One of the most challenging shoe styles to get a comfortable fit is a women’s dress pump, luckily footwear technology is improving year after year, and it is now easier than ever to find a heel that you can wear for hours.
While podiatrists don’t generally recommend wearing high heels, there are a few things that you can do to minimize foot and ankle issues and help make your shoes more comfortable. Making sure you get pumps that are the right size with the best fit and best support for your foot type will go along way to avoiding some of the concerns that can arise from wearing heels.
Since everyone’s feet are different, what you find comfortable isn’t going to be the same as what your friends like. Some styles come up over and over again as the best for fit and feel, especially if you are going to be on your feet all day at work.
To make this list, I looked at all the most positive reviews (4.3/5 or higher) and paid special attention to customers who praised the comfort level of the shoes.
Here are the most comfortable heels available right now, according to real women’s reviews.
Calvin Klein Women’s Gayle
Calvin Klein Women’s Gayle is one of the more comfortable 3-inch heels that you are going to come across. The higher the heel, the more difficult it is to maintain comfort levels, but the Gayle includes comfort gel pods that work well to prevent your feet from getting sore.
This pointed-toe style with a sculpted design is great to go from day to night since it falls on the fancier side of pump styles. It isn’t a great design if you have wide feet, as it runs a little narrow. There is a metal Calvin Klein logo on the top back, so be aware of that if that isn’t your kind of thing. They are a stylish looking design that manages somehow to remain comfortable for long periods. The Gayle comes in a wide variety of colors and fabric types.
Rated 4.4 out of 5 on over 1400 reviews.
Price Range – $90-$110
Available on Amazon
Comfort Plus by Predictions
For those who want a comfortable budget option, your best bet is the Comfort Plus by Predictions line. Sold initially at Payless, but now also on Amazon, this style is renowned for its comfort level and low price.
It’s not often you get a cheap pair of shoes that also feels great to wear, but the Comfort Plus line is an exception to the rule. You can usually get them for less than $25, making them affordable for almost everyone. They have a soft jersey lining, memory foam insole, and a 3-inch heel.
They come in half, and wide sizes and they have a good amount of arch support. This design also has a good grip on the bottom and a flexible outsole that helps to make walking easier.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 on over 2000 reviews on Amazon.
Price Range – $25-$35
Available on Amazon
Cole Haan Grand Ambition Pump
If you want a classic style, the Grand Ambition Pump from Cole Haan is a beautiful leather dress style that is an excellent option for the office. They are somewhat pricey, but the superb quality, above and beyond comfort features, and material make up for the price tag.
The heel is around 3″ and contains the Cole Haan Soles with GRANDFØAM traction so you can get a good grip with this style and have less chance of slipping. This is designed to reduce weight and mimic your foot’s natural flexibility while at the same time providing decent cushioning. Cole Haan footwear is known for being very comfortable and well made with a particular focus on comfort.
This style is rated 4.7 out of 5 on the Cole Haan site.
Price Range $200+
Available on ColeHaan.com
Marc Fisher Zala
The Zala from Marc Fisher is getting great reviews for being both fashionable and comfortable. They are a block heel that tends to be easy to wear, especially if you are on your feet or walking around a lot.
The Zala comes in a wide range of sizes and widths for all levels of comfort. It has a 3 “heel and comes in a few beautiful, slightly different color options.
Rating of 4.3 out of 5 on Nordstrom
Price Range- $80-$120
Check the price at Nordstrom.com
Rockport Total Motion
I love the Rockport Total Motion line of footwear; if you have a chance, you should try them on. To me, they feel significantly more comfortable than most 3 inch heels in other brands. They have a comfort system that provides lightweight shock absorption; they also have a foam-backed lining with a flexible sole.
The Total Motion line has a couple of popular pump options, with the most comfortable being the Rockport Women’s Total Motion Pointed Toe Pump.
Rating of 4.3 out of 5 on Amazon
Price Range – $100 – $120
Check the price on Amazon.com
Everlane The Day Heel
Everlane is known for its amazingly comfortable clothes, but they also have comfortable shoes that are great for the office. The Day Heel comes in ten different colors and is made of 100% Italian leather.
As you can see from the picture, the heel is a block style, which is the most comfortable style of design that is preferred by podiatrists if you are on your feet all day and must wear a heel. They have a definite ballet style look to them, but they are beyond comfy, especially if you are wearing them for long periods.
Rating of 4.39 out of 5 on over 4400 reviews on Everlane.
Available on Everlane.com
M. Gemi The Lustro
M. Gemi The Lustro is the 3.5 inches heel for the ladies who will not give up their high heels for any reason but need to find some new comfier options. Despite the very high heel, this M. Gemi shoe has unique comfort technology that allows it to be worn for significant periods relatively comfortably.
5 star rating on the M. Gemi website.
Price Range – $290+
Available on M. Gemi
LifeStride Women’s Parigi
LifeStride is a brand that is all about comfort. The brand’s tag line is ‘The intersection of comfort and style,’ so you know they are serious about making shoes that you can wear. LifeStride has a few different pumps, but one of their most popular is the Parigi. It is a much-loved and very reasonably priced round-toe style that can be either casual, business, or formal.
It is super comfy because it has high rebound foam insoles, highly flexible soles, and is designed in a way that gives you great arch and foot support to help to make it super comfortable. The heel on the Parigi is 2.625 inches, so it has a bit of height to it, but it isn’t so high that it makes it difficult to walk.
The other great thing about this design is that you can get it in narrow, medium, or wide widths, which is super helpful when you are trying to get the best fit. The upper material is either faux leather or fabric, and it comes in 12 different colors. You will love the sole on this design because it has a traction rubber bottom with little anti-slip bumps that provide a fantastic grip, and it isn’t noisy when you walk on hard flooring or tile.
Rated 4.4 out of 5 on Kohls
Price Range- $40-$60
Available on Kohls.com
Clarks Adriel Viola Dress Pump
Clarks have a few outstanding options if you are looking for comfort pumps, one of their most popular styles is the Adriel Viola Dress Pump. It is a shoe that is going to give you a lot of height, not only because of the height of the heel (3.25″ – one of the highest on our list) but because it also has a platform that is .50″ on the soles. Oddly, the platform thickness seems to lessen the feeling of the height; they feel more like you are wearing a lower height, so they manage to be decently comfortable for a lot of people.
If this shoe looks familiar to you it is probably because it is an update to the Briar Dolly, with the main change being the platform going from .75 on the Dolly to .5″ on the Adriel.
The platform also makes them look quite stylish. They come in a wide array of colors, and the material is either leather or synthetic, depending on the color/style that you choose. Wearers of the Adriel find it to have a very comfortable insole that works well for standing or walking for long periods.
The rating is 4.5 out of 5 on over 2200 reviews on Amazon.
Price Range – $70-$100
Check pricing on Amazon
Margaux The Heel
Margaux is a comfort conscious footwear brand that has created a super walkable, wear-everywhere heel that has often had long waiting lists. They are a U.S based company that is focused on designing beautiful styles that are also luxuriously comfortable.
Margaux’s The Heel is a fantastic pump that manages to be super stylish, comfortable, and easy to wear. It has soft Italian suede that molds to your foot, and supportive insoles with padding that up the comfort level. This option comes in 75 different sizing options in narrow, medium, and wide widths in sizes from 2.5 to 14, so there is something for everyone. It also comes in a lot of gorgeous colors and a couple of patterns as well.
Rating 4.8 out of 5 on Margauxny.
Price – $245
Available from Margauxny.com
Michael Kors Dorothy Flex Pump
The Michael Kors Dorothy Flex Pump is another perfect 3.25″ heel that is reported to be one of the most comfortable styles around. If you go to a downtown business area on any weekday, you will see lots of ladies wearing this shoe. This style has a distinctive metallic button at the top back that says Michael Kors.
It is a classic pointed toe design that makes this a chic style for the office or a night out. The height of the shoe is stylish, yet isn’t too high to be uncomfortable. Many women find the fit and the feel of this style to be very comfortable due to the memory foam insoles. The Dorothy Flex Pump Pump also has built-in non-skid bottoms to help prevent slipping. The fit is a little bit narrow, so this is not the best choice if you have wide feet.
Rating of 4.4 out of 5 on Nordstrom
Price Range- $80-$120
Check pricing on Nordstrom
Sam Edelman Women’s Hazel Pump
One of the most loved and popular pumps, period, is the Sam Edelman Women’s Hazel. It is known for its comfort, style, and moderate price. The heel is a whopping 4″, making it one of the highest on our list.
So if you can handle a heel that high, you can wear it for work and is stylish enough to transition to evening outings. The footbed has 4mm of cushioning with excellent arch support to help make this style comfy to wear. It has a reputation for being good quality, chic, and well-fitting for most women’s feet. They come in a tonne of colors and materials.
Rated 4.5 out of 5 on over 1000 reviews on Nordstrom.
Price Range – $100- $120
Check the price on Nordstrom.com
Anne Klein Fabulist
A nice trick to help ensure a comfortable fit is finding styles with straps, mary jane styles or designs like the Fabulist from Anne Klein are deceptive pleasant to wear. The Fabulist is a fantastic style both in terms of looks and how they feel on your feet. It is a classic pointed toe style, that is often best suited for those with medium to narrow feet.
The height of the Fabulist is only 2.25 “, so it isn’t so high that it will make your feet hurt. But the real key to this style is the Anne Klein® iFlex™ Technology that ensures a super comfy fit. The Fabulist comes in many different colors and hard to find sizes. It works well with business attire or dressy outfits.
Of almost 500 reviews 76% are five stars on Zappos.
Price Range – $80-$110
Available on Zappos
Sarah Flint Perfect Pump
The Sarah Flint Perfect Pump is a much-buzzed-about style that counts Meghan Markle and Lady Gaga among its many fans. The key to this pump is the super-soft Italian leather that gives it such a high comfort level for a 3.3-inch heel. It looks amazing and comes in a great selection of colors with a couple of print options.
Rating of 4.5 of 5 on 300 reviews on Sarah Flint website.
Price Range – $350+
Available from SarahFlint.com
Naturalizer Women’s Michelle
Naturalizer Women’s Michelle is another best-selling comfortable option that you can find all over the place. Naturalizers are typically very comfortable, but when I was trying out the Michelle, they seemed to fit kind of tight, especially around the toe area, so I didn’t find them all that comfortable, but I did like the style of them.
Since everyone’s feet are different, there are a lot of people who do find this style to be very comfortable, though. The height is 3″, and the platform is approximately 0.5 inches, some people find that the platform height minimizes the height making the Michelle more comfortable to wear.
Rating 4.5 out of 5 on almost 900 reviews on Naturalizer site.
Price Range – $60-$90
Available on Naturalizer.com
*Ratings last updated January 3, 2021.
How to Find a Comfortable High Heel
Sizing– As podiatrists like to stress the most critical aspect of finding a comfortable shoe is getting the right size. Many women get their feet measured for size when they are in their late teens or early adulthood and then stick with that size throughout their life. Your shoe size can change with things like pregnancy or if you gain or lose a lot of weight. It is a good idea to get your feet resized if your body has been through any significant changes or you find a lot of your shoes to be uncomfortable (you may be wearing the wrong size).
If you are shopping for heels the measurement that you should ensure is correct is the heel-to-ball measurement that can be determined by being measured correctly by the Brannock Foot-Measuring Device (that thing that every shoe store has). It measures heel-to-toe and heel-to-ball or arch length. This is important for high heels because of the different lengths of the toe boxes. If the heel to ball measurement is correct then there will be more contact between the foot and the shoe and you will get better support and feel comfier.
Fit– Fit is also key when shoe shopping. It is best to try shoes on before buying since dimensions are not standard across different brands or even within brands. Take your time trying different shoes on, make sure you walk around, your toes should be flat against each other and not squished. When you get the right fit, you will most likely have the most comfortable option for your particular foot type.
Material– Leather or suede are excellent materials for comfort in a shoe. Unfortunately, leather is also more expensive than synthetic materials. The better quality the leather, the more you will pay. Leather is good because it will be able to conform to your feet in a way that a synthetic material will not. Leather styles also tend to last longer.
Padding– Comfort technology is improving all the time; there are new and innovative ways to provide padding that didn’t exist ten years ago. Look for memory foam, high-density foam, gel pods, or any other type of filling that will go a long way to making it feel much more pleasant to wear for long periods.
Height – The higher the heel, the less comfortable any footwear is going to be. If you will be on your feet all day, a kitten heel is the best option as it will be the most comfortable. If you don’t like kitten options, a 2″ or 3″ height may also be fine for a lot of women depending on the brand. If you absolutely must have a 4″ style, the most comfortable will be those that have platforms. A platform will lessen the feeling of the 4″ and make it feel more like 3″.
Style – Another interesting thing to think about when looking for shoes that will feel the best to wear is the style of the heel. Wedges and block designs are more comfortable than stiletto type options that have a skinny width.
Colors – All of the pumps that we listed above are very popular and come in a wide range of colors. You should be able to find most styles at your local stores (obviously depending on where you live) in black and maybe beige since it is so popular these days. If you are looking for a less common color, try online, as the color selection tends to be much better.
Price– For the most part, to get comfortable shoes, you need to invest a bit of money. Comfort often (not always) goes up with the amount that you are willing to spend. A significant exception to this is the Comfort Plus by Predictions line that offers very comfortable pumps for around the $25 mark. Generally, if you want a good quality, leather, padded shoe that will last, expect to pay at least $80-$100.
Width– If you have a wide or a narrow foot, it can be especially challenging to find a great fitting shoe. Some of the most popular styles do not come in narrow or wide. If your foot is narrow, a lot of people like Calvin Klein, Vince Camuto, or Nine West pumps, if your foot is wide, you may want to try LifeStride, Aerosole, Rockport, or Stuart Weitzman.
Toe Box – If your feet are wide (especially in the toe area), you should also pay attention to the style and the size of the toe box on the shoe. Some styles (often pointy toe designs) can be very uncomfortable in the toe area because the toes end up being squished into the toe box.
To get the most out of your pumps
Break-in Period– Hardly any shoe is going to be comfortable to wear right out of the box. At the very least when you first get your shoes, wear them around your house for short periods for a few days. If you are planning on wearing them to work, you should probably wear them for a few hours and bring another pair of shoes to change into. It is unrealistic to expect to wear a pair of pumps without breaking them in a little bit. You can get shoe stretchers that is made specifically for high heels if you need the shoe to stretch out.
Other products that can help with comfort– If you do invest in shoes that you are finding to be less than fun to wear, there are a few options that you can try to help with different types of problems you may have. Foot Petals and Dr.Scholls have a whole range of different types of cushioning and pads that you can insert into your shoes for added comfort as well as to prevent slipping and sliding out. You can also get a lot of other contoured foam inserts that can make a huge difference. If your foot is slipping out of the shoe, you may need to get some inexpensive heel grips.
High Arches– If you have high arches, it is difficult to find designs that can support your feet. You may see that it limits the brands and types of styles you can get, so you may want to invest in some additional arch support products. These types of inserts allow you to shop for different brands without having to worry about the amount of arch support a particular shoe has.
Read More: Comfortable and Cute Work Dresses