You can find a ton of shoes and sneakers that you can wear all day without getting a number of miscellaneous body aches. For some reason, though, comfortable boots—that aren’t (unintentionally) ugly or orthopedic looking—are harder to come by. Such practical shoe unicorns do exist, however—it just requires, pardon the pun, a little legwork to find them.
How to spot a pair? There a few features to keep in mind while shopping for comfortable boots, according to Miguel Cunha, DPM, founder ofhe first is shock absorption. Some products and brands will let you know whether their boot has this feature. If not, look for things like rubber soles and try bending the shoe—if it bends in the middle of the sole this mean it doesn’t have shock absorption and is generally not great for foot support, he tells me.
Dr. Cunha also says that despite what you (I) may think, a completely flat boot is not ideal for your foot health. “I recommend avoiding boots that are completely flat as they will contribute to pronation and collapse of the arch which may contribute to planter and posterior heel pain, shin splints, knee pain, and back pain,” he explains.
Something else to keep in mind, according to Marion Parke, DPM, a podiatrist turned shoe designer is that “our feet tend to swell throughout the day and you want to provide some room for that. When it comes to shoes millimeters count.” To factor this into your footwear purchase, she recommends trying on shoes at the end of the day and also says that your boots are one place where flexibility is not a winning trait. (You’re not wearing them to yoga, after all.) Instead, she says to go for structure and support. In other words, look for boots that lift you up and hold you down at the same time.
Here are 7 pairs that can do both (and make an outfit on their own).
While leather makes for a very durable shoe, oftentimes the tradeoff is a level of stiffness that requires continued wear to break in boots. For their original and cult-favorite style, Modern Vice uses leather that’s already soft and malleable saving your soles from the painful process. Fans of the boot (internet reviewers) also rave about how soft and deceptively comfortable the footbed is in particular.
Blundstone Super 550, $200
As one of the most iconic boot brands in the United States, Blundstone’s reputation precedes them. This “super” version of their classic 550 style is an amplification of all good things. The leather is more supple, the boots are lightweight, and they have especially designed footbeds with stronger shock absorption.
Marion Parke Grace Boot, $595
Created by the former podiatrist, these boots were created for optimal foot health and comfort. The material on these is a stretch suede meaning you won’t have an issue with them being too restrictive on the ankle. They also have a contoured insole that ensures stability even with a baby block heel.
Generally speaking, I swear by any and all Dr. Martens to support my heavy gait and wide flat feet. These boots specifically, though, have changed my winter life. The sole is extremely thick and padded which is great when you need a ton of support and have no arch. It also has both a zipper and laces meaning it’s easy to control the tightness.
T.U.K. Casbah Boot, $110
This British brand famed for its creepers makes most of its shoes unisex. This means that people who struggle with wide or flat feet (it me!) can find physical comfort and solace in the brand’s offerings. This particular model has the double whammy of laces and a zipper and comes with removable comfort insoles.
Vionic Mara Boot, $140
Any shoe or boot you purchase from Vionic should do the job when it comes to comfort and foot health. Every pair made by the brand has biomechanical technology concealed within, which supports heal stability and curve comfort.
Everlane Day Boot, $225
Everlane reps say this shoe wins the people’s choice award for their most comfortable boot style. With wear, the leather molds to each individual’s foot, and the combination of the heel thickness and height is meant to make this an extremely walkable and versatile shoe.
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