at all.
posted by annie o at 7:22 PM on March 5, 2012

Depends on when you're going (are sandals an option?) but I'd say tough-looking flat ankle boots or a nice pair of smoking slippers, because they're more comfy than regular flats. She does not want to wear sneakers in Paris. I have done it (arrived in Paris at the end of a long hiking trip) and it was a truly mortifying 10 hours until I could get myself to a proper shoe shop. Even the tourists are dressing to impress nowadays. But don't worry, everyone wears flats in Paris.
posted by acidic at 7:28 PM on March 5, 2012

I wore Naot boots (Oyster, in particular) all over London a couple months ago and was very comfortable and didn't feel like a fashion asshole.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:42 PM on March 5, 2012

Repetto flats.
posted by devymetal at 7:46 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I just bought the cole haan sloane loafers - they are gorgeous and feel amazing on your feet.
posted by shrimpsmalls at 8:00 PM on March 5, 2012

I have friends who rave about the Cole Haan Air series- there are lots of options in good walking styles on Zappos.
posted by ambrosia at 8:07 PM on March 5, 2012

What kind of stylish? On alternating days, I can look at least semi-cute and get away with:

Clark's desert boots

Blundstone's and wool socks


The Blundstone's especially are great for walking because they have a roomy toe box and good insoles so they're incredibly comfy long term. I've worn them to work retail where I'm on my feet 9 - 5:30.
posted by hepta at 8:09 PM on March 5, 2012

I was just in London and wore my Merrell boots (tall girly flat boots, not hiking boots) thinking that they would be just right. They LOOKED just right, but I wish I had gotten some Happy Feet or Super Feet or some sort of comfy insert for all the walking I did! My feet were SORE by the end of the day. Oh, and bring moleskin or squishy corn pads (I found those and they were great) in case your shoes rub. So, any shoe she likes with a good sole and some cushions just in case!
posted by LilBit at 8:21 PM on March 5, 2012

Born shoes and boots are incredibly comfortable and stylish, I think I could run a 5K in my boots. And we always pack our Toms for summer trips, because they're casual but NOT sneakers. I add insoles to mine if we're doing a lot of walking.
posted by raisingsand at 8:22 PM on March 5, 2012

Tom's Ballet Flats! I just ordered the Lina Woven style.
posted by greta simone at 8:27 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Steve Madden things forever! They are pretty cheap, so she won't have to worry about destroying them (which is likely), and super comfy, more than most bargain shoes. I like shoes that have less cushioning (I find them more comfortable) but if she's used to super-cushy shoes then there are some good options up-thread.

If you're there in the hottest part of the year, get some fancy sandals for the daytime. I just found these from Patagonia, plenty dressy enough for Paris, and Patagonia has a good reputation for comfort.

I did walk back and forth across Paris and London several times. The most important thing is to bring SEVERAL pairs. It sounds high-maintenance, but it will save you a lot of pain if you can switch your shoes in the middle of the day, or every other day. Prevents blisters and helps with muscle fatigue. NO sneakers, outdoorsy boots, or Birkenstocks... I think they've posted this on signs at the borders of Paris.
posted by 100kb at 8:29 PM on March 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

These might be too casual (or wrong for the time of year you're going), but in case she likes the look of them, I can attest that they are the most comfortable sightseeing shoes I've ever worn (and I frequently get compliments on them).
posted by scody at 8:30 PM on March 5, 2012

This is a very difficult question, because it really depends on her personal style. If she wants to wear a heel, these wedge sandals are crazy comfortable - they feel like flats to me. I have them in beige and black.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:14 PM on March 5, 2012

I've worn these to weddings and to the White House.
Considering I'm working at both, comfort is essential, but it's hard to find nice shoes that you can wear all day. These are my solution.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 9:40 PM on March 5, 2012

After being turned onto this brand by a friend who swears by them, I wear the men's styles all day and find them very comfortable. Not sure if the women's ones would be as well but they are certainly stylish.
posted by You Should See the Other Guy at 10:27 PM on March 5, 2012

I live in London and I love my special edition Converse. They're comfy, great for the cobblestone streets, and have just enough edge on them to be stylish. I've worn them with skinny jeans and skirts with tights.
For Paris, as much as they feel like a cliche, ballet flats are my staple item. Try on a million, buy the one that's most comfy (probably in a darker color, Paris and London are not the cleanest streets).
posted by like_neon at 1:57 AM on March 6, 2012

Ballet flats continue to be very popular, though I can't for the life of me walk in them (high arches, can't fit my inserts into them).

In general, flats, pumps and boots tend to be the daily go-to for stylish ladies. If you want to go casual, converse is also very very popular among 20 and 30-somethings (occasionally older if you are after a certain style). I can't speak for Paris, but London/Oxford this is very reliable. Boots are still in, and boots may actually be her best bet for "going the distance" in a fashionable shoe. I had a pair of basic Clarks that did me very well when I was a student (walking absolutely everywhere, every day) that looked very much like these. They were not *exciting* but they let me "blend in" (as a midwest american who wore sneakers to school every day) and walk for miles.

Also seconding insoles, and recommending Compeed blister protectors, both for blister treatment and prevention, especially if she's going to be breaking these shoes in over here, or is not used to walking for very long times. Ones for the back of the heel and the toes.
posted by menialjoy at 2:03 AM on March 6, 2012

I managed to walk from Islington to Soho in a pair of Clarks ballet flats. There's stores all over London, and indeed Britain. My choice is much more limited than most as I have UK size 9 feet, but I do find them very durable.

I also like Hush Puppies - my walking shoes are somewhat dorky but they do do more stylish versions. They do heels and flats - I have a pair of fur-lined boots with a wedge heel and they're great.

the Toms shoes don't look like a great choice for serious city walking. I wore crepe-soled shoes in Paris and near wore them through after two days - they look even less durable. You will walk a lot more than you think you will if you're on a city break.

Failing that, in London at least, loads of people wear Converse. There's about five or six pairs being worn in my office on any given day.

I have done it (arrived in Paris at the end of a long hiking trip) and it was a truly mortifying 10 hours until I could get myself to a proper shoe shop.
I don't think anyone remotely cared about what I wore in Paris. That said, I can't speak French so they may have been mocking my boyfriend's brown trainers all day. They're both big cities, with millions of different people doing different things with different tastes, and they're both tourist cities, so I wouldn't worry about blending in. Of course, if you want to wear a Union Jack top-hat you will look like a tourist....
posted by mippy at 3:58 AM on March 6, 2012

I am a big fan of Camper shoes. I have a pair of Kim heels (which are the perfect heel height for me), and these sneaker-type shoes which I think are wonderfully comfortable and don't stand out as unstylish. I wore them travelling around Paris just a couple months ago so I can vouch for their acceptability even in crappy rainy Paris.
posted by that girl at 4:03 AM on March 6, 2012

This is a hugely personal question - style and feet vary infinitely.

That said, here is my solution for very problem feet and lots and lots of walking: Skechers. They come in reasonably cute styles and are soo comfortable. A bit further along the comfort/cute tradeoff continuum, there are these, which I find most comfortable of all, and the thick soles protect against the effect of walking on cobblestones.
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:56 AM on March 6, 2012

I am currently wearing a pair of plain black single-sole brothel creepers by Underground. They took a bit of breaking in, but they're amazingly comfortable, they go with everything, and they are having a bit of a fashion moment.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 6:57 AM on March 6, 2012

Actually, you know what's incredibly popular in London right now? (I presume by 'fashionable' you mean she likes to look current - as another has said, this varies a lot.) Brogues. They go with nearly everything and are flat without looking as unstylish as a pair of trainers. You can buy a cheap pair from New Look or Dorothy Perkins here and wear them out if you so wish.
posted by mippy at 7:41 AM on March 6, 2012

I wear Frye Carson ankle boots all day every day. They are the most comfortable shoes I've ever had, but they also look stylish and a little dressy. It hurt to spend so much money on a pair of shoes, but if you can afford it they're completely worth it.
posted by milk white peacock at 7:41 AM on March 6, 2012

When in Paris! She can buy some here, and more there!! Arche. I wore the very boots in the picture on the opening screen all over the place with nary a pinch or ache. Some of the styles are a little fusty-looking but there are also some great classics, including these, which I've had for about 8 years and are still going strong.
posted by thinkpiece at 8:25 AM on March 6, 2012

Aerosoles boots and flats with nice wicking socks!
posted by zdravo at 8:32 AM on March 6, 2012

As mentioned above, Clarks and Born are two shoe companies that make stylish, comfortable shoes. I work on my feet all day, and if I'm going to buy shoes that look cute and won't get uncomfortable by the end of the day, I know to buy those two.
posted by redsparkler at 10:48 AM on March 6, 2012

I think something like the Clark's Plush Dot or Sixty Cape would be versatile shoes that would serve her well; I have a pair of the Sixty Capes, and wear them everywhere, from the concrete floors at work to a several mile impromptu beach hike.
posted by redsparkler at 10:53 AM on March 6, 2012

I am late to this party, nor have I read what other people wrote, so I am sorry if someone already made these recommendations. On my last several vacations where I've had to do a lot of walking but still wanted stylish shoes (so that I didn't have to take a "walking" pair and a "fancy" pair for evenings out), I've taken either my puma flats (similar to these or these or a pair of Merrell flats (kind of like these). I basically live in my puma flats when not at work, they are so, so, so comfortable and I get complimented on them all the time.
posted by echo0720 at 3:51 PM on March 6, 2012

I have these boots from Camper. They did beautifully in Istanbul in winter. I successfully wore them with both jeans and skirts, though they're probably a little casual for the opera or a Michelin starred restaurant. They were perfect for tromping around cobblestoned streets by day and checking out art galleries in the evening.
posted by Sara C. at 12:13 PM on March 7, 2012

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