Just because flats technically keep your feet closer to the ground, doesn’t mean they’re always more comfortable than heels. We know all too well that a stiff leather upper or lack of cushioning can mean blisters and throbbing arches. But whether you plan to wear them as dress shoes, work shoes, everyday shoes or while you travel, the most comfortable flats for women will keep you feeling supported for hours.
What to look for in comfortable flats for women
Podiatrists agree that the most comfortable flats for women have ample cushioning, breathable linings to keep feet cool and malleable uppers that won’t rub in all the wrong places.
If you’re someone that has common foot conditions like flat feet or high arches, however, California-based podiatrist Dr. Najwa Javed encourages you to “always buy a shoe with a stable sole to help support the arch of the foot.” If you’ve got wide feet, opt for shoes that come in a wide size option or that “have soft mesh on the upper that will help reduce pinching for wide feet,” she notes. And as for people suffer from plantar fasciitis, look for styles with a flexible midsole and padding in the forefoot — as well as options that can accommodate an insole — for extra support.
The most comfortable flats can also be great for anyone whose job requires them to stand on their feet all day, as long as they have proper heel cushioning as well as midfoot and arch support, advises Illinios-based podiatrist Dr. Michael Fishkin. “When body weight is distributed evenly, your foot is less apt to fatigue quicker,” he previously told FN.
Of course, it doesn’t hurt if the flats are chic and versatile, too. While the traditional ballet flat silhouette is making a comeback, there are plenty of modern and eye-catching styles you can now add to your cart. Think soft knit flats done in elegant patterns, sleek croc-embossed loafers and cool color-blocked mules you can wear from the couch to the office and everywhere in between. As an added incentive, some brands are even making their cute and wearable flats eco-friendly.
Considering all this, we rounded up the 16 most comfortable flats for women. Backed by hundreds of glowing customer reviews and our own testing, these styles come courtesy of top comfort brands and other popular labels who are getting it right in the support (and style) departments.
Dr. Scholl’s Webster Loafer
Whether paired with mom jeans and a crop top or tailored suit combo, this modern loafer from Dr. Scholl’s is easily to pull off for any occasion. In addition to featuring a cool, multi-textured upper, the style has a lugged sole that’s equal parts trendy and functional. What’s more, it boasts an easy slip-on fit and anatomical cushioning with shock absorption and some arch support to ward off foot fatigue throughout the day.
Crocs Kadee Flats Ballet
Most Comfortable Flats for Work
Clarks Danelly Adira Ballet Flat
Best for Summer
Meet your new summer flat. Featuring an airy laser-cut leather upper and woven midsole details, the quintessential warm-weather style will make a solid addition to any sundress or Bermuda shorts outfit. Plus, it has plenty of comfort features you’ll crave, including a cushioned Ortholite footbed, soft lining and lightweight EVA rubber outsole for flexibility and traction.
LifeStride Margot Loafer
Comfort brand Lifestride does what it does best with this sleek croc-embossed loafer, adding on a propietary Soft System package for all-day support, flex and cushioning. Available in a deep brown or metallic finish, the shoe also includes a traction outsole for ultimate stability. “I can’t wear heels anymore due to joint issues, so these looked perfect,” noted one Amazon reviewer. “They allow me to even wear my specialized orthotics with no problems. Great shoe for a great price.”
Be aware that some customers advise they run a bit big in the back, but can easily be made to fit better with a heel pad.
Hush Puppies Chaste Ballet Flat
From another leader in comfort comes this staple ballet flat offered in over two dozen color and finishes to suit any taste. A genuine suede lining with a perforated arch design create a breathable, soft feel once you step inside, while a special triangular-shaped cushioned footbed conforms to the way you walk to provide great air circulation, flexibility and support. And, you shouldn’t have to worry about slipping on slick surfaces in these either, as they have a molded rubber footbed designed for excellent durability and traction.
Birdies The Swan
Most Stylish Flats
Birdies flats are hands-down some of this editor’s favorite shoes, as they’re insanely chic and feel amazing on. One of the newer additions to the brand’s lineup, The Swan offers the ultimate blend of high-style and comfort, complete with a smooth color-blocked upper, soft quilted lining and the brand’s signature seven layers of cushioning. If the pink and orange combination isn’t your thing, these do come in 10 other colors and prints to choose from.
Everlane The Italian Leather Day Glove
When it comes to basics like jeans and tees, Everlane makes some of the finest yet affordable styles in the business. So it comes as no surprise that its flats are similarly winners in this department. With an average 4.5-star rating and over 6,000 customer reviews, the made-in-Italy Day Glove flat is crafted with buttery soft Italian leather to feel like a second skin. Also complete with cushioned insoles, breathable side vents and a pull tab at the back for easy on and off access, these are bound to be heavy in your rotation.
Rothy’s The Point
Largely credited as the pioneer of knitted flats, Rothy’s is another one this editor’s go-to brands. A sleek pointed-toe option from the label, The Point has a proprietary breathable knit upper made with recycled plastic water bottles (as part of its eco-conscious mission, Rothy’s crafts its shoes using a 3D-knitting process that uses the exact amount of material needed and aims to achieve full circular production by 2023). As if these flats couldn’t get any better, they’re machine washable and available in over a dozen striking finishes to choose from.
Most Comfortable Flats With Arch Support
Designing its pairs in a biomechanics lab, FitFlop makes some of the best orthopedic shoes on the market. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more comfortable pair of sneakers for women or flats than those from the brand — including its Allegro silhouette. Great for anyone as well as people who suffer from plantar fasciitis, the ballet flat has an anatomically-contoured footbed featuring the brand’s Dynamicush technology in the forefoot for a deliciously bouncy feel. Meanwhile, a soft leather upper with an elasticized topline add to the shoe’s ease of wear. The flat is actually quite chic, too, offering a streamlined look in a range of classic to pretty metallic hues.
Sam Edelman Felicia Flat
You’ll be eager to reach for these dainty bow-embellished flats every day of the week, not only because they’re versatile but will also feel effortless on your feet featuring a moldable leather upper and soft synthetic lining and sole. They’re so trusty, one Nordstrom customer even said she wore them to walk down the aisle. “I bought the navy leather pair for my wedding and wore them the entire time. They’re so comfortable, wear easily, and go with just about anything. My husband ended up buying me a replacement pair for our first anniversary. I would buy these again and again!”
Vionic Jade Slingback Flat
Podiatrist-founded label Vionic delivers this classic slingback that’s supportive and will actually stay put. It’s designed to hug the arches and encourage natural alignment as you move, with a smooth, adjustable slingback strap for a dig-free fit. This one is perfect for the office, naturally, but would look stunning with casual jean and blouse pairings as well.
Suavs the Barton
Best Flats for Travel
Also editor-approved, these slip-ons go the distance for quick coffee runs or hours of urban exploring. They’re equipped with no-stitch knit uppers to prevent hot spots, flexible outsoles and moisture-wicking, cushioned insoles. What’s more, these shoes pack flat, making them perfect to bring on vacation or keep in your bag at the office for your commute.
Skechers Cleo Bewitch Ballet Flat
Best for Wide Feet
Over 4,000 Amazon customers gave this simple vegan flat a five-star rating, with plenty of those saying it’s the ultimate style for people with wide feet or bunions. That’s because these shoes are made with a soft, stretchy knit upper that expertly conforms to your foot without causing uncomfortable pressure. (Bonus: The upper is machine washable for easy maintenance and has a stylish scallop trim to boot). Inside, an air-cooled memory foam insole keeps feet cool and cushioned.
Madewell The Frances Skimmer in Leather
A revamped version of Madewell’s best-selling loafer, the Frances Skimmer offers a timeless look like the original but is done in softer, bendier leather for zero break in-time. Plus, it’s packed with the brand’s signature MWL Cloudlift Lite cushioning for ’round the clock bliss.
Naturalizer Juliette Loafer Flat
Naturalizer also makes a popular croc-embossed loafer, done in a slightly more traditional penny loafer silhouette. It has an almond toe design to provide ample room for toes, as well as anatomically-sculpted cushioning, breathable linings and a flexible, non-slip outsole for stable strides.
Courtesy of of the support shoe experts at Aerosoles, these flats with a little extra bling won’t cause achy arches. The key: A plush quilted footbed and supportive diamond pattern outsole. Keep in mind these may run a bit narrow in the toe box, so may not be the best fit for those with wide feet.
Allbirds Tree Breezers
Most Comfortable Flats for Walking
Like Allbirds’ ultra-popular sneakers, these breezy flats from the brand are all about comfort and sustainability (not to mention, they’re machine-washable!). They have a soft, breathable tree fiber upper with a cozy ribbed collar to keep feet cool and locked in place. What’s more, they include bouncy, contoured outsoles made from Brazilian surgarcane and a cushioned insole composed of eco-friendly castor bean oil. (One customer even noted she walked two miles through an airport in these and didn’t feel any pain.) Lined with merino wool, the insoles do double duty to wick away moisture and ensure freshness.