Sorry, but what even is a comfortable shoe? For so long, I kind of just assumed that in order to walk around all day and not want to rip my shoes off the moment I walked through the door, it was a given that I had to wear something a little clunky (or else sneakers). I blindly accepted that comfortable shoes had to sacrifice style and looking on-trend, which just simply isn't the case as you're about to find out. Had I known about the following shoe brands earlier, I could have saved myself some serious time, money, and blisters (so many blisters).
Once I realized that there's actually a wealth of shoes that are just as comfortable as they are cool, it was like I won the lottery, and now I go around telling anyone who will listen about my findings. I should also point out that there isn't a sneaker in sight in the below roundup. Nope, instead, I wanted to show just how sleek and polished the shoes on offer from these brands really are—you'll find everything from a pair of epic cow-print knee boots to patent-leather kitten heels. Ahead, discover why I'm recommending the following labels, and then shop my picks of the most comfortable shoe brands I've ever tried.
1. Dr. Martens
Ask anyone who owns a pair of Dr. Martens, and they'll happily share just how comfortable they really are. Don't let the break-in period deter you—once your Docs are nice and worn-in, they actually mold to the shape of your foot so it ends up feeling like you're walking on a cloud (speaking from experience here).
Aside from being one of the chicest ethical and sustainable shoe brands out there, Dear Frances uses the best quality materials to make their shoes, and it really makes a difference in how it feels to walk all day in one of their boots, sandals, or pumps.
For a shoe brand where the majority of the styles are under $200, finding a pair of Vagabond shoes feels like a secret. How are they this good and this affordable? It seems too good to be true, and yet the three pairs of their shoes I own speak for themselves. The true test? Somehow their pumps are downright enjoyable for all-day wear.
Don't take the recommendation from me, take it from one of the many Who What Wear editors (and Kaia Gerber) who can attest that the denim brand's shoe collection is equally as comfortable as their well-known jeans.
Comfortable shoes (that don't compromise style) are hard to come by, so I was impressed to discover Essen, whose shoes have a timeless quality about them with certain details that make them feel more forward.
Thursday Boots actually launched as a line of men's shoes, but thankfully they expanded to carry boots for women, too. The line might not be your go-to for the latest trends, but it's a reliable source for classic and crazy well-made (did I mention comfortable?) boots that will last for years and years.