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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 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? Aka will they move easily as you walk?
Here, FN has curated a selection of ultra-comfortable flats to fit a variety of work settings.
Done in a rich blue hue, this romantic Mary Jane style from Rothy’s features blush-colored front straps that can be tied to create the perfect fit. Like the rest of the brand’s popular offerings, the eco-friendly silhouette is made with a recycled knit upper designed to mold to the shape of your foot and a grippy vegan leather outsole for unbeatable comfort.
FitFlop is known for its stylish offerings with orthopedic levels of comfort, and this ballet flat from the label is no exception. Available in eight different colors and finishes, the round toe style features high-rebound cushioning technology in the soles to minimize impact, plus an anatomically contoured footbed and slip-resistant outsole for steady strides. Elastic at the ankle allows you to easily slip these on, and helps prevent blisters.
Birdies the Starling
If you’re a fan of Birdies’ ultra-plush slides, you’ll love its full loafer just as much. High-density memory foam and arch support makes this pair wearable for hours on end, while a clean, modern silhouette and rich suede upper make them suitable for everything from boardroom meetings to after work drinks.
Everlane The 40-Hour Flat
As their name suggests, these flats are designed to comfortably take you through your workdays, complete with unlined Italian leather that molds to your foot, a cushioned insole and flexible rubber outsole. Their pointed toe finish and topstitched accents amp up this classic look, so you’re bound to have these on repeat.
Clarks Pure 2 Mule White Interest
Featuring a luxe leather upper, subtle metal hardware and warm shearling linings, this chic mule is perfect to sport in offices where the air conditioning is on blast, or for keeping you warm during the cooler months. Topped off with the brand’s Cushion Plus footbed, they’re also wearable for your morning commute.
This tailored smoking slipper style with a gently tapered toe and cushioned footbed insole is easy to wear with skirts or trousers. It’s available in several neutral tones and various widths, including those for individuals with narrow, medium, wide and extra-wide feet.
Madewell The Cory Flat
A squared-off toe makes these sleek black flats a cool-girl staple. Supple leather from the inside out and WL Cloudlift Lite padding ensure you’ll never want to take these off.
It’s easy to dress up just about any look with this simple ballet style in soft yellow suede, which incorporates a lightly padded footbed and flexible rubber outsole. It features a rounded toe and comes in wide width options, too.
Vionic Jade Slingback
This polished slingback offers a bit more flair than a basic ballet flat, but is still effortlessly workplace appropriate. Perfect for pairing with slacks or skirts, it features a delicately tapered toe, adjustable buckle across the ankle strap 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 outsole makes for steadier strides, while the slip-on silhouette allows you to effortlessly throw these on for any occasion.
Cole Haan Pinch
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 it with jeans and a tee to refresh your weekend or day off uniform.
Allbirds Tree Breezers
Just as comfy as the brand’s lightweight sneakers, these airy flats made of eucalyptus tree fibers allow feet to breathe and move freely. To top it all off, they feature a bouncy outsole made of Brazilian sugarcane, a cushiony, moisture-wicking insole and are machine washable for easy maintenance.
Naturalizer Samantha Pointed Toe Flat
In both leather and suede finishes and several color options, these flats feature a d’Orsay silhouette and pointed toe for everyday elegance. Choose from satin-like or rich neutral-toned versions of the pair to style with a crisp suit or jeans.
Steve Madden Feather Loafer Flats
With a sleek pointed toe and leather or suede exterior, these flats add a classy finishing touch to any ensemble for work or play. What’s more, they’re soft enough to conform to your foot for all-day comfort. 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.
Hush Puppies Sadie Mule
Get down to business in these metallic mules, complete with a soft fabric lining and the brand’s rubber Bounce footbed for a fuss-free fit that won’t distract from you from what the day holds. The style is also super sleek thanks to a leg-lengthening pointed toe and tassel embellishments.
Toms Classic Canvas Flat
Easy to put, take off, and wear nearly anywhere, these casual shoes will become a weekend favorite with their slip-on design and 100% canvas construction. Choose from a variety of versatile shades from black to gray and navy or red.
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.
M. Gemi The Felize Croco
An all-over Crocodile print gives this classic driving moccasin some exotic edge. Coming in at under $250, the must-have style features hand-painted leather and a sock-like fit designed to mold to your feet after just a few wears.
Circus By Sam Edelman Connie Ballet Flat
Add a timeless and sophisticated touch to any outfit with these bow-adorned ballet flats. They have a full upper leather construction and feature 6 millimeters of padding on the insoles for ample comfort and foot support.