On a mission to find comfortable boots

49

Life as a middle-aged woman sometimes strikes me as equally full of changes and surprises as adolescence. So many developments I did not even begin to see coming, and I’m not talking only about the ones involving hormones. To wit: I absolutely did not anticipate that suddenly I can not tolerate anything but surpassingly comfortable footwear. I’ve never been one much to suffer for fashion, but now my tolerance for feeling ouchy in order to look good is pretty much nil these days. So since fall is afoot (see what I did there?), I’ve been thinking about finding boots that feel as good as they look, checking out brands that aren’t on my usual style map, but that are known for creating well-made, walkable stuff (added bonus: they’re all pretty well-priced, too). The bad news is one has to slog through a lot of pretty frumpy choices to find anything decent, but if you poke around long enough, good options emerge, like this Loubouton-ish platform boot by Naturalizer,  which I actually went for.

This reminds me somewhat of Acne’s popular (and pricier) pistol boot.

These sleek wedges are from Dr Scholl’s, a brand that can surprise you.

These are suede and also waterproof, which is a cool trick.

I like the idea of a slighty-higher-heeled-than-usual Chelsea boot.

This kitten-heeled pair would work as well with a dress as they would jeans, and I dig the sharp pointy toe.

Combat boots can be a little too mannish for me, so I like the idea of a pair that has some height.

Just a good, polished, walk-everywhere-in-them boot.

 

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49 Thoughts on On a mission to find comfortable boots
    patricia blaettler
    3 Sep 2019
    1:23pm

    I’ve been looking for a pair of mid-calf height boots for years. Help??

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    Michelle
    3 Sep 2019
    1:53pm

    The suede waterproof boots are less expensive on DSW’s website and they have a 25% off promotion running at the moment.

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    mlinky
    3 Sep 2019
    2:20pm

    I have worn through several pairs of ECCO heeled black booties over many years. They are very comfortable for my foot.

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    Jo Keaton
    3 Sep 2019
    12:43pm

    a word of praise for some cole haan boots that i have purchased in prior seasons…well made, have a slight heel and work well for work attire in the winter. Can often find at Nordstrom Rack.

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      Clatie
      3 Sep 2019
      7:50pm

      I haven’t bought any CH boots, but I have had so many pairs of shoes from them. And all were super comfy!

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    Joyce
    3 Sep 2019
    12:12pm

    Finally unpacked all my shoes. I have 5 pair of black ankle boots. Oops.

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      Mindy
      3 Sep 2019
      2:22pm

      Oops, indeed! You must fix this situation. Get going on buying that 6th pair now. 🙂

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      suz
      3 Sep 2019
      5:15pm

      Absolutely nothing wrong with that

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      Mamavalveeta03
      4 Sep 2019
      2:01pm

      Well, you obviously need a brown pair, Joyce!

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    Debra K
    3 Sep 2019
    12:29pm

    Sam Edelman “Petty” ankle boots are super comfortable, have just enough heel, and come in a lot of colors/textures. Clark’s heeled boots have great construction without looking frumpy – I have a few pairs and can walk in them all day (or night when I can actually stay up late enough for it to count as being out at night :)))

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    Clare
    3 Sep 2019
    12:05pm

    I know own four pairs of Birkenstock’s so I understand the desire for comfort. I might also suggest the most amazing inserts for torturous heels. Vivian and Lou. They are my cheap but have made some serious uncomfortable heels bearable. And this group of boots is fantastic!!! xo

    4

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    Candy
    3 Sep 2019
    10:36am

    What a gift — choices that go up to size 12! Thanks so much for including the Easy Spirit and Vionic. I can also vouch for the Blondo brand. They have a slightly lower-heel, waterproof version called Valli that I currently have in two colors that is on 40% off sale at Nordstrom. Shortened link: https://bit.ly/2lu4Bz4

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    c.w.
    3 Sep 2019
    10:46am

    These are excellent choices. Don’t care if the high today in Austin is going to be 101, I’m ordering some boots!

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    Tally
    3 Sep 2019
    11:09am

    Are you going to be doing tall boots anytime soon? (Like not ankle boots, I mean)

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      Kim France
      3 Sep 2019
      12:16pm

      Yes that is very likely, Tally.

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        Kiki Dee
        3 Sep 2019
        10:29pm

        Please include some wide-calf tall boot options that are leather all the way around, without the elasticized gore… They’re getting to be harder and harder to find.

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    Joannawnyc
    3 Sep 2019
    11:32am

    I have found Frye to be super comfortable as well (though I seem to remember you’re not a huge fan of the esthetic?), I bought a pair of FASHUN hiking boots from them last year and have been very happy!

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      Anne
      3 Sep 2019
      1:00pm

      I love my Frye Chelsea boots and they last forever with good care.

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    kirstjen
    3 Sep 2019
    12:30pm

    I don’t think I’d find ANY of these boots comfortable. The heels are too high and the toes are all pointy. And at least 3 of them don’t have any padding at the ball of the foot. What gives?

    I’ve found great, comfortable moto boots at Aquatalia, Chelsea boots at Sorel and Born, and even a great pair of short black boots at Vince.

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      Michele
      3 Sep 2019
      3:07pm

      Thanks for the tip about Sorel. I’m looking for a black ankle boot, maybe a Chelsea boot, with that funky thick sole look that’s NOT a Doc Marten (2 pairs of Docs are enough for me) and I hadn’t thought of Sorel as I only think of them for snow boots. They have a couple of interesting options.

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      Nancy
      4 Sep 2019
      8:35am

      Another vote here for Aquatalia boots, which are water resistant as well as comfortable. I also own two pairs of Hispanitas ankle boots (the brand is available only at Nordstrom and 6pm, as far as I can tell) and a great pair of lug-sole, combat-style-but-more-feminine Gabor boots that lace up AND have a zipper. These European brands tend to have a slightly wider last than US brands (great for me, maybe not for thee) and are actually made in Europe.

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    Kathi
    3 Sep 2019
    12:42pm

    These picks are excellent and I am so pleased to find that my current collection of boots are dupes for some of these! Otherwise my very stretched budget -yes, already tight at beginning of month – might have to make room for the kitten heels which is a style not currently in my closet but a style I love. I did a deep shoe/boot purge last year but found that I couldn’t let go of 3-inch heeled boots that I really don’t wear anymore, they are so pretty – – blue Carlos by Carlos Santana that I found years ago at local department store. I know I am not alone with this quirk, fellow GOACAs!!!

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    CMO
    3 Sep 2019
    8:14pm

    Oh wow! I have those Callie Naturalizer boots (the combat-esque ones), and I LOVE them. I can wear them with almost anything, and they really are comfortable. Plus they can give off a slightly witchy vibe, which is very on-brand for me.

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    LisaC
    3 Sep 2019
    2:26pm

    Such excellent choices. I have Clark flip flops and slip ones – so comfortable. Love the kitten heel (and the price point) for the black bootie.

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    al
    3 Sep 2019
    4:07pm

    I have the Vionic Serena, which is lower in heel height and in boot height than the ones you linked, and unfortunately they are not comfortable on me. I only discovered this once I wore them out of the house, darnit.

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    Emily M.
    3 Sep 2019
    4:47pm

    I will make a pitch for my favorite boots: La Canadienne. They get me through every winter looking chic.

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    Ceejay
    3 Sep 2019
    8:33am

    Love these selections. I am totally with you on the comfortable footwear. I am on my third pair of Isabel Marant Dickers (hate that name) – comfortable, just enough heel and easy to find on sale at the end of the season or on the RealReal. Acne Pistols – horrible uncomfortable, argh because they look so good. Considering the dupe you have posted.

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    Viajera
    5 Sep 2019
    4:35pm

    It might be easier to get a tall boot and have a shoe repair shorten it. I know how you feel though – sometimes I get an idea in my head of what I want, and usually, it doesn’t exist. Oh well.

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    AML
    4 Sep 2019
    7:41am

    I have had all sort of plantar fasciitis problems but Dansko has upped their game in the last few years and if you look through their choices there’s usually a couple of good ones and they are wonderful to walk/stand in.

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    Krista
    3 Sep 2019
    6:47pm

    THIS POST IS EVERYTHING!!!!

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    D.Morgendorffer
    3 Sep 2019
    7:29pm

    For years, I’ve wondered about Camper, the most recent one being their Formiga boot. I can never tell if my fascination is a sound instinct. I like my Blundstones, though I do feel like I’m getting a bit of a workout clomping through Costco (of course, that might be a good thing midst winter carb-loading.).

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      Mimi
      4 Sep 2019
      8:58am

      I have some Camper boots and sneaker boots. They’re comfortable and well made but I always need to size up at least half a size when ordering. Hope that helps.

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        D.Morgendorffer
        4 Sep 2019
        11:06am

        Yeah, it does help, thank you! I take a long time before I settle on something, but I’ll remember your tip if I finally do decide to order. I’m a half size so going up half a size would probably mean an easier-to-find size.

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    Clatie
    3 Sep 2019
    7:49pm

    So you bought the Naturalizers? Please tell us if they actually are as comfortable as they claim. Very curious!

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    T
    3 Sep 2019
    8:14pm

    Please everyone stop what you are doing and buy a pair of the Sorel Joan of Arctic Wedge II Chelsea boots (previously the Lea). I tend to go up a 1/2 size in this boot, in case you want to try that, too. No greater shoe has ever been made. I used to feel that way about La Canadienne, but their quality has dropped while their prices have gone up, and their customer service is terrible. I’ve had heels break early on with them and they absolutely will not take care of it, so buyer beware with that company.

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    Bex
    3 Sep 2019
    6:42pm

    Lucky Brand has really comfortable booties.

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    Mamavalveeta03
    4 Sep 2019
    1:59pm

    Stellar choices, Ms. France! Out of curiosity, does anyone else wonder like I do…Is it because we’ve grown older (and have more pain) that Ecco and Naturalizer look appealing to us, or have those “comfort brands” stepped-up their style game because we boomers have demanded it?

    1

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    Kimbersam
    3 Sep 2019
    8:44am

    Kim! So glad you are back! I switched to sneakers and boots permanently a few years ago and am so glad I did. Because I work from home (and am a hermit in my personal life) it was easy to ditch the uncomfortable formal-workish-dressy- shoes. For some reason, I have a knack for picking good sneakers and am always getting stopped about them. In Los Angeles, sneakers are a conversation starter!

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      Kiki Dee
      4 Sep 2019
      10:23pm

      @Kimbersam What are the good sneakers you’ve been wearing lately — or plan to wear this fall? I need some ideas for new fashion kicks!

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    Mary
    3 Sep 2019
    8:47am

    I am SO with you! I adore ankle boots but comfort is a must now. I also hate to sacrifice height – these picks are amazing! I’ll refer back to this post often.

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    AK
    3 Sep 2019
    8:52am

    La Canadienne makes some good looking and comfortable boots…

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      lc
      3 Sep 2019
      9:56am

      Yes! I’m on my third pair of La Canadiennes. They are well- (as opposed to over-) designed and cool because they’re not immediately recognizable. Also waterproof, warm, and comfortable. Oh, and they last a long time They aren’t cheap but with the use I get out of them, they are definitely worth full price if you can swing it. I stalk them on the usual shoe sites, buy on sale in the spring, then stow away for winter.

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    Eloise
    3 Sep 2019
    8:54am

    I wear Doc Martens pretty much every day. (And I work in a professional office – oops!)

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    Mindy
    3 Sep 2019
    9:13am

    I’ve taken advantage of the fact that brands, such as Clarks and Naturalizer have upped their style game a lot the past few years. I also like Pikolinos and scored some good deals on a couple of pairs of ankle boots last year. This summer I nabbed some barely worn Joie Barlow taupe suede ankle boots for $60 (yay!).

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    Mkw
    3 Sep 2019
    9:50am

    I can walk all day in my Sorel Joan of Arctic wedges…
    https://www.sorel.com/search?q=Boot%20wedge

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      liz
      3 Sep 2019
      10:28pm

      I got the rain boots last winter but have not yet worn them.

      1

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    Dawn
    5 Sep 2019
    2:24pm

    I’m looking for a low heeled bootie that fits snug around the ankle, like a sock, but in all leather. Willing to splurge! Saw exactly what I wanted but don’t remember where lol!

    1

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Kim France

I was born in Houston, Texas in 1964 and have lived in New York City since 1988. I had a long career in magazines, working at Sassy, Elle, New York, and Spin, and in 2000, I founded Lucky magazine, which I edited for ten years.

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