Comfortable and stylish shoes for older women are more readily available these days than they have ever been in the past. No longer do we have to compromise on style to be comfortable. This post shares where to shop for comfortable and stylish shoes for women at midlife and beyond
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Great brands proving that shoes for older women can be stylish and comfortable
Not so many years ago there was a distinct shortage of shoes that combined both style and comfort, fortunately in 2022 there is a much longer list of brands and stores offering comfortable styish shoes. We share brands that have taken our attention, whether for exercise, casual day wear or dressed up for more formal wear.
Why your choice of shoes is increasingly important as you age
It’s a sad fact that as you age, changes in your skin and joints can cause a loss of strength and elasticity. That means if your feet are not well supported you will experience pain, and risk further damaging your feet, if you continue to wear the wrong footwear. Rubber thongs, flip flops, jandals, I’m particularly looking at you. I found this website on foot health really interesting and thought provoking, particularly the section on factors contributing to loss of strengh in our feet. If you are experiencing problems I recommend you read it and also that you find a podiatrist you like and are confident in. But like any medical professional, remember you are in charge when dealing with them. My podiatrist is horrified that I go bare foot at home most of the time in summer, and also that my toenails are usually painted. She has lost both those arguments with me but I do take her advice seriously, I choose my pain points.
My shoe choices over the years
I have certainly experienced issues with my feet. When I was younger I often struggled with fit due to high arches. But nothing stopped me wearing all sorts of shoes that were, let’s say less than ideal for foot health. I definitely wore those high wooden platform shoes and it wasn’t uncommon for me to walk a couple of kilometers to work wearing stilletos ! For a fun look at the history of shoes styles, you might enjoy this post What High Heels looked like the year you were born.
Of course over the years I have paid for my previous choices, and my back, my feet and ankles do not thank my younger self (even though in many ways she was fabulous). Over time my feet have broadened, I have hammer toes and I wear orthotics. Pointed toes are off the agenda as are high heels. But I care very much about maintaining a sense of style to the extent possible. I admit that my walking sandals, essential in a hot climate, are more practical than stylish, but I did get them in red and I think that helps 😉
My preferred shoe styles now for my problem feet
These days you are most likely to find me wearing one of these six shoe types and looking for as much style as possible.
- A low wedge heel with good arch support and well padded – my favourite summer shoe when I am wanting a more dressed up look.
- A flat ankle boot – my number one choice for winter. It was a journey for me to adopt the boot with dress look, but now I love it. Give it a try.
- A ballet flat – but not any ballet flat, for me there is a need for more length at the front of the shoe, and more room in the toe box.
- A slide – when I’m not barefoot at home you will find me wearing slides, I love them for the easy on and off.
- Sneakers/kicks whatever you prefer to call them – -these are my first love all year round and I love that these days sneakers are equally acceptable with a dress or skirt than is a more formal shoe. But choose carefully looking for good arch support and good structure. For me leather is essential as most canvas sneakers are way too sloppy on my foot. I also want to be able to remove the insoles and replace them with my orthotics
- Walking shoes/sandals – I admit that my walking sandals, essential in a hot climate, are more practical than stylish, but I did get them in red and I think that helps 😉
Consequently I have changed where I shop and have spent the past couple of years actively seeking out shops and brands that supply shoes that are comfortable and stylish.
My pick of brands selling comfortable stylish shoes
I have listed these in alphabetical order, the choice of brands will ultimately come down to you. And as I have noted below, you won’t necessarily want to choose just any shoe. In each case you will be looking for style as well as comfort
With a 130 locally owned and operated stores in Australia and New Zealand and a terrific online store, this is my go to for practical shoes for exercise shoes or sandals. Stocking over 50 brands including adidas, Ascent, ASICS, Brooks, Clarks, Ecco, FitFlop, Hoka One One, InStride, Lightfeet, Merrell, Mizuno, New Balance, Nike, Orthaheel, Propet, Puma, Rockport, Saucony, Skechers, Teva, Thorlos you are sure to find your perfect fit here. This was the source of my Ecco walking sandals.
Bared not only sell great footwear for both women and men, they are also focussed on the social and environmental impact of their business and have shown real commitment; being Australia’s First B Corp Certified Footwear Label! Bared sell fabulous flats and heels, sandals and wedges and of course gorgeous sneakers.
I have two pairs of Chiqui Alta ballet flats and have had the privilege of meeting the brand owner, the lovely Marina. These are shoes for tall women with larger feet. The hightail ballet flats start at size 39 and run up to size 46. Made in beautiful Spanish leather these shoes have good length at the front to ensure your feet won’t easily slip out of them. They are not orthotic friendly, so do keep that in mind, but everything else about them is just heavenly. What’s not to love about a pair of red shoes with a pink pull up tab at the heel.
Much as I love the look of pointy toed shoes they are no longer on my shopping list. I love the square toe look of the Comfi Flats from this brand. They won’t work for me due to my high arches, but they may just be perfect for you. They also come in both a medium and a wide foot. This brand is also well priced, so definitely worth a look.
Ecco offers much more than the walking sandals I featured above. They also have some very stylish sneakers and really great wedge sandals as well. And if you are a golfer you will find golfing shoes at this brand too.
Shop at EOS for great ankle boots from chunky to classic, fabulous sneakers – how about a pair of purple leather high tops – as well as flat and wedge sandals. EOS has some of the most colourful shoes around and a great choice of styles.
I have recently discovered Footmaster where I purchased these gorgeous red suede sandals – and my have they generated a lot of attention. I love that they are sturdy whilst remaining stylish. I prefer sandals with some substance, thin straps no longer give me confidence, I want to know that my foot won’t slide off the base. Footmaster has a a couple of different brands, these are Javara, they also stock Naot (see below)
I have worn FRANKIE4 Footwear shoes for several years now as in many ways they pionered stylish orthotic friendly styles for the Australian market. Over time though I have found less to choose from other than neutral tones, and they do command a premium price too. But get on their mailing list to be notified of forthcoming sales. I am still a fan of their sneakers but find many of their other styles have thin straps or pointed toes, neither of which work for me. I do have three pairs of ankle boots from previous years which I love, but these older styles have more rounded toes which work better for me. The black ankle boots at the foot (pun fully intended) of this post are an example of what I now look for in an ankle boot.
There’s a reason Hush Puppies has been in business since 1958, a brand that has endured. Hush Puppies specialises in combining style and comfort, and for men as well as women. I had my first pair of Hush Puppies in the 1970s. In the interim I felt that the brand had lost its way but that is no longer the case and I have just ordered a pair of low heeled leather and suede boots. I really like the look of the sneakers too and will be investigating these further in the warmer weather. I definitely recommend you take a fresh look at this great brand.
I’m a huge fan of NAOT shoes and I particularly love their low wedges. I have a pair in grey and silver which bring sparkle to my outfits and allow me to feel dressed up and still be supremely comfortable. They also have stylish sneakers, including some with zippers for easy on and off. Many of their shoes are orthotic friendly and they also have a vegan range.
Over the last two summers I have purchased two pairs of shoes from the Shoe Collective, a pair of gorgeous yellow wedges with great support, and a pair of bright green slides. I love them both and I also fancy the sneakers from this store, plus they sell both ankle and full length boots. Make sure you get on their mailing list as they also have fabulous sales a couple of times a year.
Skechers have long been known for podiatrist designed shoes and they bring casual style to performance footwear. Over time Skechers have added a wider range and more stylish shoes to their collection, with some very cute sneakers joining the street wear collection and some great colours to the Go Walk range.
Finding your new shoes
I am delighted that there is now such a great choice of comfortable and stylish shoes for the over 60 woman, and these are just some of the choices. I hope you find something here that delights you. I tend to have a couple of brands that I know I can confidently buy from online and a couple of stores that are my go to. And of course when buying online always always check the returns policy.