As women continue to climb the corporate ladder in greater numbers than ever, it will likely be more comfortable to get to the top in a pair of flats.
If you’re already thinking flats can’t measure up to the fashion statement a pair of power pumps can make at the office, think again. Simply because shoes don’t add inches to your stature, it doesn’t mean they can’t deliver when it comes to elevating your professional style. With so many different options on the market, think about your office dress code, clearly outlined or otherwise, to narrow your search down. For a more dressed-up environment or ensemble, try out a pair of ballet flats or loafers with a pointed toe. These shoes elongate the leg-line without adding any unnatural arch that could promote discomfort throughout the day. For a more laidback look, try a flat with a round-toe or softer construction. A chunky pair of loafers is a great casual option, too.
Note that a shoe’s comfort level is not necessarily tied to its heel height. There’s a range of often hidden features that enhance the wearability of a flat. Starting from the outside, check for upper materials, both natural and faux leather, that are soft and pliable to avoid blisters.
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Next, gently press your finger into the insole to check whether the cushioning runs the full length of the footbed. To enhance your comfort experience, even more, look for insoles with arch supports to help promote body alignment. Lastly, turn shoes over. When doing so, evaluate using this litmus test: Do they have lightweight flexible outsoles – will they move easily as you walk?
Here, FN has curated a selection of flats to fit a variety of work settings.
A tailored smoking slipper style with a gently tapered toe and cushioned footbed insole is easy to wear with skirts or trousers. They are available in several neutral tones and various widths, including those for individuals with narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide feet.
It’s easy to dress up just about any look with this simple ballet style in metallic leather that incorporates a lightly padded footbed and flexible rubber outsole. They feature a rounded toe and come in wide options, too.
Vionic Delilah Flat
Dress up your everyday flat with this in this Mary Jane-inspired version from Vionic. They feature a delicately tapered toe, slim adjustable strap across the vamp, and signature footbed with arch support to enhance natural alignment.
Dr. Scholl’s Really
Comfortably walk on the wild side in a leopard-print calf hair ballet flat designed with a gently cushioned insole for all-day wear. The tractioned outer sole makes for steadier strides and have a slip-on silhouette to effortlessly throw on for any occasion.
Cole Haan Pinch Weekender
There’s nothing that says relaxed like a classic penny moc — this one is done in soft leather with a padded insole and rubber outsole for cushioned and safeguarded strides. Pair with jeans and a tee-shirt to refresh your weekend or day off uniform.
Naturalizer Samantha Pointed Toe Flat
In both leather and suede finishes and several color options, these flats feature a d’Orsay silhouette, pointed toe, and 1/4-inch heel for some everyday elegance. Choose from satin-like or rich neutral hues to pair with a crisp suit or pair of jeans.
Steve Madden Feather Loafer Flats
With a sleek pointed toe and leather or suede exterior, these flats are soft enough to conform to your foot shape for all-day comfort and add a classy finishing touch to any ensemble for work or play. Try out a fun snakeskin pattern like this option below or go for a more subdued option with a sleek black or blush-colored pick.
Dr. Scholls ‘Find Me’ Loafers
These espadrilles have a cushioned and shock-absorbing insole for maximum comfort to reduce foot pressure and fatigue. They have a micro-suede upper for a casual-luxe feel and jute-rope inspired midsole for a beachy and warm-weather aesthetic.
Toms Classic Canvas Flat
Easy to put, take off, and wear nearly anywhere, these casual shoes will become a weekend favorite with its slip-on design and 100% canvas construction. Choose from a variety of versatile shades from black to grey and navy or red, as pictured below.
Keds Bryn Ballet Flat
For a more polished version of the classic sneaker, these ballet flats provide the comfort that you already know and love with a more feminine twist. These flats feature a twill upper with a foam footbed for extra support. Pair this ’90s-inspired minimalist shoe with a linen ensemble for a warm-weather ready look.
Circus By Sam Edelman Connie Ballet Flat
For a feminine flair that adds a timeless and sophisticated touch to any outfit, these bow-adorned ballet flats pair well with jeans, trousers, and skirts. They have a full upper leather construction and feature 6 millimeters of padding on the insoles for ample comfort and foot support. Choose from various neutral, metallic, and leopard-print options to find one that best suits your style.
Dream Paris D’Orsay Flats
Featuring a cushioned footbed and a pointed toe, these flats feature an open-side silhouette with an ankle-strap. These attributes allow your feet to breathe while providing ample foot support and comfort. They are crafted from faux leather and are available in a variety of neutral, two-tone, and embellished color options, so you’re sure to find one that is well suited to your style.
All products featured have been independently selected and curated by our editorial team. If you buy something through the links included on our site, FN may earn a commission.
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