Ask Allie: Commuter Shoes for Summer

 

I have to wear comfortable shoes during my daily commute, as I walk 20+ minutes each way. Okay looking shoes/boots are easy enough to find for the cold winter months but I'm at a loss for summer. Flip flops aren't an option as I have high arches and can't stand feeling of something between toes. Gym shoes are too dorky. Any ideas?

I am so glad to find a fellow woman who won’t wear flip flops on her commute. Not only do they not provide arch support and can be deadly on slick sidewalks (and feel weird between the toes), but they are just plain tacky looking with your corporate attire. Keep the flip flops to the backyard barbecues and beaches!

I also am anti-the beaten-down ballet flats; this morning when walking to get coffee, I overheard two women discussing their commuting shoes. A woman said she loved ballet flats from Gap, but admitted she was on her fifth pair in two years because they got, “Super gross, super fast.” I’m glad that she would replace them once they got “gross,” but think it would make more sense to invest in a higher-quality shoe that could survive more than a couple months. There are great quality summer shoes out there with comfort and arch support, here’s a few that have been on my radar:

ECCO Mary Ballerina Flat Leopard

 

ECCO “Mary” Ballerina Flat

 

I like that this pair of Ecco shoes isn’t your typical ballet flat which is free of structure and support. This shoe has a proper sole and a tiny bit of a heel to put your foot in a more comfortable position. Leopard is an unexpected neutral that will go with almost everything in your closet. This shoe also comes in solid colors.

cole haan air monica ballet bow flat red patent

 

Cole Haan “Air Monica” Ballet Flat

 

I have a pair of Cole Haan shoes with Nike Air Technology and can attest to the fact that they are really comfortable, wearable for long spans of time, and great for walking. These adorable bow flats from Cole Haan have miles of style and great reviews for comfort when walking. While black is a safe bet, I am partial to the red for a fun pop of color on your commute.

geox donna italy loafer driving moc orange

 

Geox “Donna-Italy” Loafer

 

A driving moc or loafer is always a classic choice, and looks fresh with everything from menswear-inspired trousers to flippy sundresses. I love the orange color, which screams summer and would also look smart come the weekend with twill shorts or cropped pants.

naturalizer yadira comfort flat commuter shoe

 

Naturalizer “Yadira” Ballet Flat

 

When I was pregnant, I had a flat from Naturalizer very similar to these. They were utterly amazing – so supportive, comfortable, and fit right out of the box. These may not be the most chic of flats, but your feet will be happy by time you finish your walk and the color is subtle enough to not destroy the look of your ensemble.

softspots ventura sandal

 

Softspots ‘Ventura” Sandal

 

I own these sandals and adore them. They are so comfortable, they have become my sightseeing shoe and even wear them when attending concerts when I know I will be standing the whole time. While they have an ankle strap, once you wear them twice you don’t need to unfasten to get on and off, which makes it easy for commuting. I also like the covered toe, which will keep your feet clean and your pedicure intact when walking down city streets.

softspots tatianna sandal

 

Softspots “Tatianna” Sandal

 

Very similar to the Ventura, but with a different heel or sole. I love that this shoe comes in widths so you can ensure a comfortable fit from the get-go.

trotters katie sandal

 

Trotters “Katie” Sandal

 

Great selection of colors, great reviews on comfort and the ability to walk for miles in them. I like the adjustable straps for a custom fit, and love that they are under $100.

Do you have a favorite commuting or walking shoe?  Please share in the comments!

 

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51 Comments

  1. Erin
    January 2, 2013 / 1:03 pm

    I say, suck it up and wear goofy shoes for your commute. Even expensive shoes will get destroyed if you beat them to death on cement every day.

  2. July 9, 2012 / 6:23 pm

    I haven’t heard of Naots, I will have to check them out! And like you, I am always thrilled to find sandal brands that come in wide!

  3. Christine Doran
    July 9, 2012 / 6:22 pm

    I love SoftSpots sandals – they come in a size that actually fits me (a 6W) and are totally comfortable on my sensitive soles. Last year I bought a pair of Naots, and they are also incredibly comfy – I wear them constantly in the summer and can walk any distance. They’re not cheap, but a decent summer sandal is worth a lot to me.

  4. Christine Doran
    July 9, 2012 / 2:22 pm

    I love SoftSpots sandals – they come in a size that actually fits me (a 6W) and are totally comfortable on my sensitive soles. Last year I bought a pair of Naots, and they are also incredibly comfy – I wear them constantly in the summer and can walk any distance. They’re not cheap, but a decent summer sandal is worth a lot to me.

    • July 9, 2012 / 2:23 pm

      I haven’t heard of Naots, I will have to check them out! And like you, I am always thrilled to find sandal brands that come in wide!

      • Christine Doran
        July 18, 2012 / 1:11 pm

         The Naots actually aren’t a wide fitting, but somehow they fit me beautifully anyway. I think it’s to do with the fact that the footbed molds to fit your foot. (Probably depends on the style too – I did buy in a store rather than order online, to make sure they fit first.)

  5. June 24, 2012 / 2:22 am

    Love this post. I walk home from work to try to stay active. These are good options, thanks!

  6. June 23, 2012 / 10:22 pm

    Love this post. I walk home from work to try to stay active. These are good options, thanks!

  7. Sharon Kelly
    June 21, 2012 / 3:03 pm

    I second what graduate.living said about TOMS!  They are so comfortable and they recently came out with a few new styles like ballet flats and wedge sandals.  I also own a pair of the Softspots Tatianna sandals pictured and can confirm that they’re totally walkable and stay comfy for long periods.

  8. Sharon Kelly
    June 21, 2012 / 11:03 am

    I second what graduate.living said about TOMS!  They are so comfortable and they recently came out with a few new styles like ballet flats and wedge sandals.  I also own a pair of the Softspots Tatianna sandals pictured and can confirm that they’re totally walkable and stay comfy for long periods.

  9. June 20, 2012 / 2:30 pm

    Now that I take the train to and from work and have a nice little jaunt to walk every day, I have been looking for some good commuter shoes. Honestly, the most comfortable thing I’ve found so far is a pair of freaking Crocs flats–not your typical ugly gardening clogs, but a pair of amazingly comfortable slingback flats. I got them as rain shoes (since the material dries so fast and has traction) to stuff in my bag, now I have been turning to them when my feet hurt after a long day in heels. I’m still looking for something even cuter that I don’t have to change in and out of that treats my poor, long injured feet right. Thanks for the suggestions! 

  10. June 20, 2012 / 10:30 am

    Now that I take the train to and from work and have a nice little jaunt to walk every day, I have been looking for some good commuter shoes. Honestly, the most comfortable thing I’ve found so far is a pair of freaking Crocs flats–not your typical ugly gardening clogs, but a pair of amazingly comfortable slingback flats. I got them as rain shoes (since the material dries so fast and has traction) to stuff in my bag, now I have been turning to them when my feet hurt after a long day in heels. I’m still looking for something even cuter that I don’t have to change in and out of that treats my poor, long injured feet right. Thanks for the suggestions! 

  11. Mamapumpkin
    June 20, 2012 / 12:29 pm

    It’s interesting how you all talk about commuter shoes. Here in Malaysia, nobody walks as it is too hot so everyone just drives to work. Nevertheless, it is still more comfortable to drive in Birkenstocks than in high heels *grins* – I love your blog, by the way!

  12. Mamapumpkin
    June 20, 2012 / 8:29 am

    It’s interesting how you all talk about commuter shoes. Here in Malaysia, nobody walks as it is too hot so everyone just drives to work. Nevertheless, it is still more comfortable to drive in Birkenstocks than in high heels *grins* – I love your blog, by the way!

  13. June 20, 2012 / 4:17 am

    There are so many cool, highly decorated sneakers now…they’re way better than the old gym shoe look.

  14. Lpiechphd
    June 20, 2012 / 4:17 am

    HI Allie
    Here’s my latest find for commuter shoes–reasonably cute, incredibly comfortable, and on sale! They also come in 2 wide widths:
    Softspots Alyssa http://www.zappos.com/softspots-alyssa-rose-red-calf-ionic-neoprene?zfcTest=fw:1
    I have the black, but the red is awfully cute.
    I also love these Cole Haan Sadie Air Driver mods. Like wearing slippers but with excellent arch support.
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/cole-haan-air-sadie-driving-moccasin/3276499?origin=category&fashionColor=&resultback=0
    Cheers,
    Lisa

  15. June 20, 2012 / 12:17 am

    There are so many cool, highly decorated sneakers now…they’re way better than the old gym shoe look.

  16. Lpiechphd
    June 20, 2012 / 12:17 am

    HI Allie
    Here’s my latest find for commuter shoes–reasonably cute, incredibly comfortable, and on sale! They also come in 2 wide widths:
    Softspots Alyssa http://www.zappos.com/softspots-alyssa-rose-red-calf-ionic-neoprene?zfcTest=fw:1
    I have the black, but the red is awfully cute.
    I also love these Cole Haan Sadie Air Driver mods. Like wearing slippers but with excellent arch support.
    http://shop.nordstrom.com/s/cole-haan-air-sadie-driving-moccasin/3276499?origin=category&fashionColor=&resultback=0
    Cheers,
    Lisa

  17. June 20, 2012 / 3:03 am

    I actually find TOMS pretty comfortable to commute, but they don’t do well at all in the rain. They’re also pretty pricey, but I can pair them with just about every non-work outfit I own (that’s not to say they’re the only shoes I wear, but I find them pretty versatile).

  18. June 19, 2012 / 11:03 pm

    I actually find TOMS pretty comfortable to commute, but they don’t do well at all in the rain. They’re also pretty pricey, but I can pair them with just about every non-work outfit I own (that’s not to say they’re the only shoes I wear, but I find them pretty versatile).

  19. Jen Chendea
    June 20, 2012 / 1:51 am

    I found those Softspot Ventura sandals at 6pm.com for $30. 🙂

  20. Jen Chendea
    June 19, 2012 / 9:51 pm

    I found those Softspot Ventura sandals at 6pm.com for $30. 🙂

  21. Ginger
    June 19, 2012 / 10:04 pm

    Clarks are good.  I vowed never to buy “Naturalizer” shoes thinking it was the first sign of old-ladydom, but this year I broke down and bought a pair of sandals.  That thick rubbery soul makes my 20 minute walk so much nicer. 

    If you absolutely can’t go for sandals then I vote for Cole-Hahn.  Their “air” models have a slight wedge that actually makes walking more comfortable than absolutely flat shoes.  Commando shoppers keep their eye on Nordstrom as they often put them on half-year sale, but they go fast.

  22. Ginger
    June 19, 2012 / 6:04 pm

    Clarks are good.  I vowed never to buy “Naturalizer” shoes thinking it was the first sign of old-ladydom, but this year I broke down and bought a pair of sandals.  That thick rubbery soul makes my 20 minute walk so much nicer. 

    If you absolutely can’t go for sandals then I vote for Cole-Hahn.  Their “air” models have a slight wedge that actually makes walking more comfortable than absolutely flat shoes.  Commando shoppers keep their eye on Nordstrom as they often put them on half-year sale, but they go fast.

  23. June 19, 2012 / 5:55 pm

    Another great option are the Charles Philip flats selling at The Shoe Hive. I’ve purchased three pairs and am obsessed! Chic and comfortable! http://store.theshoehive.com/index.php?family=Charles%20Philip 

  24. pfq
    June 19, 2012 / 8:51 pm

    Aww Allie thanks so much for reading my rant & responding!! Nordstrom is great and I love shopping there when I’m in the US, but for shipping to Canada, they charge duties and taxes that add up to sometimes 30% – 50% of the price of the shoe – just not cost effective at all (they are required to do this under NAFTA for items that are not manufactured in North America).

    Sure can’t wait for my Cali lifestyle!! 😀

  25. June 19, 2012 / 8:42 pm

    Oh gosh, I do feel your pain! I hear over and over from Canadian readers that their online choices are extremely limited. You should have far better luck once in California. I know Nordstrom ships to Canada but don’t know their return policies, but they will search high and low for sizes and widths. Good luck, and I hope another reader will have better suggestions for you!

  26. pfq
    June 19, 2012 / 8:33 pm

    Okay, well here’s MY problem – I also walk to work, but I have size 11W feet (12 is too long), and I live in Canada, and I have wide calves! Good freaking luck finding anything remotely attractive and well-constructed. The only place I have ever found shoes is Payless, and they fall apart within a matter of months, not to mention they’re not comfortable and just look cheap. I know there are a TON of websites and stores in the US where women like me can buy good, decent quality shoes, but I feel like Canada (in particular Ottawa) is a complete shoe desert. 

    Thankfully we’re moving to California this year so hopefully I won’t have to deal with this much longer – but maybe if someone else has this problem and has found a shoe supplier they could leave a comment for other hard-up Canadians!!

    PS – I currently wear flip flops to commute in the summer (and go through 2 pairs a summer) and horribly ugly men’s boots in the winter. This year I had hoped to buy a pair of attractive Sorels, but their size 12 was too small. ARGH! 

    PPS – sorry if I sound super frustrated, but I AM!! I can lose weight off of my body – but I can’t do a damned thing about my feet.

  27. pfq
    June 19, 2012 / 4:33 pm

    Okay, well here’s MY problem – I also walk to work, but I have size 11W feet (12 is too long), and I live in Canada, and I have wide calves! Good freaking luck finding anything remotely attractive and well-constructed. The only place I have ever found shoes is Payless, and they fall apart within a matter of months, not to mention they’re not comfortable and just look cheap. I know there are a TON of websites and stores in the US where women like me can buy good, decent quality shoes, but I feel like Canada (in particular Ottawa) is a complete shoe desert. 

    Thankfully we’re moving to California this year so hopefully I won’t have to deal with this much longer – but maybe if someone else has this problem and has found a shoe supplier they could leave a comment for other hard-up Canadians!!

    PS – I currently wear flip flops to commute in the summer (and go through 2 pairs a summer) and horribly ugly men’s boots in the winter. This year I had hoped to buy a pair of attractive Sorels, but their size 12 was too small. ARGH! 

    PPS – sorry if I sound super frustrated, but I AM!! I can lose weight off of my body – but I can’t do a damned thing about my feet.

    • June 19, 2012 / 4:42 pm

      Oh gosh, I do feel your pain! I hear over and over from Canadian readers that their online choices are extremely limited. You should have far better luck once in California. I know Nordstrom ships to Canada but don’t know their return policies, but they will search high and low for sizes and widths. Good luck, and I hope another reader will have better suggestions for you!

      • pfq
        June 19, 2012 / 4:51 pm

        Aww Allie thanks so much for reading my rant & responding!! Nordstrom is great and I love shopping there when I’m in the US, but for shipping to Canada, they charge duties and taxes that add up to sometimes 30% – 50% of the price of the shoe – just not cost effective at all (they are required to do this under NAFTA for items that are not manufactured in North America).

        Sure can’t wait for my Cali lifestyle!! 😀

  28. Ihartsnow
    June 19, 2012 / 7:17 pm

    This is so timely.  Yesterday I had 2 meetings that required about 3 miles of walking to and from metro, from one building to another building, then back to the bus, and then to the metro, and then a mile walk home.  I was completely fine in my Donald Pliner wedge sandals.  You are so right on..quality is key.  My dogs didn’t start to bark until I was a half block from home.  Thank you so much for the great suggestions! 

  29. Ihartsnow
    June 19, 2012 / 3:17 pm

    This is so timely.  Yesterday I had 2 meetings that required about 3 miles of walking to and from metro, from one building to another building, then back to the bus, and then to the metro, and then a mile walk home.  I was completely fine in my Donald Pliner wedge sandals.  You are so right on..quality is key.  My dogs didn’t start to bark until I was a half block from home.  Thank you so much for the great suggestions! 

  30. June 19, 2012 / 6:28 pm

    Last Friday I bought my first pair of Bloch ballet flats, and I’ve been very reluctant to take them off in the evening, they’re so comfortable I could sleep in them! I have extremely difficult feet, awkward shape, too wide, too high, too everything. But these shoes are so soft even though the leather isn’t that thin. Like the Ecco shoes there’s a very small heel that is sort of shock absorbent. They’re made in Australia by a company that also manufactures professional ballet shoes and other types of footwear for dancers. To get an idea of how they look go to their website at: http://www.blochshoes.com. A Google search should help find a local retailer.

  31. June 19, 2012 / 2:28 pm

    Last Friday I bought my first pair of Bloch ballet flats, and I’ve been very reluctant to take them off in the evening, they’re so comfortable I could sleep in them! I have extremely difficult feet, awkward shape, too wide, too high, too everything. But these shoes are so soft even though the leather isn’t that thin. Like the Ecco shoes there’s a very small heel that is sort of shock absorbent. They’re made in Australia by a company that also manufactures professional ballet shoes and other types of footwear for dancers. To get an idea of how they look go to their website at: http://www.blochshoes.com. A Google search should help find a local retailer.

  32. Eleanorjane
    June 19, 2012 / 6:16 pm

    Great post as I have just this problem myself. I’ve recently moved to a city where suddenly I walk 30ish minutes everywhere – out on Friday night, to work, to the shopping mall.

    I’ve always been a shoe fan. I bought 8 pairs of heels over with me and I’ve worn them about twice in three months! Because of all the walking, people just don’t wear heels, generally.

    I’m struggling to find shoes comfy enough for a longish walk that are also reasonably flattering on my legs and pretty and dressy enough. Your suggestions are great, but way too expensive (especially including shipping to the UK). Clarks is the best UK resource I’ve found. Duo have nice shoes, but too pricey for me. Marks and Spencer do have supposedly comfy, wide fitting shoes, but I haven’t bought any and they have mixed reviews.

  33. June 19, 2012 / 2:16 pm

    Great post as I have just this problem myself. I’ve recently moved to a city where suddenly I walk 30ish minutes everywhere – out on Friday night, to work, to the shopping mall.

    I’ve always been a shoe fan. I bought 8 pairs of heels over with me and I’ve worn them about twice in three months! Because of all the walking, people just don’t wear heels, generally.

    I’m struggling to find shoes comfy enough for a longish walk that are also reasonably flattering on my legs and pretty and dressy enough. Your suggestions are great, but way too expensive (especially including shipping to the UK). Clarks is the best UK resource I’ve found. Duo have nice shoes, but too pricey for me. Marks and Spencer do have supposedly comfy, wide fitting shoes, but I haven’t bought any and they have mixed reviews.

  34. N. L.
    June 19, 2012 / 5:40 pm

    Hey lady. I so agree with you about those flop flops. They are my pet peeves also. I am forever wearing a good pair of flats even when I ride the bike to work and to get a good variety I tend to shop at DSW these days so I’ve been luck with a few Steve Madden flats. Need to find more though.

  35. N. L.
    June 19, 2012 / 1:40 pm

    Hey lady. I so agree with you about those flop flops. They are my pet peeves also. I am forever wearing a good pair of flats even when I ride the bike to work and to get a good variety I tend to shop at DSW these days so I’ve been luck with a few Steve Madden flats. Need to find more though.

  36. tashia graham
    June 19, 2012 / 4:36 pm

    I love sandals by b.o.c. they’re so squishy/ comfortable and a decent quality.

  37. tashia graham
    June 19, 2012 / 12:36 pm

    I love sandals by b.o.c. they’re so squishy/ comfortable and a decent quality.

  38. Ruchita
    June 19, 2012 / 4:35 pm

    I would recommend the Me Too Lysette flats. I had to go a full size up, but the footbed is very soft and cushioned. They also come in a variety of colors. I got mine from Zappos so I could buy a couple of different sizes and easily send back the ones that didn’t fit.

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