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The Most Comfortable Designer Heels, According to a Podiatrist

It’s hard to forget Carrie Bradshaw’s fabulous wardrobe, especially her shoes. In fact, the lead of “Sex and the City” was rarely found in anything but sky-high stilettos and pointy-toe pumps from her favorite designers — whether walking countless city blocks or entertaining for hours. While, of course, TV doesn’t always reflect reality (and we’re sure there were lots of scene breaks involved), the question still remains: Wasn’t Carrie suffering in those beautiful yet painful-looking styles?

Fact of the matter is, heels often skimp on comfort — with designer options being some of the worst offenders.

“Most designer heels provide little support,” New York-based podiatrist Dr. Allyssa Knowles told FN. “This causes ankle instability and little to no shock absorption, which in turn can lead to a lot of foot and back pain.”

Thankfully, however, all hope is not lost if you have a penchant for luxury footwear. According to Dr. Knowles, there are a few high-end labels that are actually getting it right in the comfort department. Brands like Tory Burch offer styles with roomy toe boxes and stabilizing chunky heels, while podiatric surgeon turned shoe designer Marione Park and celebrity-loved designer Tamara Mellon offer stilettos that are anatomically crafted to support your feet throughout the day.

When shopping for designer heels, Dr. Knowles suggests looking for a few key features to enhance comfort. In addition to seeking out pairs with wider square or round toe boxes and block or cone-shaped heels, she suggests looking for pairs with cushioned, contoured insoles and moderate heel heights under four inches. If you can’t live without loftier styles, she advises choosing pairs with platform bases to reduce stress on the front of the foot and make the shoes easier to walk in.

Once you’ve purchased your shoes, she also suggests taking them to a local cobbler, who can add a rubber tip near the toe box and rubber heel cap for elevated shock absorption.

Read on to discover the podiatrist-approved designer heels worth adding to your lineup.

Tory Burch Adrien

“The Tory Burch style offers the comfort of a loafer with the confidence of a heel,” said Dr. Knowles. “The square toe accommodates wider feet, and the rubber block heel provides great shock absorption for extended wear.”

Tory Burch Adrien
Tory Burch Adrien
CREDIT: Tory Burch


Marion Parke Devon

Marion Parke shoes are the first luxury-label heels to be engineered by a foot and ankle surgeon. After all, who better to construct a pair of heels than someone who not only wears them but has studied and operated on the human foot for years? These sleek boots are just one outstanding product from the brand. They offer a pointed toe effect but round off ever so slightly to avoid cramping of the toes. From the side view, the heel looks stiletto-like, but on the oblique view you can see the squaring of the heel which is a much more stable construct. The look is an illusion, but the comfort is real!”

Marion Parke Devon
Marion Parke Devon
CREDIT: Orchard Mile

Marion Parke Millie Booties

“The soles of this boot contour to the foot and provide slight cupping on the medial and lateral aspect, giving great stability.”

Marion Parke Millie Booties
Marion Parke Millie booties.
CREDIT: Orchard Mile

Marion Parke Alanis

“If you look closely at the inside sole of this sandal, there is great support to avoid pronation (the foot rolling either inward or outward) and arch pain. The platform at the ball of the foot makes up for the heel height, so in reality, there isn’t much strain on the foot. Not to mention, the look is super-stylish.”

Marion Parke Alanis
Marion Parke Alanis
CREDIT: Orchard Mile

Tamara Mellon Mister

“Again, the block heel! It allows for extended wear, as the shape is much more stable and helps absorb shock. The leather in this pair is also accommodating even though it covers a pointy toe box.”

Tamara Mellon Mister
Tamara Mellon Mister
CREDIT: Tamara Mellon

Tamara Mellon Siren 

“Although this style includes a higher heel than recommended, the clear area at the toe box provides support while still giving a very sleek illusion. The inside sole also has slight cupping for some arch support.”

Tamara Mellon Siren 
Tamara Mellon Siren
CREDIT: Tamara Mellon

Tamara Mellon Stardust

“The round toe box accommodates wider-width feet, while the triangle heel gives a stiletto-like appearance yet provides support at the heel of the foot before it tapers down.”

Tamara Mellon Stardust
Tamara Mellon Stardust
CREDIT: Tamara Mellon

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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