The fact that you can basically slip on your sneakers with everything from full-length skirts to your go-to workout twin set has put the pressure on other shoe styles to really step up their comfort game. But can a pair of stilettos ever hold your soles in the same type of warm, hygge embrace as your preferred Air Max ’97s?
That’s the plan, according to Sandra Gault. She’s attempting to create truly comfortable heels via her company True Gault, which uses 3D software and an app to generate exact replicas of its client’s feet, then creates custom pairs of two- or four-inch pumps with the intel.
“Women are refusing to settle anymore,” she says. But that doesn’t mean they’re ready to relinquish their fancy footwear collections just yet thanks to the “feelings of sexy, powerful, confidence they evoke,” explains the entrepreneur. (Her start-up, part of a Google incubator program, already had 30,000 women registered before its official launch on August 1, 2017.)
“Women are refusing to settle anymore.”
And Gault’s not alone in attempting to make an elevated dress shoe that you can wear all day the way you could, say, Versace’s Touch Strap Sneakers (AKA the Teva sandals of trainers). Brands like Shoes by Shaherazad, maker of the 18-hour heel, as well as Hopp, a design studio created by Opening Ceremony alum Eree Kim, plus a growing list of other luxe footwear lines, are also in pursuit.
To be fair, though, this isn’t really an even playing field—heels will never be as easy on your feet as sneakers, according to surgical podiatrist John Brummer, DPM. There are, however, design elements that can do a lot to make them feel more like your favorite pair of kicks he says. For starters, “look for more padding, a lower [lift], a wider base and width, and a higher toe box,” he suggests. With his pro tips in mind, I went searching for pumps that could potentially sub in when your Stan Smiths need a rest day.
In addition to the designers above, here are 6 more brands making comfy heels that are as close as you can get to wearing sneakers—and their best styles for this summer.
6 pairs of heels that are *actually* comfortable
This story was originally published on August 16, 2017. Updated with additional reporting by Kells McPhillips on June 21, 2019.
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