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As I mentioned Monday, I am no longer sacrificing my comfort for style, and will no longer feel trapped in my clothing. the biggest change I've made with my style is with my shoes. I have always been self-conscious of my legs and feet and felt that heels balanced my body, making me look longer and leaner.
I walked on my toes as a child, and still do when I am tired. Doing this built up not only my calves, but also my shins and ankles. My feet grew extra padding on the balls, making my short toes appear even shorter. I felt that a high heel in a low-contrast color (beige pumps, soft gold strappy heeled sandals) helped make these “issues” I had not as apparent.
I was good at walking in heels… until I wasn't. It was after I turned 40 where my knees would cry out in pain when I tried to walk down stairs in my 3″ pumps. I stopped feeling secure dashing to catch the Metro or even standing for a few hours at an event in heels. I kept doing it though. I'd save my heels for special events. I'd slather my knees and feet in Equilibria Relief Balm and find furniture to lean against or seats to plop down on to give myself a break. We all make sacrifices for fashion, right?
Well the pandemic gave me a year where I had nowhere to go and no need for a heeled shoe. When getting back into the world, I found most of my go-to heels too painful beyond a photo shoot for the blog. And I thought… why am I selling an image in heels when IRL I am not wearing them? I was on a quest to find shoes that looked cute but also didn't hurt.
Birkenstocks have been my favorite comfy shoe for a long while, but they have their limitations. I really felt them on our road trip; when my feet were tired from my HOKA sneakers, I wanted to put on my Birkenstocks but I knew I would regret it if I had to walk a distance. I needed some sort of sandal that was better attached to my foot and had more support than my completely flat dressy sandals.
Comfy Shoes FTW: Teva Hurricane Sandals with a Chiffon Maxi Dress
As I mentioned in this Friday Shop post, I always liked the idea of Teva sandals, but they never fit my short, chubby feet. But the Teva Hurricane sandal looked different. Instead of the classic yoga mat-esque sole, these were more molded, and the straps were different. These differences made the sandals work great for my feet and I have been wearing them nonstop since I got them. I am so excited to have them as we have a couple of more adventures this summer.
While I have worn them with swimsuits and casual sundresses, for this look I decided to glam them up with a chiffon overlay maxi dress from Chico's Black Label collection. This is the kind of dress that can read super dressy or more casual and its look can be transformed with the addition of a belt. I love this paisley print but this dress also comes in black. I am wearing size 14.
I liked the idea of making it a vibe for a beach wedding or other festive outdoor event. I added a pair of gold vintage clip-on earrings I have had. for years (see them on me here in 2017 and here in 2018) and a gold cuff from Chico's. Keeping things fun and summery, I chose an orange sheer lipstick (this one from Glossier in the color Coupe), no eyeshadow, and a turquoise liquid liner (this one from Dior).
Comfy Shoes FTW: HOKA Recovery Sandals with a Cotton Sundress
After having so much success with HOKA sneakers on the road trip, I was curious about the brand's recovery slides. Tons of cushioning and arch support, these looked like an alternative to my Birkenstocks that I was using as house shoes. I found them comfy like Birks, but additional cushioning and support that felt amazing after a day on my feet.
I totally planned on keeping them house shoes until the other day when I slipped them on with this dress to help a neighbor. She said she really liked the look and when I came home and caught the combination in my mirror, I did too. This is the dress I shared last Friday that is an in-stock, similarly priced, and size-inclusive (XXS-3X) alternative to my Christopher John Rogers for Target dress. Unfortunately, this dress I'm wearing is only available in black and earth/tan.
I shared this Saturday that I tried to cut out the lining and ended up damaging the dress. Don't do what I did; the lining is sewn to the dress itself and removing the lining removes the shoulder and neck seams. Luckily, I still had some fabric leftover and used Stitch Witchery to tack it down. I am toying with using embroidery floss to sew down the edges, making them colorful and a bit crafty. What do you think?
Two looks with two pairs of hella comfortable shoes. I believe that anyone can wear whatever the heck makes them happy. If heels make you happy, rock them my friend, they're fierce and can make you feel fabulous. But if heels are starting to be torture for you, there are alternatives. They may not be what you ever would have considered before, but we are living in different times. It seems pretty ridiculous to survive a pandemic and then destroy your feet for fashion. I'll continue to share the comfy yet IMO cute shoes I find here on Wardrobe Oxygen. And if you have any winning comfy shoes, do share them in the comments!
The comfiest, dressiest sandals I own are from SAS shoes. Nice enough to wear to a wedding. Nice enough to dance in. They are a family owned company and they carry the full range of widths. Check them out.
Received my Hoka One slides in white uppers and turquoise soles this week. I don’t have wide width feet, just older feet, but they’re perfect. I Love them – they have great arch support & cushioning. Thanks for so much for recommending them!
I’ve heard that to do heels you have to wear them all the time and that going back and forth between heels and flats is what causes the pain. I dunno – I chose flats. 🙂 I still put on a low heel from time to time but flats–or bare feet!– is where it’s at! Great post.
Jennifer B says
Skechers ArchFit Cruise Around sandal in dark taupe. THE most comfortable sandals I have ever owned and the dark taupe is a great summer neutral that goes with everything. Like everyone else I have been going barefoot all day at home in the pandemic and my feet are paying the price and needed better support. LOVE these sandals.
Re: comfy shoes I like Taos shoes. I first learned about them when reading Susan Blakey’s Une Femme d’un Áge Certain. (As a matter of fact that is how I found Alison!) Anyway, Taos shoes have great support and I now have 3 pairs of their sandals as well as 2 pairs of sneakers. For the record, I have bunions, a wide toe area with a narrow heel, and very low arches. Taos are adjustable and the footbed is quite comfortable.
Thanks for the foot description, mine are the same-bunion, kind of wide across the toes, but narrow heel. I’ve been thinking about getting some Taos shoes but wasn’t sure if they would be comfortable all day.
I’ve been loving my new white Birkenstock sneakers.
Aren’t they great? I have them in black and white! They are the only flat sneakers I can wear without foot pain.
Great post. I have also forsaken my heels for comfort since plantar fasciitis popped up in my left heel, but have to have style! Agree with you on the Birks; I have 3 pairs now, and they are my go-to most days. I am still searching for the perfect sneakers. Some Vionic styles are OK for me, but they are inconsistent with the fit. I loved their canvas Beach shoe, but it lacked the heel support. I have also tried Ecco Flowt sandals, but my favorites so far are a wedge sandal by ABEO (wore all day at a wedding) and MiM4 sneakers by Frankie4 Footwear, which makes very cute sneakers and a few sandals (all designed by a podiatrist). I will try HoKa based on your review. Thank you!
Great post! You look super happy in both of these outfits -maybe because your feet were I’ve never tried Teva and had not checked out the Hoka trend. Maybe now is the time.
Janet Kenoyer says
Love it Alison! You are being the change! I’m 72, 5’6” , weigh 168 and definitely want happy feet because that means happy me, not drained of energy. I just ordered a pair of the Hoka One Recovery slides each from REI & Nordstrom – a light turquoise with white sole & vice versa. I’ve been wearing Crocs & before that Fit Flops. Footwear is your base, man! Love what you do!
Book Goddess says
I bought a pair of Aetrex Jillian sandals shortly before the pandemic, and I’m so glad I did. I now have them in four colors and have worn them basically every day for the past year and a half (I do live in the tropics).
Linda M says
I second the Ecco Yucatán. It can be adjusted everywhere, lasts forever, and is super comfy for my wide feet. I can walk long distances in them. Great for traveling as you can race walk through an airport if needed.
Third the Ecco Yucatan. Have three pair.
Gorgeous looks, Allie! You look happy.
I have bad knees and find “squishy” shoes put too much torque on my joints. Instead, I wear a firmer, flat shoe like a loafer or boot. For casual wear, I’ve found Naots to work really well.
I second Leu2500’s comments on the building. Very cool sculpture.
I found a pair of Ecco Yucatan sandals at Nordstrom in a solid Hibiscus Red, including the sole. Supportive and cute. Well, as cute as supportive sandals can be. 🙂
Denise Walker says
I have very finicky feet complete with arthritis and bunions so I’m constantly on the hunt for cute shoes that don’t cause me pain. I’ve found Ilsa Jacobson sneakers are perfect for most of my outfits. They come in many colors and patterns so I own 3 pairs. The removable insoles make it easy to slip my orthotics inside. Many people complain that they get stretched out quickly and I’ve found this to be true as well. When they get floppy, I just put the original insole back in underneath my orthotic and they’re good to go again! I love them and get tons of compliments.
I invested in a pair of white Birkenstocks (thanks to you). Those are my “dress up shoes” this summer. I live in Chacos because they are supportive and comfortable and they can get wet. It’s the rainy season and I don’t want to have to worry about ruining my shoes if I’m out. I had to give up my heels several years ago due to Psoriatic Arthritis. I do miss them. But I LOVE that we can wear comfortable, good-for-your-feet shoes and still look great!
Please tell us more about the building you posed in front of. The We the People mural/sculpture above the doors is intriguing. Thx.
Alison Gary says
It’s the Greenbelt Community Center, and it recently received a bit of a glow up so it’s all shiny and clean looking! A little bit about it and the artist from my friend’s blog about our city: https://www.greenbeltonline.org/learn-all-about-lenore-thomas-straus/
Thank you! What an interesting read.