Adieu, Too-High Heels

It Was Fun While It Lasted…

Ah heels. We know they’re bad for us, but like that bag of sea-salt chips, sometimes they’re just so satisfying. Heels add height, yes, but also some visual “oomph,” an exclamation point on an outfit as I’ve heard them described.

Truthfully, I’ve never been able to wear really high heels. 2 inches if thin/stiletto, 3 inches if stacked, wedge or block heels. But after a photo shoot last week, when both of my “most comfortable” pairs left me hobbling after just a few minutes, I’ve decided it’s time to let go. (Even my beloved Paul Green’s above, are no longer comfortable. 😢 )

That doesn’t mean I’m switching to completely flat shoes, at least not all the time. I have a high arch and instep, and find that a 1-1½ inch block or wedge heel is often most comfortable.

Comfortable Shoes That Made The Cut…

After my painful epiphany, I went through my closet and cleared out the worst offenders. A friend’s college-age daughter who shares my shoe size, gets first pick. What did I keep? A lot of loafers, flats and low-heeled ankle boots. Some slide sandals with a lower block heel. For a little height come warm weather, I held onto these wedge espadrilles...

Eileen Fisher espadrille sandals in light gold. These are SO comfortable! Details at une femme d'un certain age.

Which have a “net” heel of 1½ inches, still well within my comfort range, and also add some height and visual volume.

I’ll be keeping an eye out for lower-heeled, comfortable shoes with “oomph.” In the meantime, here are a few styles I’ve hung onto…

What heel height do you find most comfortable?

Stay in touch.

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78 Comments

  1. January 29, 2019 / 3:26 am

    We are on the same page–I just wrote a post about how all I see around me here are flats. Lots of very thick soles, but no heels. I love it. I had bunion surgery a decade ago. The surgery relieved the constant throbbing pain but my toes are still pretty delicate. Heels are out of the question. At least now there are so many very stylish choices for flat shoes. I also like seeing how they make women walk–comfortably and with confidence. When you see Kate and Meghan striding along, well, rest assured they aren’t walking far in those stilettos. For the rest of us mortals, walking greater distances in heels is a disaster for our feet, our backs, our calves. And I increasingly notice that the few women who are in heels seem to teeter, or have a foot cocked at an angle (to relieve the pain?) and it’s not elegant in the least.

  2. Beth
    January 29, 2019 / 4:31 am

    Wearing heels is the main thing I miss about growing older. I can deal with the thicker waist-line, the strands of gray and the wrinkles. But I miss wearing heels! And, like you, I never really wore the tallest ones .
    I do have one pair of “pumps” – with a 1/2 inch heel! I have a bunion and am trying to avoid surgery.
    Thanks for your post!

  3. Leslie
    January 29, 2019 / 4:40 am

    I wear only flats; nothing ever but flats, for over 30 years! I have happy comfortable feet and lots of great flats. It can be done!

  4. Ainsivalavie
    January 29, 2019 / 4:45 am

    Hi Susan,
    Hope those wonderful knee high Aquatalia suede boots that you took to France make the cut! The heel is just perfect…I own them too and it’s so difficult to find a truly elegant flatter heeled boot I was thrilled to discover these. I agree with your comment on a slight heel being more comfortable. My foot is the opposite of yours ( flat arch, pronate) so ballet flats are out, I require a bit of support and a little lift for real comfort.

    • Susan B
      January 29, 2019 / 5:33 am

      Oh yes, those are fabulously comfortable!

  5. January 29, 2019 / 4:48 am

    I haven’t worn real “heels” in years but even so.. (and you said you have high arches) here is just a warning: I began to have heel pain which my local podiatrist diagnosed as plantar fasciitis. Common complaint, right? Well, after two months of stretches, ice and some pt, it was almost worse. So I went to an orthopaedic surgeon (thank goodness!) who said I had a stress fracture and I’ve been in the knee-high boot for almost a month. Oh yes, it is awful. But guess what, pain is gone. So the moral here is, as we get older and arches fall and we have less fat in the foot, beware and take action asap!!! Thank goodness there are so many great looking and comfortable shoes out there these days…

  6. Sara
    January 29, 2019 / 4:57 am

    Absolutely with you, Susan. While I still cannot dispose of my very favourite high heels, (possibly might be useful for weddings? Other standing-about activities with minimal walking?) I have not worn them for a long time. When the newer pointed flats came in, they beautifully dealt with the smart shoe issue and were very comfortable(LK Bennett really suited my feet). The great flatform type shoes have taken over my everyday wear. As I do not have small or delicate feet, I keep them in light and neutral shades and mostly slip-on as I cannot get on with trainers – they make me look quite silly and rather like Minnie Mouse. Trainers (sneakers in the US?) are for training, whatever fashion says. Back to my mantra of style (eternal) not fashion (ephemeral).

  7. Cherry Robinson
    January 29, 2019 / 5:09 am

    I seem to be a little ahead of you, I went through this process a couple of years ago. Here’s my formula:
    Winter – Aquitalia knee high boots, 1” heel, bootees from Paul Green or Mephisto.
    Summer, sandals from Naot or Eileen Fisher, with 2” heeled sandals from Paul Green for fancy.
    All year, smarter flats from Paul Green, fashion sneakers from Mephisto.
    Workout/walking sneakers from On. ( sold at Zappos to rave reviews.)

    • MaryInMD
      January 29, 2019 / 4:49 pm

      Yes to Paul Green, again and again. For my wide feet, Aquatalia, Naot and Eileen Fisher all work SOMEtimes, but Paul Green is what I end up wearing far more often. This maker is so much less expensive when purchased in Europe! I have also discovered an inexpensive pointed toe, block heel pump that works for the Board room: Franco Sarto “Callan.”

  8. Sandi
    January 29, 2019 / 5:14 am

    I taught for 30 years in a High School that took up an entire city block and had four floors – no elevator in the first 15 yers – wore heels most days (along with a skirt, and all that!) and had to move from one classroom to another up granite stairs – NO IDEA how my feet took it but my friends and I have finally put that down to “being younger”!! The few heels I have now only go out to dinner when most of the time I’m seated – but old habits die hard and last Nov in London I HAD to buy a pair of block heels – navy patent with hot pink patent heels – they were certainly noticed!

  9. Bernice
    January 29, 2019 / 5:21 am

    Perhaps some of you should consider wearing wide widths in shoes which will help the toe box issue; many shoe manufacturers offer wide (and wide wide!) widths now….just a thought.

  10. Sarah
    January 29, 2019 / 5:38 am

    Oh! Those Paul Green metallic that I have swooned over for the last few years ?! Even those aren’t comfortable ?! Ooohhhhhhnooooooo

    • MaryInMD
      January 29, 2019 / 4:53 pm

      I have been wearing that Paul Green summer bootie for several years and find it very comfortable, and my job often involves a good amount of walking. I am in my 60’s, so if you like the shoe and can still wear heels at all, give it a try.

    • Maggie
      January 30, 2019 / 6:25 am

      I have many pairs of PG in this heel height and this style and another pair with slim heels are the only ones from the brand that I find uncomfortable.

  11. Mary E Jackson
    January 29, 2019 / 5:44 am

    I smile because I have had one pair of heels in my entire life – high school prom. Being 5 ft 10 inches I thought I was too tall to wear heels. My hubby is the same height so I wore 1″ heels on our wedding. But, never since….it has been flats all of the time! Recently I reconnected with my high school Homecoming date (a foreign exchange student) and he said the one thing he remembered about me was that I wore flats! I also have a very high arch and for several years I wore an orthotic which further limited my choices. I’m glad that flats are now plentiful and varied – welcome to the “flats world!”

  12. Vancouver Barbara
    January 29, 2019 / 5:57 am

    A London friend showed me her most elegant black suede pumps. The cut of those shoes is ultra elegant and the heel is only 1-1/2”. They are very dressy though very plain and she said they are ultra comfortable. Unfortunately I don’t know the brand name but just to say real elegance is available in shoes with lower heels.

    • Jeanne J.
      January 29, 2019 / 7:24 am

      I have some low-heeled black suede pumps, an elegant but discontinued style from Beautifeel, and oh did they feel good (until an ankle sprain interfered…). That’s probably a brand I should revisit.

      • Penelope
        January 29, 2019 / 7:49 am

        I second Beautifeel brand. I have a pair of black suede kitten heels( maybe 1 1/2 inches) that are stylish and comfortable too! Win!

  13. Cher
    January 29, 2019 / 6:01 am

    I swear by Munro as the most comfortable and stylish shoes available. Many have a 2 inch heel and most important cushioned insides and a rubber sole. Styles and sizes galore. And mostly made in the USA although they have started having some parts made out of the US. Sold at Nordstrom’s and not as expensive as Paul Green, Mephisto or Aquatalia. I have prolly 25 pair.

    • Susan Betts
      January 29, 2019 / 7:38 am

      I know the Munro family – the shoes are well made and well designed. Very comfortable and stylish without being flashy.
      I have several pair. I am waiting for them to bring back a flat soft lambskin bootie that I refuse to get rid if because I have no comfortable replacement!

      • Jane
        January 29, 2019 / 9:35 am

        Munro is wonderful. I also have good luck with Vionic for my wide, high arch feet.

  14. susie
    January 29, 2019 / 6:21 am

    Great comments and well thought. I want to suggest if you are having issues, go see a qualified podiatrist- or a a well educated practitioner who can evaluate your gait/foot/and all the angles etc. Dont just go to a sport store and walk on their treadmill……..After breaking my leg in accident, one leg is now shorter than the other. So I had to go get “adjusted” What a life changer. !!!!!
    I was told that as we age many things change in our feet and shoe choices and requirements can change. I still wear cute shoes, just paying attention to how I actually use them!!

  15. Eileen
    January 29, 2019 / 6:31 am

    I need cushioning in the ball of my foot, so a thicker bottom on the shoe, Munro and Clark work. I’ve been taking my shoes to have added soles, and reduced heels. The manufacturers could make some money addressing flatter shoes.

  16. Patsy Dickerson
    January 29, 2019 / 6:56 am

    What is your take on block 2″ heels?

    • Susan B
      January 29, 2019 / 6:59 am

      If they’re comfortable for you, wear them! My Everlane Day Boots https://shopstyle.it/l/YQ9p with a 2″ heel have made the cut so far.

  17. Evelyn
    January 29, 2019 / 7:07 am

    Amen to that! I even had to give up those lovely EF espadrilles pictured in your post. Bunions and back issues have turned me into a Birkenstock girl. They’e, well, they’re Birkenstocks, but they have upped their game by introducing fun colors and patterns and are they ever comfortable!

    • January 29, 2019 / 4:39 pm

      Have you tried doc martens winona textile mary janes? flat but very supportive and funky cute. I can’t wear birkies as the toe dividers are in the wrong place. Heaven or hell.

  18. January 29, 2019 / 7:19 am

    I’m with you on the shoes. Bunion surgery several years ago convinced me to dial high heels way back. I’m a huge fan of EF shoes and find even their 2” ones wearable for reasonable amounts of time. Being short, I have to pay close attention to the proportion of the rest of my outfit to prevent myself from looking frumpy. I’ll be watching to see what you find.

  19. January 29, 2019 / 7:21 am

    For me, it happened almost overnight. I wear sneakers, boots or loafers most days. And my eye has adjusted, I think flats looks really elegant.

  20. January 29, 2019 / 7:29 am

    Not sure where my comment went? For me, giving up heels was almost an overnight realization. I wear sneakers, loafers or boots most days. I actually love the look of flats and find them elegant.

  21. Mary
    January 29, 2019 / 7:30 am

    Heels are impossible for me and most shoes at that due to bunions. I long for a shoe maker who takes the natural shape of the foot into consideration. Found one woman in France. I will look forward to your posts re: comfortable shoes! My feet thank you 🙂

  22. Beth
    January 29, 2019 / 7:41 am

    Try Aetrex. They are about the only shoes that I wear now.

  23. Rondi
    January 29, 2019 / 7:41 am

    I understand about the heel height. I noticed that slowly over the years I was getting a lower and lower heel in dress shoes. My weak ankles just couldn’t take heels anymore. Shoes come in widths as well as length. I require a narrow which is an AA. Medium (most shoes) are a B. Wide is a C or D. Now E or EE are available. With people’s feet generally getting bigger it is increasingly difficult to find a narrow shoe. Not a shoe that runs narrow but an AA. Any cute shoe I see here or anywhere else is not available for us narrow footed ladies. I have to search for something comparable from the few companies that offer them. I also am not in the position to buy high end shoes although I do try to buy good shoes. But I am looking forward to Susan’s finds of cute shoes with a low heel! I find that sandals tend to look dressier even though they have a low heel.

  24. Eileen Farrar
    January 29, 2019 / 8:08 am

    I wish some of the stylish brands of flats and boots
    that you mention could accommodate a customer orthotic. That is my biggest challenge….!

  25. Lee Rosenthall
    January 29, 2019 / 8:23 am

    Susan, I am totally with you on this! But PLEASE do a post about how to look nice (or, ideally, FABULOUS) for a semi-formal wedding in comfortable shoes.

    I have HORRIBLE feet. Long, thin (not narrow, except at the heel, which is why I do best in boots). In my twenties, I jammed my feet into beautiful pumps and sandals a size or two too small so they’d stay on my feet, but over the years, I find I just can’t anymore. I either get blisters or am in so much pain because the fat pads on my feet are completely atrophied, it’s like walking on glass. Even the expensive “comfort” dress shoes (Helle) I bought four years ago no longer work.

    I recently bought FIVE pairs of dressy FitFlops in a size 8 trying to find something I can wear to a wedding next month in Florida. I love them all, but I ended up buying a couple pair of dressy Life Stride (Life Stride!) 2-inch pumps that I plan to remove after the ceremony itself. (I’m wearing black palazzo pants and a fancy kimono.)

    If you measure my foot, it’s a 41EU, but I wear anything from an 8 in sandals to a 10 in running shoes. Brands that work for others (like those beautiful Via Spiga boots I have to return because the sizing info on the Nordstrom website was incorrect) do not work for me. I need padding AND a little height, and ideally a pointed toe.

    For feet like mine (there must be a few of you out there!), I highly recommend Ecco sneakers (I wear a 40 in those), Lucchese boots (from their cheaper 1883 line – the “good” ones are too wide!) and going down a full size on sandals or open toe shoes. Naot? Too wide. Same with Birkenstocks (even the “narrow” ones).

    What does a woman wear to look stylish at formal and semi-formal events and not be in agony?

    • Cherry Robinson
      January 29, 2019 / 1:41 pm

      Don’t rule out Naot. Check their website, they make three different widths, but each style only comes in one of the widths – each width is a separate “collection”. You may have inadvertently tried only wide ones.

      • Lee Rosenthall
        January 30, 2019 / 6:17 am

        Thanks, Cherry. I’ll check again. I actually was fitted for these at the local high-end comfort shoe store, and it is a patent leather style (“Kate”) that has two adjustable straps and rhinestones. SO pretty! I bought a 40/L9 and have to tighten them so much, it just ruins the look and still never feels secure on my foot. I still have them and try them out from time to time. Unlike Susan, I’m terrible at letting go of my pretty shoes. 😀

  26. Ann S
    January 29, 2019 / 8:26 am

    Oh no…not the Paul Greens!

  27. Carol montanti
    January 29, 2019 / 8:29 am

    Thanks for all the suggestions in the comments, I have similar foot and shoe issues. I have found that wearing a dress is now more complicated because heels are usually the best choice, unless it’s a sundress with cute sandals. So pants for most occasions!?

  28. Pat
    January 29, 2019 / 8:34 am

    Susan, I’m curious to know if the off-white Via Spiga booties made the cut? I purchased them, but have yet to wear them.

    • Lee Rosenthall
      January 29, 2019 / 8:41 am

      I’m curious to hear how you like them, Pat. I bought the last 9.5 off the website hoping they wouldn’t be too big (really wanted the 40) based on Nordstrom’s sizing recommendations, which said a 9 was a 40-41 and a 9.5 was 41-41.5. I was so excited when they arrived and they are BEAUTIFUL, but they were so tight on my toes and still slipped in the ankle. Confused, I checked to see if they’s sent the right size. Turns out Via Spiga considers a US 9.5 an EU 39.5! That’s normally an 8.5! Back they go today. And I’m not trying the brand again because they’re too wide in the heel. 🙁

    • Susan B
      January 29, 2019 / 8:50 am

      Yes, they’re still in my shoe wardrobe!

  29. Susan
    January 29, 2019 / 8:38 am

    I think the trick is to wear a shoe that has the right cut for your foot. Then it need not be a comfort brand. I prefer to wear a designer brand….I think they are better made and have excellent value on a “cost per wear” basis. My foot likes a slight heel…no flats. Sandals and mules work well for me because my feet are two different sizes (almost a full size). No pointy toes, but an almond toe will work. With this formula, I can buy lovely loafers, sandals, mules and boots.

  30. Susie Harris
    January 29, 2019 / 8:41 am

    I wear low heels/flats 99% of the time, but I do have a few pair of 2”-3” heels (wedding shoes) that are made much more comfortable with Vivian Lou insoles. I am in no way affiliated with them, just a fan! They are unlike any others I have tried. They shift the weight of your foot..away from the toes. Their inserts for low heels/flats are fantastic as well. They came out with a casual sandal last summer that is like butter. I’m pretty easy to fit, but I’ve been through bunion surgery (if you need it, do it!) and I’m in my 60’s. It definitely pays to invest in quality footwear at any heel height. I’m always watching the sales!

  31. Carol
    January 29, 2019 / 9:01 am

    Check out he “Barking Dog Shoes” website: https://www.barkingdogshoes.com. It’s geared toward shoes for “problem” feet (bunions, hammertoes, etc.), searches out stylish options.

  32. stephanie
    January 29, 2019 / 9:08 am

    Im close to six foot tall and have been since the age of 12, in heels I look like a supermassive giant and feel ridiculous, so nope … no heels for me. I dont feel like Im missing out at all and enjoy my old but healthy and happy feet. I run 10k most days and suffer from black toenails a lot but my feet serve have served me well!

  33. Pat
    January 29, 2019 / 9:46 am

    Lee Rosenthall, the Via Spiga booties feel really good in my normal size 8. I sometimes have a problem with heel slipping, but not with these. I debated about these due to the pointed toes, but when they went on sale, I’m glad I took a chance on ordering them. I like that they have a thicker sole, which is usually more comfortable. Shoes with the thin soles…feel like the foot is hitting the pavement, after a while. Sorry they didn’t work for you, but I believe I’m going to love them. I would say they run true to size, since fit is not always easy for me. I hope this helps.

  34. Pat
    January 29, 2019 / 9:49 am

    Sorry for the duplicated post replying to Lee Rosenthall. I didn’t think I submitted the first one.

    • Susan B
      January 29, 2019 / 9:50 am

      I deleted the first one for you. 😉

  35. January 29, 2019 / 9:50 am

    Flat sneakers and 1 inch are very comfortable. But as you know I am still trying to tell my body that it should be able to walk on high heels. Even with the knee trouble.
    I won’t say I will walk to town on high heels. No way. My work provides me most of the high heels exposure. I always say that my work environment is my catwalk. Which will give me a problem when I retire.
    Greetje

  36. Lee Rosenthall
    January 29, 2019 / 10:20 am

    Glad to hear they fit, Pat. They’re gorgeous!

  37. January 29, 2019 / 10:33 am

    Have you tried the Toni Pons, espadrilles? They are great, a wedge style, that worked for me, on last year’s, vacation, walking all over Spain. My feet are beyond sensitive. So hard to find the right shoe, that is attractive, and still walkable. Paul Green is both stylish and comfortable, in many, but not all styles. Love your shoe selections! Have found lots of shoe inspirations, for delicate, feet, from your posts! Thank you so much! Please keep them coming! Always on the look out for new shoe ideas!

  38. Ann in Missouri
    January 29, 2019 / 10:34 am

    I admire each of you who’ve given up on high heels. You have the courage I lack — to actually divest your closets of those beautiful things.

    These days I wear 2.5-inch to 3 inch heels no more than three or four times a year to weddings or on formal nights on cruises. Obviously I have trouble getting rid of pretty things, whether I wear them anymore or not.

    I need more therapy!

  39. January 29, 2019 / 11:03 am

    Remember when we were young and used to run to work in high heels? Those days are gone, which Meghan and kate will also eventually discover. I also have high arches and own a dozen pairs of FitFlop sandals and shoes. They’re soft and have arch supports that are ALMOST high enough. Like them better than Vionic. FitFlop.com is having a great sale right now. They fit large.

  40. Carol
    January 29, 2019 / 12:11 pm

    Not there yet, thank goodness, although I’m pretty sure I have to give up my skinnier 3″ and above heels. For work, I rotate among several pairs of Fluevog pumps (we go to Vancouver every Christmas so I visit the mother ship and ride the exchange rate) that have 2 – 2/12″ wide-based heels, along with some lower-heeled Sigerson-Morrison and Aquatalia ankle boots. If I need to run an errand while at the office, I change into a pair of Superga tennies I keep under my desk. The combination of wider-based heels (no skinny heels of any height), varying heel height, and flats for the weekend seems to keep me going. I imagine when I’ll retire my shoe collection will narrow.

    • Maggie
      January 30, 2019 / 6:21 am

      I’m with you, Carol. I still wear heels for work (and the many compliments on my 3” leopard stilettos are always followed by, “how can you stand it?” from women in my age bracket). I worry I’m tempting fate, though, and will have no need for heels/gleefully cast them aside when I retire in 4 years. Like you, I find my Fluevogs supremely comfortable and I’m a fan of Aquatalis and Sigersons.

  41. Cathy D.
    January 29, 2019 / 2:53 pm

    It happens to all of us eventually. I used to tell myself that it was better to have a smile on my face from wearing comfortable (flat) shoes than to wear heels and a frown. Now I truly believe it. There are a lot of attractive flats out there, including sneakers. It’s a matter of adjusting your eye.

    On a related topic, what’s wrong with being short? Why do women wear heels to look taller? I thought we were in the age of accepting our body as beautiful no matter its height or shape!

  42. marilyn bornstein
    January 29, 2019 / 4:52 pm

    Happily, I have no trouble walking in 3′ heels and will continue to do so. That is not to say that I don’t like comfy low heel shoes. But I prefer to wear heels on most occasions. Love the line it gives me from foot to leg. Long and lean!

  43. Kay
    January 29, 2019 / 5:13 pm

    Medical issues forced me to give up heels decades ago. I really don’t miss them. I have made wearing flats part of my signature style.

  44. January 29, 2019 / 8:15 pm

    Try the nicely coloured Ecco hiking sandals in Summer – excellent arch support and adjustable straps all over. Look fine with trousers and casual summer skirts. Romika also has some shoes that look high-heeled but have stacked soles which means the heel is much lower than it looks. I need orthotics for my dodgy big toe joints and high instep and these brands have given me my life back – I spent about 6 years wearing running shoes before I found these brands.
    Even “normal” people make positive comments on the Romika shoes.
    I’m 69 and five foot two inches ( 157cm) and was a lawyer when it wasn’t common to have females in the profession so wore very high heels to stop being treated as if I were a child – result? wreaked feet!

    People generally think I’m a well dressed woman despite my shoes – I make sure to keep the eyes “up” so wear jewellery, colourful scarves, colourful tops, jackets and coats. Nobody notices what’s on my feet – when I demur over a compliment and say ” have you seen my shoes?!” they’re always surprised when they look down and airily dismiss the footwear.

    It works for me.

    I live in New Zealand though so perhaps we dress a bit more casually than may be common in Europe and North America.

  45. Susan
    January 30, 2019 / 4:16 am

    I have never been a huge fan of heels (on me), but definitely a no go since I have hallux rigidus in my large toe. A steroid shot in the joint helped, but I now need orthotics in my shoes for long distsnce walking. Otherwise, I wear a brand called Rollie – they are fantastically light lace up shoes. They are hugely popular in Australia from 20s to 70s women and are now sold in the USA. But, I did buy a lovely pair of suede, pointed flats from Ziera for a dressier look and they have a high instep for comfort.

  46. Elle
    January 30, 2019 / 6:14 am

    Since it’s boot season here, I live in La Canadienne suede boots (many lower & flat heels on Zappos) & Merrill light hikers when it’s messy.

    Thanks for the other ideas, all. Great post & comments!

  47. Carol
    January 30, 2019 / 6:28 am

    Has anyone had bunion surgery that has allowed them to comfortably wear previous heels and/or modern footwear? I’ve heard that the foot is never the same after bunion surgery. I only wear heels for special occasions and then it’s usually no more than 2-2 1/2 inches. I have a long-time bunion and about 15 years ago a doctor (not a podiatrist) told me that the surgery had yet to be perfected and her advice was to hold off as long as I can on the surgery if I’m not in pain. I’m not in pain but the problem is my second toe is trying to cross over and that’s not a good look in sandals or any other kind of open-toe shoe.

  48. Jane2
    January 30, 2019 / 7:42 am

    I gave up my heels a few years ago. Since then, I’ve replenished my shoe wardrobe with mainly Mephisto and Arche styles (much cheaper ordering directly from France) with one of the nicer Birkenstock styles thrown in. Softinos (Portugal) makes great fashionable casual shoes – I can wear them without socks in humid weather and get no blisters.

    I also kept various flats, and have found the secret is a good low profile insole – I alternate between Superfeet (recommended by runners and they really are fabulous) and a pair of sport Birkenstock insoles that fit in all my shoes.

  49. January 30, 2019 / 8:04 am

    Look at the feet of older women in yoga classes, at beach, or check out the rare times you see Jane Fonda’s or Lily Tomlin’s feet in Grace & Frankie: most have been deformed by the system of slow-motion foot-binding most shoes employ.

    So sad what we do to our bodies for fashion. Feet & shoes should be widest at the toes.

    • January 30, 2019 / 5:07 pm

      I heartily agree. And I’ m an artist, who loves beautiful things, including clothing, on men or women. Beauty shold not be pain, or reduced mobility.

    • Stephanie Anderson
      January 30, 2019 / 6:37 pm

      Cara, you’re absolutely correct! I could never wear heels, even in my twenties, and as I’m 5’8″, never felt the need to appear taller. I also have very large feet that have widened to a size 12 W over the years. As a result, my 65-year old feet are very nicely formed with no bunions. I wore Birkenstocks in my 30s and now swear by Finn Comfort sandals (a German brand), New Balance or Saucony running shoes (for walking and traveling), Munro and Thierry Rabotin for when I really need to dress up.

  50. Nancy Karpen
    January 30, 2019 / 12:43 pm

    I haven’t been able to wear heels in years and never high heels with my flat feet. I look forward to seeing what you find.

  51. Ellie
    January 30, 2019 / 4:06 pm

    Another upvote for Fluevogs here! I’ve had to weed out the narrower-heeled pairs, but the blocky, rubber-soled styles are more comfortable than any other heels I have.

    For those looking for good comfortable/low options and/or inspiration, the Barking Dogs and En Brogue blogs are great resources. Barking Dogs (https://www.barkingdogshoes.com/) reviews shoes for all kinds of problem feet, and En Brogue (https://enbrogue.com/) wears & reviews only flats.

  52. madamedummy
    January 30, 2019 / 11:33 pm

    aggggggggggghhhhhhhhhh …
    not the Paul Greens !!!???
    say it ain’t so ……lol

  53. Jill Ann
    January 31, 2019 / 7:41 pm

    What a fraught subject! Like many others, I wore heels all the time to work in my younger days. 2 1/2 to 3 inches was my zone. I haven’t worked in an office for about 15 years, and as a result don’t often wear heels. I have a high instep but luckily no bunions, so I *can* still wear my beautiful heels on occasion, as long as it doesn’t involve a lot of standing. The problem, for me, is that I hate the way flats look with a skirt. Can’t abide Birkenstocks, they make my feet look like boats. For summer dresses, I find an espadrille wedge is a perfect solution. For colder weather, I sometimes do a longer skirt with tights and flat boots. But a knee length skirt just seems to demand a heel!

  54. Julie
    February 2, 2019 / 1:18 am

    Gosh I am now 50 and haven’t worn high heels since my early 20s, so I admire that you have been able to wear your heels for so long. No one in the city where I live wears heels during the day, and not many people do in the evening anymore, although I have to admit some shoes top off a nice dress.

    In the winter I live in ankle length boots and in the warmer months just slip on shoes and sandals.

  55. Pam
    February 2, 2019 / 11:38 am

    Same here and my feet are also definitely happier. Don’t miss the aches at the end of the day. I did save all the Manolos and Weitzmans at request of my daughter who now wears them.

  56. Wendelah
    February 2, 2019 / 6:17 pm

    I’m a retired RN. After being diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, I wore high-end supportive running shoes plus a custom orthotic for work. As instructed by my doctor, I also gave up high heels, sandals with a heel over an inch, and any flat shoe that didn’t have sufficient arch support. I’ve been free of pain from that condition for fifteen years at least. I used to be able to wear Munros but they don’t have enough cushion. I stick to Brooks running shoes and Aravon boots and oxfords. I can also wear Fitflop’s Kys style and Finn Comfort’s Jamaika sandal. And Birkinstocks, of course.

    I have a wide foot, a very narrow heel, a high arch and a high instep, so my shoe options were always going to be limited.

    I never wore heels over two and a half inches, and wore “dad sneakers” and Birkenstocks before they were cool (and will be wearing them long after they’ve been deemed outré). I can’t blame my shoes for my foot issues. I simply have bad feet.

  57. Kathleen Ludgate
    February 4, 2019 / 8:03 pm

    I know this feeling! I have kept two pairs of kitten heels…one is leopard, the other nude. I have three pairs of booties with a slight heel. Two pairs of boots with a slight heel. The rest are flats.

  58. Pat
    February 9, 2019 / 11:08 pm

    I began weeding out heels higher than 2 inches about a year ago, and I’m not replacing them. First went the 3 inch stilettos, then 2.5 inches ones as they wore out. Others were sold or gifted to my nieces. I am 58 and lower back pain can be an issue, but honestly comfort is more important to me now. Shoes with heels below 1 inch or flats are my new favorites. Now when I buy a pair of shoes, I look at heel and support and then style. I have found stylish and comfortable shoes. I am mostly buying loafers, ballet flats, interesting flats, sneakers, and low wedges – and going for higher quality. I am also no longer buying work shoes. While I plan to work for a few more years, I have plenty of shoes to wear for work. By the time I retire, they will all be gone. And I will have a nice wardrobe of ankle boots, loafers, flats, sneakers, and wedges. These will be perfect for retirement and travel.

  59. February 14, 2019 / 7:31 pm

    I wear mostly flats as well as very low heels partly for comfort’s sake and partly because I’m significantly taller than my hubby.

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