It’s no secret that finding the perfect pair of shoes makes you feel great. If they’re the right style, fit and look, chances are you’re going to love wearing them.
However, sometimes the pair that looks amazing isn’t as comfortable as you’d like. The good news is you don’t need to sacrifice shoe comfort for style. In this guide, we’ll show you what to look for to find the best comfy shoes for you
What makes shoes comfortable?
The biggest factor in shoe comfort is the design – specifically the padding, sole and fit. The next time you’re shopping for shoes, look out for:
- Padded lining inside
- Foam insole (memory foam is the best option)
- Flat base (as opposed to a heel)
- Room inside the shoe (especially around the toes)
- Firm sole
The next time you’re shopping for comfortable work shoes, or a pair you’ll feel relaxed in on a night out, look for these specific design elements and try them on before buying if you can.
Why is it important to wear comfortable shoes?
Wearing comfortable work shoes is important if you’re on your feet for long periods. Wearing uncomfortable shoes can lead to common foot problems including:
- Foot arch issues
- Gait problems
By wearing shoes that fit well and provide your toes with enough space, you’re less likely to risk crowding your feet. You’ll also prevent blisters by wearing comfortable shoes which are tight enough to hold your foot properly yet relaxed enough to avoid causing friction, according to the NHS.
How to choose comfy shoes
Here are the features to look out for when searching for a comfortable pair of shoes.
Ideally, the level of padding in your shoe should be sufficient to prevent your feet from rubbing, without constricting their movement.
If you’re searching for men’s shoes or women’s flat shoes, look for padding around the ankle, side of the foot and top of the foot. Hunting for heels? Find a pair of shoes with padding around the toes and heel. After all, these areas are typically the most vulnerable to soreness and blistering, so extra padding will help ensure shoe comfort.
Insoles provide a padded surface for your feet throughout the day. Memory foam insoles mould to the shape of your foot to provide maximum comfort. Learn more about shoe insoles.
Flat shoes are often the most comfortable option. They allow your feet to roll heel to toe when you walk, evenly distributing the weight across your foot.
Room inside the shoe
The main reason people suffer when wearing shoes is that they haven’t picked the right size. If you aren’t sure of your correct shoe size, have your feet measured.
When you try your shoes on, you should have enough room to wiggle your toes (slightly). If you can’t move your toes at all, your shoes are too tight and may eventually cause you pain. This is an important point to bear in mind when choosing comfortable shoes for women, such as high heels.
The firmer the sole, the more stable the shoe. Picking a rubber sole that is a minimum of 1-2cm thick will provide padding between the foot and the hard surface you’re walking on. A flexible sole will often be very thin and won’t protect the bottom of your foot from impact with the ground, which can cause pain in the soles of your feet.
Comfy shoe styles for men and women
We recommend you always make comfort a priority whether you’re selecting shoes for work, a night out or a walk.
Comfortable shoes for men
- A black or brown lightweight shoe with a rubber sole and a comfortable lining makes a great formal shoe or comfortable work shoe.
- Trainers are a stylish option that work well when paired with your favourite jeans. Plus, they help support the arches of your feet.
- Flat shoes are a great comfortable shoe for men looking for a smart-casual look.
Comfortable shoes for women
- Flat shoes with rounded toes and padded heels work well with summer dresses and floaty skirts for a warm-weather look.
- A low heel with plenty of padding, round toe and buckled strap will help keep your feet comfortable by reducing slipping. Plus, they’ll look great at work or with a casual dress.
- Flat shoes and trainers will help support your feet and keep you comfortable if you’re after a relaxed look for running errands.
- Try boots with a low, chunky heel to keep your feet warm and comfortable in the winter. They pair well with dresses, jeans and skirts.
- Chunky heels will typically offer more support than a stiletto and are often more suitable if you’re going to be wearing your shoes for a prolonged period.
Whichever style you choose to suit your occasion, follow these tips and you’ll be able to find a comfortable shoe easily. Get more advice on finding shoes with a comfortable fit in our guide to shoe widths.