As the saying goes, "If the shoe fits, wear it." But it's not really that simple, is it? Much like our bodies, feet come in many shapes and sizes, and it's near impossible to find shoes—let alone a wardrobe full—that fit you just right. Throw in the fact you want them to be comfortable and the chances of stumbling across the perfect pair are even slimmer.
There are, however, some key indicators to look out for that'll tell you whether a pair of shoes is going to be comfortable or not. We consulted with Dina Gohil, founder and managing director of DG Podiatrist in Mayfair, London, to find out what really makes for a comfortable shoe.
1. Be selective with materials. "The material of the shoes is incredibly important. Always try and find soft leathers, suedes and other fabrics, as they'll soften over time and minimise rubbing. Avoid plastic and PVC whereby possible."
2. Know your width. "Make sure the width of the shoe matches your requirements. Many people think your shoes need to fit snugly, but that's not the case. Choose a style that's slightly larger than the widest part of your foot; that way your feet doesn't feel squashed and they can move they way they are intended to."
3. Seek out straps. "Be it around the ankle or across the top of the foot, straps is imperative, particularly for shoes without a high back. The more support a shoe can offer, the better."
4. Opt for open toes. "Buy open toe styles whenever possible. If you can't, I always aim for a rounder toe, as pointed shoes can become uncomfortable rather quickly and can lead to more serious conditions, such as ingrown nails."
5. Consider block heels. "Stilettos are nice from time to time, but if you regularly wear heels, look for shoes with a block heel, as they'll give you more stability."
6. Do the toe test. "When wearing your shoes, try to move your toes inside them. If you can move them without rubbing or discomfort, that's a great sign. If, however, you feel restricted, chances are you'll end up with sore spots once you take them off."
Now that you know exactly what to look for in comfortable footwear, keep scrolling to see which brands Dina and the Who What Wear UK team think make the most comfortable shoes for women.
DINA GOHIL, FOUNDER OF DG PODIATRIST, MAYFAIR: STUART WEITZMAN
"I firmly believe that it's not the brand but the shoe you'll find in the brand that could be perfect. But if I had to choose one, it would be Stuart Weitzman, as it puts an emphasis on creating structure and support for the foot."
"Launched in 2016, I've been obsessed with Kalda's shoes ever since. Not only do they hold up in the style stakes, but they're easily the comfiest 'fashion' shoes I've ever worn. With high cuts and multi straps, they stay on with ease, while the arching offers unrivalled support."
"Marks and Spencer will always be my go-to for comfortable shoes. I'm in-between sizes, so the fact they do half sizes is excellent. Throw in its Insolia technology—built-in cushioning in the sole—and even its heels are a breeze to walk in."
I'm blessed with wide feet with high insteps and narrow ankles, so finding shoes that fit well was incredibly difficult—until Charles & Keith came along. The shape of Charles & Keith's shoes fits me like a glove, making them incredibly comfortable to wear. Particularly the high heels—I won't buy high heels anywhere else now.