Shoes for walking and looking good
October 7, 2017 9:34 AM   Subscribe

Middle-aged heterosexual woman here. Been wearing black Merrell mocs for several years and want to branch out, possibly into something with a bit more style.

I'm stymied by how my Google searches imply that comfortable shoes for walking have to be huge hideous "sports" contraptions and even the plain black ones have giant ugly white bumper soles, whereas anything with style looks like it would be sheer torture after two blocks.

I walk a lot, like minimum 5 km a day, just to get to and from work. My feet have no particular orthopedic requirements, although I do have high arches and can't wear models with very low tight bands across the top.

I'm interested in low boots or slip-on shoes. Black only. No heels, no, not even "comfortable" ones. No laces. Buckles might be interesting.

Have to be buyable in Canada. No particular price point in mind. I'd rather spend $200 on something I'll really wear than $40 on something I won't.
posted by zadcat to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (21 answers total) 28 users marked this as a favorite
I think I have similar feet to you. I am a fan of the Teva De La Vina ankle boot. Casual-smart enough to work with jeans or skirts, waterproof, and super comfy for walking. I've had mine for a year and a half and they're going strong. I walk about 10 km/day and am on my feet a lot at work, so they've been pretty durable.
posted by stillmoving at 9:43 AM on October 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Crocs actually make a line of fashion shoes that are not bad. I have a pair of not-ugly flip flops, a pair of fur-lined regular ones that I use as houseshoes (concrete floors), and a pair of suede booties . . . no one ever believes me that the flops or the booties are Crocs.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:02 AM on October 7, 2017

Naots are frequently attractive, very supportive, wicked expensive, lined with leather not the skanky microfiber which pills after three months. Each collection has a slightly different last, so trying on one from each is the only way to see if they work for you. Widely available online. I didn't realize I could have cute shoes and be comfortable at the same time.
posted by Jesse the K at 10:10 AM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have these and like them a lot.

Their products in general are nice.
posted by A Terrible Llama at 10:12 AM on October 7, 2017

Do you consider clogs to be heels? I've had great luck with super-comfortable Sanita and Dansko clogs.
posted by BlahLaLa at 10:19 AM on October 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

I love my Skechers Go Walk slip on shoes. I can walk for miles in them. I have fussy, blister-prone, extra-wide, Daisy Duck feet - if these shoes are comfortable for me, chances are they'll be comfortable for most people. Go Walks are very casual, though, so they might not be suitable if you need something dressier or more business professional.
posted by Rosie M. Banks at 10:21 AM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

My wife has walked as much as 10 miles a day, while traveling, in a pair of Born slip-on flats that were stylish enough that I was kinda shocked just now when she told me they were Borns. Hers were a kind of stylized snakeskin pattern but they have plenty of options in black. Flexible and packable too.
posted by ftm at 10:37 AM on October 7, 2017

I have tall feet with really high arches too. Like I literally cannot get my foot inside most clogs or other shoes with a fixed, uh, vamp? The top part, anyway. I generally stick with Birkenstocks, but I recently got a pair of these (Kaci clogs by Keen), and they've been amazing so far. (I know you don't currently have foot problems, but part of the reason I'm so excited is that they immediately started fixing a really debilitating bout of plantar fasciitis I've been having.)

Anyway, I think they look really good, too, although I recognize that might be a minority opinion.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:40 AM on October 7, 2017

Oh, poop. I forgot to mention that I got a half size larger than usual, and had a brief breaking in period (like a couple of days) to stretch the leather across the top just a tiny bit more so I could put them on without a shoehorn. They were always comfortable once they were on, though.
posted by ernielundquist at 10:46 AM on October 7, 2017

Addendum: they were actually from an offshoot, BOC.
posted by ftm at 11:17 AM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I love Fluevog, which happens to be a Canadian brand. Boots-wise I wear Danke all day without issues even though they have a small heel, but maybe you want something more like Babette, Influence, Judi, Malcome, Walker. I have these shoes and they are very comfy.
posted by waving at 11:31 AM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I have been incredibly pleased with the two pairs of Rothy's slip-ons I have. They are breathable (the recycled water bottle fabric does not feel plastic-y), washable and have removable insoles if you wanted to put something more substantial in (I haven't and I have bunioned-up feet). They aren't cheap but the value seems on point. I wear them almost every day in a variety of conditions.

Feel free to use this code if you want to buy for $20 off - I get $20 as well but I'm sitting on a pile of those coupons right now (that you can't combine) so the benefit to me is minimal.
posted by stefnet at 11:38 AM on October 7, 2017

Keep in mind that the Merrell Mocs have about a one inch heel themselves, it's just not very visible. If you're used to that I wouldn't rule out many boots or shoes with a more distinct looking heel- because it is the same inside and will feel the same on your foot. If you go to a totally flat shoe after the Merrell's it'll be more of an adjustment for you than getting a cute boot with a low 1" block heel.

Having said that, check out Camper, La Canadienne, Blondo, Born, Clarks, more stylish Merrell choices, sorel boots.Keen, blundstone, etc. Quality shoes that will last for years of walking and look somewhere between cute/ hip/ funky and work appropriate. I think of these as city shoes for people who walk a lot but want to look ok. Avoid brands like Franco Sarto, Nine West, Aerosoles, Sofft, Dansko that are really designed for indoors. The're not bad shoes, they can be very comfortable, but not made for long hauls or the damage the streets can do to a shoe. Dansko's I include in this category as you will break an ankle walking long distances in the clogs* and they don't fit people with high arches anyway. I also include most ballet flats in this category, even my beloved Sam Edelman ones, they would get destroyed it I walked outside a lot in them.

*They are really popular with horse people and I cannot tell you how many people I know that that have injured themselves falling off their clogs. They also have a really high heel.
posted by fshgrl at 11:57 AM on October 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

What about a pair of low rise Doc Martens? If not quite what you're after, maybe Meindl, La Sportiva, Scarpa, or FiveTen will do something that's up your alley?
posted by Howisstifflucky at 12:28 PM on October 7, 2017

I find Hotter shoes comfortable for walking around in (about half that distance in a day)--they're cute and offer a range of flat styles (depending on your definition of "no heel at all") in boot and shoe.
posted by crush at 12:42 PM on October 7, 2017 [1 favorite]

I just returned from traveling for a month with a lot of walking. You know how your feet hurt at the end of a long day out, especially as a tourist? Didn't happen to me at all, I was really surprised at how incredibly comfortable these shoes were. And I have always had sole cramping issues.

The brand is Bionica, this is the exact pair I have but I believe they have flats as well. I can't recommend it enough. I also have a high arch and this support was perfect. They stretch a bit and it took wearing them a few times to break, it wasn't painful, I was just aware of wearing something new and ever so slightly snug. But after then you forget you're wearing shoes at all. Really light too.
posted by whatdoyouthink? at 3:56 PM on October 7, 2017

Born. I have had a pair of born boots for 10 years, they still look pretty good, and are comfortable for walking several miles.
I have these from LLBean, Merrell has had a similar shoe, totally comfortable and presentable.
posted by theora55 at 7:11 PM on October 7, 2017

I live in London (UK) and walk at least 5k every day. I wear regular women's Chelsea boots most days and they work just fine for me. I'm an events planner, and need shoes that are "nice" enough to wear to client meetings, but won't hinder me from lifting heavy boxes, being on my feet for hours, etc. I would recommend "black Chelsea boot" as a general search term, and that you purchase from a brand you know to be high quality (not sure what that is for Canada) for over $100, if you plan on wearing them daily.
posted by Concordia at 2:53 AM on October 8, 2017

With regard to above suggestion of Skechers Go Walk, I'm very sorry to say I found their arches much too low (I, like OP, have high arches and a high... whatever you call the top part of the foot.)
posted by fingersandtoes at 6:24 AM on October 8, 2017

I have high arches as well. For low boots try Geox. They are not inexpensive (around USD $150-200 a pair) but hold up very well for city walking. Some styles are water-resistant also.
posted by 4rtemis at 9:28 AM on October 8, 2017

Response by poster: I ended up with a pair of Josef Siebels that are super comfy and stylish. Tony Pappas is the place to go for this kind of footwear in Montreal.
posted by zadcat at 1:17 PM on October 22, 2017

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