I Tried It: These Office-Appropriate Heels Are More Comfortable Than Most of My Flats

I’ll preface this story with the following: There doesn’t exist a pair of heels I’m not willing to take on a test run (pun intended).

Despite the dad shoe craze and increasing acceptance of sneakers in the modern office, I’ve long favored heels over any other style of footwear, and although they’re not the most comfortable option, my stubborn solution has always been to simply withstand the aches and pains.

From Christian Louboutin’s Pigalle pump to a more wallet-friendly Zara block heel, I keep a mental running list of 3- to 4-inch-high shoes that have braved countless subway stairs, sprints down Fifth Avenue, strolls on Tribeca’s cobblestone-paved streets and the general hodge-podge of New York City commutes.

Over time, the discomfort diminished, and I’m now able to wear many pairs with little complaint. But, of course, nothing beats heels that are as comfortable as they are chic.

Enter Sam Edelman’s Hazel pumps. I received my first pair last February, a classic nude leather in a timeless pointed-toe silhouette. With a low-cut vamp and a boost of 3.5 inches, they were undeniably pretty — the kind of shoe that not only lengthened the legs, but also exuded sophistication through a slim stiletto.

FN digital news editor Samantha McDonald wears a pair of Sam Edelman's Hazel pumps in nude leopard brahma
FN digital news editor Samantha McDonald wears a pair of Sam Edelman’s Hazel pumps in nude leopard brahma.
CREDIT: George Chinsee

The first time I wore them was around the office, where I spend majority of my workdays seated in front of two screens. Like most of the heels I own, they took a number of uses to break in, though I can’t recall the moment they molded perfectly to my feet. The padded insole provided adequate cushioning with solid arch support, while the counter of the shoe never once rubbed the skin below my ankles.

I started wearing them to rooftop happy hours, daytime shopping trips and casual soirées. They quickly became my default choice for professional settings, including market appointments and my first visit to the New York Stock Exchange.

I didn’t even realize the moment I once walked the stretch of 8th Avenue from 33rd Street to the Upper West Side while on a date. “How are your feet doing?” he asked, suggesting we get a cab after the nearly 40-block trek. But I was fine, really. I didn’t want the night to end, and thanks to my snug pair of Hazel pumps, I didn’t have to cut it short.

Soon, however, the heels needed a little TLC. Resilient and dependable, they continued to battle the elements with me — through rain, shine, puddles and Manhattan’s generally mucky streets — but eventually, after what was surely dozens of wears and several months, the tip of the heel broke. (RIP, Hazel.)

That’s not to say they no longer exist in my wardrobe. In fact, I couldn’t go more than a few months without my new trusty pair of shoes, ordering another pair in a more winter-appropriate leopard print. (Side note: They’re just as comfortable.) Considering how often they’re already being worn, I expect these to last me a few seasons. And if they do happen to retire before then, I also got a backup pair in tan suede to do the job.

They say if the shoe fits, buy it in every color. I’ll be doing just that.

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