As I’ve been reviewing my footwear for fall and thinking about what I might want to add, I’ve had a bit of an epiphany on what I need to look for. The reality is that I need to focus on “comfort shoes” that have a lot of cushioning, moderate arch support, a snug fit, and flat heels. I’m fortunate to NOT have any specific issues like bunions but I do have occasional bouts of PF.
I have a bunch of shoes for different seasons with slightly higher heels and not a lot of support/cushioning, but most of those can NOT go the distance (literally) for travel or other types of all day walking, so that is a wardrobe hole I need to fill.
"Comfort" shoes are sometimes the least pretty and stylish, but I’m taking comfort (hah) in the fact that most of my social circles are full of people wearing these same types of shoes, I have the budget to afford them (they are often pricey), I have a reasonably good eye for picking ones that look good to me, and have the patience to deal with all the ordering/returns. For closed shoes, adding an insole is a good option and I’m willing to buy up a size and go that route. I have low volume feet so ballet flats rarely work, although narrow width shoes usually don’t work either. Finding sandals that fit is a very special form of misery, but with summer mostly over I don’t have to think about it until next year.
As far as styles for tie shoes, I have never loved the fashion sneaker look so I don’t want more of them and I’m not a fan of oxfords either. I do like a moderately sporty sneaker look as long as the sole is not white. I already have a few different pairs of running shoes and don’t want more. So I'm looking for a solid black sneaker and some sort of loafer, probably also black.
I’d like to ask you fabbers with similar needs to suggest the brands that work for you.
DO work for me:
I’ve had good luck with Clark, Ecco, Ugg, Merrill, Blondo, Joseph Seibel, Rockport, Reiker, Aetrex, Sofft, Gabor, and Via Spiga, all mostly without needing insoles.
Naturalizer, Franco Sarto, Ann Klein, Earth, Born, and Lucky Brand have styles I love but always require an added insole. The “always” is relatively new, I guess the fat pads on the bottom of my feet are continuing to disintegrate with age.
ETA: have also found reasonable fits with GEOX and comfortiva but no shoes I wanted to keep.
Do NOT work for me:
Vionics and Naots almost always have a stiff arch that hurts the sole of my foot but I suppose I should give them another chance.
I’ve tried Skechers but they are mostly way too soft all around and don’t feel supportive.
Munros have never felt right but it's possible I haven't' tried the right size.
I’m between sizes in Pikolinos, even with insoles added. Sam Edelman’s never feel right on my feet. Danskos and Birkenstocks are too wide for me.
I’m tempted by Paul Green, Frye, Eileen Fisher, Mephisto, and several of the brands carried by Anthro but they are a bit pricey for my budget. I expect that most of these would need an insole but that’s fine. I should probably try some of them.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and thanks for any and all suggestions!