What Dansko alternative would Joseph Gordon Levitt wear?
May 10, 2016 8:09 AM   Subscribe

I'm getting the old familiar twinge of plantar fasciitis, which means I need to get more supportive shoes. In the past, Danskos have really helped, but I'm trying to be more stylish/professional and dapper, so I'm wondering--is there anything with comparable support that's a little more chic? Please note: I'm a dapper female person (so nothing very femme, please).

Additional information:
-- These are my favorite style of shoe.
--I have a budget up to $200, $300 if they really have kickass support.
--To be worn with black skinny jeans, blazers, and button-downs.
--Women's European size 38, so typically "men's" shoes are out due to sizing.
--I'm searching for a classic look, nothing whimsical. Picture an archetypal grandfather in his prime.
posted by c'mon sea legs to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (26 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
I think Bared shoes might be right up your alley.
posted by imaginary_mary at 8:22 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

My daughter who wears a European 38 has actually had some luck with men's size 6 or even size 7 at better shoe stores (Eco brand). She has wide feet, however. I have seen a similar women's shoe by Finn Comfort, but they did run about $300.

Have you tried the hard leather arch support inserts by Tacco?
posted by Malla at 8:23 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Personally, I wear shoes like those oxfords (generally a structured low-heeled shoe of some kind) with aftermarket inserts, which are so good now that getting custom ones made from the podiatrist can wait until you see if the premade ones do the job. (My podiatrist is pretty skeptical of the support provided by the shoe itself, as he says if the shoes had enough support for the average PF wearer, especially high-arched ones, they'd be too uncomfortable for everyone else.)

My PF prefers the firm sort of insert rather than the gel/foam kinds.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:23 AM on May 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

Another vote for new insoles/inserts. I'm quite happy with Superfeet, myself.
posted by R a c h e l at 8:29 AM on May 10, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you have access to a podiatrist you can have orthotic inserts custom-made for you that you can slip into every pair of shoes you own. Typically this is a problem when people want to wear sandals or other strappy or low-cut shoes, but in the oxfords you link to they would work easily and not be visible.

With my insurance, orthotics are free, and the podiatrist is just a small copay, so maybe it'll be similarly cheap for you.
posted by BlahLaLa at 8:38 AM on May 10, 2016

Mephistos might be just the thing
posted by slkinsey at 8:38 AM on May 10, 2016

You could try the Dansko Elise, Adriana or Olive, perhaps.

Ecco is a good brand with lots of support in a sleeker look, and if you buy online it looks like their men's shoes are available in a 5.5 or so.
posted by St. Hubbins at 8:39 AM on May 10, 2016

Just got over a mild bout of plantar fasciitis, and I'll nthing the insoles/inserts/superfeet recommendation. Also, I wore these compression half-socks under my regular socks. Sometimes I'd wear them all day, sometimes just at night, but they fit under a sock, aren't painful, but they provided some nice support when my foot was in a position to not have any.
posted by chillin411 at 8:49 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: I'm into the insole recommendations and have had some success with them (this is a good reminder to replace mine!), but I would also love suggestions for shoes themselves! Thanks for all the thoughts so far!
posted by c'mon sea legs at 9:10 AM on May 10, 2016

Some men's Eccos go down to that size and are very comfortable, but I wear mine with an arch support I got at the drugstore. (For context, I'm a trans guy with small feet for men.)
posted by AFABulous at 9:13 AM on May 10, 2016

Another good OTC brand of insole is Sole - they mold to your feet with wear, or you can put them in a low oven and then stand on them (I use this style).
For me, they are as good (or better than) custom orthotics (which weren't cheap on my insurance).
REI sells three types of Sole.
Also, I've had great luck with the Sano line from Mephisto - they aren't really pretty, but I walked 6-8 hrs a day in Italy recently with NO foot pain or soreness!
posted by dbmcd at 9:16 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Dr. Martens are very comfortable (I have their classic boots, but they also have oxford styles like this) and they have unisex sizes.
posted by AFABulous at 9:17 AM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

When they are in stock, Fluevog's Brogues might work for you. These are women's but they look like men's shoes. I love them - they are among the most comfortable shoes I own. Pricey when they aren't on sale like they are now, but worth it. Look around their site.

Dr. Marten's are awesome...but heavy.
posted by answergrape at 9:19 AM on May 10, 2016 [5 favorites]

If slightly-used shoes don't squick you out, I rocked a pair of these Hush Puppies all winter on my old, PF-prone feet. Alas, they are discontinued and I can only find them on ebay.
posted by sarajane at 9:21 AM on May 10, 2016

I like oxfords too. I think if you go to Zappos and go to that category (shoes > women > oxfords, or whatever) and then follow the breadcrumbs, you'll find quite a few. That whole "people who bought these also looked at" thing.
posted by scratch at 9:29 AM on May 10, 2016

These Fitflop oxfords will be your new best friend, i promise you! I have 2 pairs of the same shoe, as well as about 8 other fitflops in different styles. My feet have never felt better! If you have a Nordstrom /Nordstrom Rack wherever you are, you can go try out fitflops to get an idea of the support and sizing, and then order online directly from(i find the retailers tend to have less styles in stock).
posted by ramix at 10:37 AM on May 10, 2016

I recently purchased some oxfords from Frye (size 37) and they are fantastically comfortable (I add firm inserts due to flat feet) and very dapper. I believe they were $235 from Zappos.

Oh, and to add...I second the recommendation for Ecco. I have never been displeased with any pair of Eccos that I've bought (again size 37).
posted by skye.dancer at 11:40 AM on May 10, 2016

Username Frowner is the resident dapper/men's shoe expert here so you might want to drop them a memail.
posted by AFABulous at 1:34 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Fluevog has lots of dapper shoes for men and women. It's kind of their speciality.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:51 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

I actually saw that shoe you link as a Dansko at a sale recently. So, it had a heel since it was essentially a clog, but they do exist.

You may also wish to check out Fluevog -- they make several of their styles with unisex sizing.

The Brandenburg Light or the Catherine might work for you.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 2:53 PM on May 10, 2016

Cole Haan makes amazing comfortable and supportive oxfords. Most of the ones on their website right now have sneaker-y looking soles, but there are a few with a more traditional look.

Also seconding Frye and Fluevog. Grenson shoes will be out of your price range unless you get lucky on ebay, but are worth drooling over.
posted by dizziest at 3:17 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just as a sad point of reference before you spend a lot: I am basically you (same size, same taste) and I (still) developed plantar fasciitis while wearing Doc Martens with Superfeet insoles in them (and other supportive shoes--Keens, Tevas, sneakers with Superfeet insoles, etc.) I ended up just saying fuck it and switching to Sanita (basically the same as Dansko) clogs, which I wear with my cargo shorts and hairy legs at work. But I work in a coffee shop.

Point is--I'm not sure that simply good/supportive shoes are enough for PF.
posted by needs more cowbell at 3:59 PM on May 10, 2016

Fluevogs look amazing but the arch support leaves something to be desired. Something like this Naot Lako which has a cork footbed (like a Birkenstock) would be better for your PF, plus as it is a womens shoe it won't be as wide as mens sizes.
posted by Requiax at 6:21 PM on May 10, 2016 [1 favorite]

As someone who dresses kind of like this, and as someone who is very conscious of how my feet feel in shoes, I'd ignore all the suggestion for 'women's' shoes that look like men's Oxfords for two reasons:
1) They generally look kind of wrong in person. The proportions are wrong to go with men's styling - they're optimised to look good with skirts or with women's trousers, which are generally worn shorter, and more importantly they're designed to make the foot look smaller/shorter.
2) Their arch support is generally terrible, because they're made like women's flats, with the upper sewn straight onto the sole and little-to-no shaping of the leather.

What I think you need are the dressiest, fanciest men's leather shoes you can find. They can be found in smaller sizes, especially if you're prepared to order online - eg here. Good, well-cut men's shoes are shaped around the foot, which means they will cup your arch like nothing else. And if they're well made they will have enough strength to suspend the arch of your foot with very little movement. You should treat them properly with shoetrees when you're not wearing them so that they keep their shape, and you might want to go for some Italian-style ones which tend to be cut to be even more foot-hugging.
posted by Acheman at 1:23 AM on May 11, 2016 [3 favorites]

Ten Points (Swedish brand) has good looking, durable kicks
posted by speakeasy at 8:45 AM on July 28, 2016

Response by poster: Got custom insoles from a podiatrist and so far so perfect!
posted by c'mon sea legs at 9:34 AM on August 23, 2016

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