Flats are a stylish alternative to heels that are far more comfortable to wear and much easier to walk in. Some brands of flats are so comfy right out of the box that they barely need any breaking in period. If finding comfortable styles has been a problem for you in the past, check out some of the most popular options that not only have great cushioning but will keep your feet blister and pain-free, even if you are on your feet all day.
Rothys have had an enormous surge in popularity over last year, in part due to Megan Markle being a big fan of the brand. They look amazing, are super versatile, and are beyond comfortable to wear. This shoe comes in a vast array of colors and a few different options for patterns. This best thing about Rothys is they are made from recycled water bottles that had been bound to clog up landfills, so you can feel great about wearing them.
Available from Rothy.com
Born Julianne shoes have a reputation as being one of the most comfortable flats on the market. They fit in such a way around the heel that they don’t rub and cause discomfort. There aren’t a lot of colors to choose from for the Julianne, but they have the basic colors that you would expect. They fit most women well right out of the box, with very little or no break-in needed. The leather is very soft and pliable, so it easy molds to the shape of your foot. This shoe provides pretty good cushioning and arch support for this type of shoe. They are a little pricey, but many women feel they are worth the money for the comfort and quality you are getting.
Available from BornShoes.com
Lucky Brand Women’s Emmie
One of the most popular flats, if you are looking for comfort, is the Lucky Brand Women’s Emmie. They are very well padded, and many women go back to this style year after year because they are one of the best styles going if you want to avoid rubbing and chafing on your feet. They come in something like 50 different colors/patterns, are reasonably priced, and can be casual or dressed up depending on the fabric pattern you choose.
They are available in many soft fabrics including velvet, smooth canvas, and leather. Since they come in half sizes, you should be able to get a good fit with this style. The heel and the outsole are rubber, which can help with shock absorption when you are walking. By most reports, they are very durable and should last quite a long time if properly cared for.
They aren’t the best option if you need good arch support, but they are an excellent cushioned, inexpensive style that will work well for most women.
Available from LuckyBrand.com or Amazon (for broader selection)
If you are looking for a d’Orsay style have a look at the Samantha d’Orsay flat from Naturalizer. Naturalizer is a brand that has a strong focus on comfort, and this design is an excellent alternative to a regular ballet style. The upper part of the shoe is made from either super soft suede, leather or a mix of the two that will stretch to fit your foot. You can also get it in patterned fabric. The d’Orsay design means that this shoe is pretty easy to get on and off. They may stretch out a little bit, so if you are interested make sure you are careful with sizing, especially with regards to width, as sometimes this style can run a bit narrow or a little wide because of the cut. There isn’t any arch support, but it does have padding under the ball of the foot. There is a small piece of elastic on the inside to allow stretch while walking and also to give it a little bit more support to stay on the foot.
Available from Naturalizer
Comfortiva Posie from Soft Spots
The Comfortiva Posie from Soft Spots may not be considered a true flat by some because of the small 1-inch heel, but if you are looking for a comfy style that looks like a flat but has a durable, solid rubber sole this is probably the style for you. Rubber soles are great if you have to do a lot of walking while still looking professional for work, as they can help absorb the pressure when you are walking. The Posie has a nice buckle detailing over the toe that make them a little more interesting than your basic ballet style. It is an excellent stable shoe that will last a long time and are easy to wear right out of the box with minimal break in time required.
Available from Zappos
Rockport Total Motion Adelyn Ballet
Rockport often comes up as one of the best footwear brands if you need comfort while having to move around a lot. The Total Motion® Adelyn Ballet is a very light and flexible design that can hold up well to reasonably heavy-duty wear. Since it is Rockport, this style has very strong cushioning to it, including a foam backed heel. The sole has all kinds of features that make the footbed super supportive and easy to wear. If you have issues with your feet overheating and sweating, you may want to check this style out as the lining, and the footbed was designed to be breathable, and it has also been treated with NZYM to help improve odor control and moisture wicking. It is a pretty dressy shoe that you can comfortably wear with a suit or slacks.
Available from Rockport
Dexflex Claire Scrunch Flat
If you are looking for a casual, inexpensive option, check out the DexFlex Comfort Women’s Claire Scrunch Flat. As you can probably tell from the name, the shoe is very flexible as opposed to a stiff hard shoe that can cause your skin to rub and create blisters. The Claire is nicely padded inside, which makes it very comfortable and easy to wear. There have been some complaints lately from loyal customers who have been wearing this style for years that the quality has changed, so if you are interested in this shoe, you will want to check it out in person if possible before buying.
Find on Amazon
Hush Puppies Women’s Chaste Ballet Flat
Those who are familiar with the Hush Puppies brand will know that they make their shoes with comfort being their number one priority. Their Chaste Ballet style contains all kinds of trademarked comfort technology that make the footbed super cushioned and allow it to conform to the way you walk. This style is made from full grain leather with a genuine leather sock lining. The rubber outsole is slip resistant and is reportedly very durable for walking. They are a classic ballet style, so there isn’t much arch support other than the cushioning, so if you need arch support this isn’t going to be the style for you.
Available from Hush Puppies
Everlane the Day Glove
Everyone loves these Day Glove flats from Everlane. As the name suggests, a lot of women find this style fits them like a glove right out of the box. They can be worn all day and look very chic and stylish. They come in beautiful colors, and the leather is sturdy but supple and buttery. The vamp is quite high on the shoe, so it is a different look than the traditional ballet style, but it does give quite a modern look to it. The only issue seems to be that the sole isn’t the most durable and may wear out quickly.
Available from Everlane
Sam Edelman Women’s Felicia
The ubiquitous Felicia from Sam Edelman is the go-to flats for a lot of women with good reason. They are adorable with a pretty bow and charm detail, and you can get them in a vast range of colors and finishes. As far as comfort goes they have a reasonably well-padded footbed, require very little break-in time, and most women should be able to wear this style for long stretches without any discomfort. Despite the well padded footbed, there is very little arch support so if you need a lot of support this isn’t the style for you. They come in wide widths, which can sometimes be hard to find with flats. The toe area is roomy and doesn’t pinch your toe in the same way a more pointed style might.
Available from Amazon
Cole Haan Tali Bow Ballet
Cole Haan is usually a reliable source for high quality, comfortable, stylish shoes. The Cole Haan Tali Bow Ballet is an elegant design that is a good alternative if you find heels too painful to wear but need something for formal events. They have a very slight wedge heel that will give you a small amount of lift, and the bow elevates the shoe into a more formal style if needed. Or you can wear them for casual situations since they work equally well for both. Since they are Cole Haan, they are a little pricey, but they are pretty good quality and should last a long time. It is a solid, well-padded design made from thick, supple leather that will keep you comfy all day.
Available from Zappos
Tory Burch Minnie Travel Ballet Flat
A cute little shoe the works well for travel or commuting is the Tory Burch Minnie Travel Ballet Flat. They are designed to be folded up and placed into a small bag that you take out when you need them. It could mean switching them out for heels during your workday or while at a wedding if you heels start to hurt. If you are a fan of Tory Burch, you are going to love this style, as it has the logo medallion that makes it instantly recognizable as a Tory Burch product. The leather is soft and supple, and it has the elasticized back topline to stop the shoe from sliding off. There isn’t much arch support in the insole, but it does have a good amount of cushion on the bottom.
Available from Nordstrom
ECCO Bluma Summer Ballerina
If you have any foot related issues like plantar fasciitis most flats are going to be out of the question for you due to the lack of support, one option that may work (either on their own or with inserts) is the ECCO Bluma Summer Ballerina. This design is versatile enough to look casual or dressy depending on what you wear it with, and it has a thick rubber sole that means you can walk in this shoe and not get sore feet. The Bluma Summer Ballerina is a good option if you need a style that with work with orthotics if you get the right sizing, they should fit in easily and would work quite well.
Find at Zappos.com
Another much-loved option is the Frye Carson. The sole on the Carson is padded (although a little thin), and the structure on the upper part of the shoe is substantial. The leather is supple and takes to the shape of your foot over time. Frye products are known for their fantastic quality; if you get something from this brand, there is a pretty good chance that it is going to last for years. Frye’s designs are also somehow able to always look stylish even after you have had them for a long time. The Carson has a classic design, is super comfortable right out of the box and they go with everything. What more can you ask for in a flat?
The Frye Company
Me Too Women’s Legend Ballet Flat
The Me Too Legend flats are an inexpensive option that you may like if you are young and don’t need a lot of support but want a soft and squishy sole that you can wear for short periods that looks nice. This not a style that you are going to want to wear all day or if you are doing a lot of walking just because there isn’t enough support for your feet. It has a little bit more of a slipper feel than some other options on this list, but they are very lightweight and packing friendly so they can work well for certain situations.
Available from Amazon
PUMA Women’s Zandy
The PUMA Women’s Zandy Ballet Flat is an excellent option if you are looking for something a little sporty and good for walking. Like many other styles on this list, they have good padding on the footbed while not having the best arch support, but you can fix that with an insole as they can accommodate inserts. The Zandy may need a short amount of time to break them in, but once broken in they should be pretty comfy. These shoes are quite casual but are versatile enough for most outfits.
Available from Amazon
Clarks ‘Blanche Nora’ flat
Another style that may work well for you if you need a good amount of support that will go with most outfits is Clarks ‘Blanche Nora’ flat. What is interesting about this design is that it has an elastic border that goes around the opening, so you don’t get any rubbing or digging into your skin on that part. The soft cushion insoles are excellent to help prevent pain, and they have a slight heel that helps makes it comfortable to walk in.
Available from Amazon
MICHAEL Michael Kors Fulton Moc Flats
For those Micheal Kors fans out there, a cute option is the MICHAEL Michael Kors Fulton Moc Flats available from Macy’s. They are a fun, little shoe with the MK logo, that is made from durable leather. They don’t have much in the way of arch support, but they do have some padding, and the outsole has a durable rubber grip on the bottom that makes the shoe nice to walk in. Overall it is a cute shoe that goes with practically everything.
Available from Macy’s
People have extremely positive or negative reactions to Tieks. I’m not sure exactly why this shoe riles people up so much, but maybe the blue sole has something to do with it. Regardless of how you feel about Tieks, most fans of the brand say that nothing compares as far as comfort goes. They won’t dig into your heel or be painful to wear because cushioned back and the heavy cushioning on the sole. They cost $175, and people who own them do seem to like them and find them comfortable.
Find at Tieks