Flats With All That

A 90's-inspired look with red square-toe flats, a classic trench and bucket bag. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Thanks for all of the birthday wishes yesterday!

After an unusually cold February, we’ve had a couple of days in a row with some sunshine and temperatures up into the 60’s…and I’ve come down with a raging case of Spring Fever. I’m looking forward to giving ankle boots a rest, and slipping into some of my loafers and flats.

Above: Scarf | Sweater | Trench | Watch | Jeans | Shoes | Bag

Podiatrists will tell you that for most of us, a completely flat shoe isn’t the best choice, and I don’t find them the most comfortable either. (And I think they make me walk like a duck.) So I always look for just a little bit of heel… ½ to 1 inch does the trick. If that means I’m playing fast and loose with the term “flats,” here so be it.

Comfortable Flats With Timeless Style

Cap toe ballet flats from AGL. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Ballet flats are a perennial favorite, and many of you have mentioned these from AGL, which have a small heel and a nicely cushioned insole. They’re also very well-reviewed by other purchasers.

Taryn Rose cap toe ballet flats. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Designed by an orthopedic surgeon, Taryn Rose is another brand that puts comfort first. This two-tone, cap-toe style might be mistaken for you-know-who’s iconic ballet flat….but at less than half the price.

Cole Haan Tali ballet flat in black. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

This style gets high marks for comfort, and is also offered in Narrow and Wide widths!

Travel Shoes With Style

Everlane square toe ballet flat in red. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Everlane just introduced these square-toe flats, and I have to admit, I’m intrigued. I love that little round heel and the square toe hits a 90’s Minimalist note (à la Carolyn Bessette Kennedy) that I’m totally here for. I’ve been wanting to add some red shoes to my lineup for a while now…but there are several other colors as well.

Gucci Jordaan loafers with horsebit in black. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I count loafers as flats, as long as they have a low heel. These are spendy, yes, but they are some of the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever had worn. I’ve walked around Paris for hours in these with no complaints from mes pieds. And they go with everything.

Sam Edelman Loraine loafer with horsebit detail in black. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

But this budget-friendly option is also good-looking and very well-reviewed. (Many other colors available, and some in Wide widths too.)

Madewell Frances oxford shoes. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

I love the look of a classic oxford. These have elegant “gentlewoman” style, at a gentle price. The nicely tapered toe keeps them from looking too clunky. Reviewers say they run a little narrow, so you may want to size up if you have a wider foot.

Botkier Calista metallic wingtip oxford. Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Combine wingtip details with a metallic finish, and the result is an eye-catching shoe that will be surprisingly versatile.

What is your favorite style of flats?

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  1. I’ve been thinking of getting ballet flats for a while now. But, just couldn’t wrap my head around a totally flat shoe. The Everlane square toed flats have my name on them. Thanks so much for this info.

  2. Two other names for supportive flats at a good price point is Vionic and FitFlop shoes. I need the support in the arch and both these brands provide it with Vionic actually having an orthotic type foot bed. They have a line of flats as well as loafer type shoes. Haha Duck feet!! Exactly how I feel in most ballet flats!!

    1. I also love Fitflops! I have a wide foot with some “history” & they have support with a cushioned footbed, perfect for city walking & comfort. They now have stylish options at s very good price.

  3. Don’t forget the very cute, very comfy Rothy flats, which are moderately priced, come in lots of colors and patterns, and go up to size 12 in many styles, unlike most of these. Sold online.

  4. I like the FSNY ballet flat for wearing with no socks. The interior is comfortable on a bare foot and it forms to my feet nicely. But for walking? Oh gosh, no ballet flat will work. I need a thicker sole with resilience. I recently bought a pair of loafer type shoes from Johnson and Murphy that are super comfortable and also rather tapered at the toe so not so clunky looking as thick soled shoes normally are. They are called “Brooklyn” and I recommend them highly if you have a normal to slender foot. Could be too snug for toes with issues. The high cut hides my low cut sock liners too.

  5. I exclusively wear ECCO and Vionic shoes/sneakers. Why? I take out the inner sole and then jam in my orthotics! These are the only shoes I know off that cater to people who wear orthotics. The inner sole comes completely out easily. I have a great style of ECCO with a white sole and colored canvas above. I have this style in three colors! This is my go-to shoe for everyday casual. I then wear ECCO loafers for dress up. Needless to say, flats do not work for orthotics. So, no dresses or skirts for me. Just pants.

  6. I can testify to several of these brands. My sister-in-law loves AGL ballet shoes…says they’re the most comfortable shoe she’s ever worn.
    I am addicted to Vionic…have several pairs, and their flip-flop sandals are the only ones this flat-footed woman can wear, and walk in for hours, comfortably.
    Thank you for the suggestion of Taryn Rose shoes. The ortho surgeon I’ve been seeing has warned me off ballet flats completely (“ you might as well just wear socks”), but maybe this brand will pass muster.
    One pair of shoes I just bought…Clark’s Coudsteppers. Definitely NOT the most stylish, but the most comfortable pair of shoes I’ve ever worn, and I have close to 100 pairs in my closet.
    Thank you again for a terrific fashion blog. I always learn soemthing, and am always inspired to “up my game”.
    Belated Happy Birthday wishes. Hope you had a great day…may the coming year be filled with blessings!

  7. Love Everlane’s square toed flats and will take a closer look at those! I am a fan of loafers (I typically am uncomfortable with how my foot looks in a simple flat) and like Sperry’s Seaport Penny style especially. It comes in several colors, is very comfortable, and the price is right for me!

  8. You must definitely replace your red heals, that you so abruptly let go last year, with the red square toe flats. They are adorable.

  9. Happy Birthday one day late. Love this shoe post. I have both AGL flats and Sam Edelman ones and both are very comfortable. Sam Edelman is super afforadable (often on sale) and very good quality.
    I also like Cole Haan Gran Zero line.

  10. Well, I love shoes, so this topic is right up my alley. I’ve struggled finding nice flats/loafers lately. J Crew used to be my go to. I have some pairs that I’ve owned for 20 years. But the quality has declined. Same with Madewell. I keep resoling my leopard and snakeprint flats from them that I bought 10 years ago!

    Lately, I’ve been on the sneaker trend for purchases, but recently tried Taryn Rose’s new line. Not enough support for me. And sizing is inconsistent. But nice shoes in the lower-mid price range.

    Two pairs of Paul Green oxfords, one in a kind of metallic dot black suede and the other in their trademark taupe/silver metallic color, both with white soles, are holding up well.

    I had an old pair of Pappagallo (remember them?) red loafers, somewhat square toe, perfect height, cherry red with a gun metal bit. I gave them away 2 years ago and have regretted it every day!!

    I guess the motto is: keep the red shoes!

    1. I would kill to have some of my Pappagallos back. Those shoes were my holy grail. Thanks for bringing back a nice memory.

  11. I live in Australia but love ZIERA shoes made in New Zealand , the abstops in comfort, loads of styles for orthotics and extra spongy cushioning. I do believe you can source them in the states.

  12. I find that Hotters shoes made in the U.K. are reasonable in price and are most comfortable. Their on line service is excellent.

  13. Looking closely at the square-toed flat, I’m afraid that small round heel would be unstable and I’ld twist my ankle. The square-toed slingback seems to have a heel that’s wider, and would be more stable. They show it in similar colors.

  14. Bon anniversaire! I hope you will post about what you’re wearing in this next week or so, because I am travelling to L.A. and would like a sense of what the temperatures allow. Best wishes for your coming year. 🙂

  15. I love AGL ballet flats and Ecco leather sneakers, for everyday wear and for travel. Since I’ve retired, flats are everything.

  16. I love ballet flats. I have them in a variety of colors. Born, Ecco, and Clarks are my favorites. Wearing them makes me feel very French!

  17. Happy belated birthday!

    The photo of your Gucci loafers brought back a bad memory for me; I wore my prized pair to Paris and ruined them during a particularly rainy trip. But, they were indeed comfortable.

    Love the square toe loafers from Everlane. I just bought a pair of their rain boots and may bring them with me to Paris, depending upon the forecast. I hope you’ll share some photos of the square shoes if you do buy a pair.

  18. I love flats, especially ballet flats, because I can channel my inner Audrey Hepburn. I will agree that if you know you are going to be doing a lot of walking they are not the best choice. Thanks for including the Tali Bow ballet flat that does come in narrow and wides. Going up or down a half size is probably not the best way to get a good fit in the width. We really need to properly fit the length AND width of our shoes to avoid foot problems. Anyone remember when shoe sales clerks actually measured feet?

    1. Indeed I do! One of my first jobs as a teenager was working in a children’s shoe store. I learned how to measure and fit shoes! It’s rare to even see one of those shoe sizers in a shop anymore.

      1. My first job was at Malings, when I was in high school.. sold lots of matching bags, as that was the look in the ‘60’s!
        Happy Belated Susan! Cheers to another fabulous year of travel & fashion!

      2. Susan, thats awesome that one of your first jobs was in a shoe store where feet were properly measured. You know exactly what I’m talking about!

  19. So many beautiful flats! Thank you for including narrow sizes. The square toe looks fresh and new. I’m happy to see this toe shape return.

    Like you, I can’t wait to kick off my boots (in a month or two ).

  20. This was/is a great post!. I love the Everlane red flats and might need to buy those next. In the last year, I have had to admit that even lower heels are not comfortable for my back. In terms of high heels, I have a handful of pairs left, and I’ve stopped buying them. Several pairs bit the dust last year and I threw them away, and I sold a few and gave a few to my nieces. Now if I do a heel over 1-inch, it is a wedge or block heel. I’ve realized that 2.5-inch is my maximum. So recent shoe purchases have been loafers and sneakers to round out my options. I already had lots of ballet flats from London Sole and Cole Hahn. I have the Gucci Jordaan in brown and love them for the stylish look and comfort! I also have the Sam Edelman loafers in black leather and black/gray animal print. I have sneakers by Sperry and Converse. I love Fit Flop sandals and Merrell sandals. I just bought a pair of Allbird sneakers and love those a lot!