Ask Allie: The Perfect Black Pump

Dear Allie,
Could you please recommend some specific black pumps that could make good staples? I like cute shoes but also sometimes walk up to 2-3 miles in the course of a work day (between walking to/from the bus, stepping out for lunch, etc) and would like to find a shoe that I can wear all the time without getting blisters, twisting an ankle, etc.

I think a pair of black pumps just like this are such a must for most women’s wardrobes! You can pair with skirts, dresses, pants and even some capris; they can be worn to your cousin’s wedding, a job interview, or a night out on the town. Such a shoe staple makes most sense if they can be walked in all day (or danced in all night!). Here’s some suggestions I have found online:

If you read Wardrobe Oxygen, you know I am a major fan off Sofft shoes. They are stylish yet incredibly comfortable and well-made. I have sandals that are several years old, have worked very hard yet still look great and I know I can wear them all day and through the night without any pain.

These pumps from Sofft are a very classic style – nice round toe to keep your tootsies comfortable, cushioned footbed, and a thicker heel to give stability and to better disperse body weight. These shoes come in Narrow, Regular, Wide, and Double Wide so there should be a great fit for anyone! (currently on sale for $58.90 on Nordstrom)




I have a pair of Cole Haan Air shoes and they are utterly amazing. They have Nike technology in them so they are more cushioned, flexible and wearable than similarly-styled shoes. My booties from Cole Haan are a high pointy heel, yet I can wear them for 12 hours without any pain.

These pumps from Cole Haan’s Air line are such a perfectly classic style. 2.5” stacked heel, rounded toe, free of any details that will make them passé in a year. Cole Haan Air shoes usually come with a strategically cushioned insole, flexible leather and rubber sole, and smart technology to place the heel where it can disperse body weight the best. They aren’t cheap shoes, but they are so well crafted and elegant, they can be a wardrobe favorite for a decade. ($197.95)




I am a big fan of pointed toe pumps. As someone with chubby feet, I feel they actually give my toes more space and are structured to normally be more flexible and wide than classic almond shapes. This classically elegant shoe by Ivanka Trump reminds me of my uber-comfortable pointed-toe kitten heels from Nine West. This is a shoe that will look great with trousers as well as a dress, and the pointed toe and slim heel makes them dress up with ease.

The reviews show that many find them to be very comfortable and a great wardrobe staple. ($119.95)

Naturalizer does a great job of marrying comfort with style. These shoes are not exception. They look very similar to many popular brands, but have the great Naturalizer quality and fit. The slight platform of the Lennox keeps them on trend, while also minimizing the height and discomfort of the heels. Signature N5 construction and padded insole will keep you comfy all day or night. ($78.95)




Another adorable pointed-toe kitten heel pump. So glad this silhouette is back en vogue – it’s feminine yet totally wearable all day. Available in patent or regular leather, these shoes will be a style you will keep continuing to reach for with each ensemble.

It’s rare to find a pair of shoes on Zappos that has a 5-star rating, but the Diema Pump has just that from 68 different reviewers. Says a lot for the quality and comfort of these shoes. ($89.00 at Calvin Klein website)

Readers, what say you? What are your favorite brand of classic black pumps?


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  1. Emily
    July 1, 2011 / 3:42 pm

    I asked the original question about pumps–thank you so much, Allie, for answering it on your blog! Since I sent my question I ended up going with the Indigo by Clarks Pongee Plush ( and am very happy with it. The rounded toe and tapered heel might be too retro to be a staple for most people, but it’s perfect for my style.

  2. Adrienne
    June 18, 2011 / 5:02 pm

    I don’t have a specific recommendation, but the ideal shoe for me has a little thicker heel. In fact, the higher the heel, the more important the thickness of the heel. A heel with a little more heft to it provides stability and provides more comfort. And no matter my weight, up or down, I never have “skinny” legs. Skinny heels–and kitten heels– only emphasize a heavier calf. So I say watch the proportion of the heel and make it a factor in the selection process.

  3. June 17, 2011 / 8:34 pm

    Honestly, I don’t have any Sofft shoes, just sandals. So it’s hard for me to say. When it comes to pricier shoes, I usually buy from somewhere like Nordstrom where I can actually road test them and if they are poor quality or destroy my foot I can return them.  It’s hard to know how a shoe will wear when you only pad around on your bedroom carpet or the store.

    Grace above mentioned SoftSpots which is a lower-priced brand by Sofft.  My friend has many shoes by them and finds them to be as comfy as Sofft.  They are often on at reduced prices. 🙂

  4. Cynthia W
    June 17, 2011 / 8:29 pm

    I’m going to have to give some of these a shot – I never thought about a pointy-toe working for me because I have a wider, but not wide enough to be wide, instep, so I’ve avoided them. However, to get the instep wide enough, it seems like pumps won’t stay on my narrower heels – so I mostly end up with Mary Janes or sling backs since I can adjust them to stay on my feet.

    however, I really want a classic pair of pumps and they have to be comfy because I’m a teacher and am on my feet all day. I’m tempted by the Cole Haans – are they that much more comfy than the Sofft? I’d drop the cash if they are really going to work for me because I’d be able to wear them for years, but I don’t want to spend that much if the Sofft are just as good – I know that you have both, so are the Cole Haans worth that much more?

  5. June 17, 2011 / 3:55 pm

    It’s a very basic show, but the Softspots Pallas is super comfortable and comes in several black options (patent, croc, etc.)

  6. June 17, 2011 / 12:15 am

    Attilio Giusti Leombruni pumps and flats are amazing!  I have three pairs of the flats and just got some great nude and black patent pumps and they are so comfortable!

  7. June 16, 2011 / 10:58 pm

    I have some Soffts in my wardrobe and I like them very much. They are never super-trendy but they always fit in just fine with all kinds of outfits and they *are* comfortable. The CK pumps look delicious – I have to check those out.

  8. June 16, 2011 / 10:42 pm

    Great post! I’m about to start looking for more pumps/heels/wedges after wearing flats for like 2 years straight! 

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