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The Best Work Shoes for Women Comfy Enough to Run, Skip and Jump In

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Written by Jenna Cartusciello
Female work and pleasure shoes

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Gone are the days of switching your sneakers for pumps as soon as you reach the office — practicality is in style, and the best work shoes for women now prioritize support and comfort. But you don’t have to forego a chic and elegant feel to keep your feet healthy! Modern shoes blend utility with fashion so you can get the best of both worlds. If you’ve been searching for the perfect work shoe that updates your wardrobe and increases your confidence without causing foot pain, we’ve got you covered. You’ll find your ideal footwear here, whether you work in healthcare, finance, customer service, education, marketing or management.

We’ve searched high and low for the best shoes — from flats, to heels, to boots — and created a comprehensive list of the best styles available. Each style is vetted based on reviews, testing, materials, durability, comfort and support. Whether you’re looking for the perfect chunky loafer, Chelsea boot or flat mule, you’ll find it below.

The Best Work Shoes for Women for Standing, Walking and Beyond

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Finding the Best Work Shoes for Women

We can all agree that the best work shoe is different for every person, and it all depends on your career. If you have to stand or walk for long periods, for instance, the extra cushioning and structural support provided by a sneaker or clog is a must. In contrast, a business professional setting may require a dressy heel. A chunky loafer or slip-on mule would work well in a business casual environment, as would an ankle boot in the fall.

No matter your work setting, there are a couple rules that apply to every job: Opt for a shoe that is comfortable and fits you well. A patent leather pump might look gorgeous with crisp office slacks and a flowy blouse, but it can cause serious issues down the road. (Think knee, ankle, hip and lower back pain, ingrown toenails, bunions… you get the picture.) And if something feels a little tight, don’t grin and bear it — it won’t get better. To help you avoid these common problems and others, check out the most important factors to consider before buying the best work shoes for women below.

What to Consider When Choosing the Best Work Shoes for Women


A good insole can make or break a shoe, and if you don’t have to spend money on separate insoles, you’ll save money down the road. We recommend looking for shoes with insoles which have shock absorption materials such as gel or foam. Contoured inserts will also help keep your weight evenly distributed so you don’t develop pain in a particular area of your foot, such as your ankle, heel or forefoot. And if your shoes have washable inserts, consider that an added bonus.


Oftentimes, the quality of the sole is the difference between an expensive and budget-friendly shoe. A high-quality sole should have a midsole (the inner part of the sole) with cushioning and structure, and an outsole with plenty of traction. We recommend looking for shoes that have outsoles made of polyurethane or rubber, both of which are lightweight and durable.


If you have a high step count, you’ll benefit from a work shoe that offers plenty of structure. This means the sole has at least two layers — an outsole and a midsole — and the arches are well supported. Look for shoes that keep your foot in one position as opposed to letting it slide around, and make sure your toes don’t slide into the front with every step, which will place them in an uncomfortable position. Supportive shoes we recommend include clogs, Chelsea boots and sneakers.


The style of your work shoes is particularly important if you work in an office setting. In this instance, we recommend classic styles such as mules, ballet flats, Mary Janes and similar low heels with pointed or rounded toes. If you want to keep things modern, you can opt for a classic style with a twist, such as a loafer with a chunky sole or a platform boot.


Your budget will dictate the types of work shoes you select, but it doesn’t have to limit you as greatly as you might think. Generally, we think you won’t have to spend above $250 for a pair of high-quality, comfortable shoes, though you will likely have to spend above $40. The sweet spot for a long-lasting shoe is usually between $100 and $150.

What Are the Different Types of Work Shoes for Women?

Work shoes for women fall into one of three categories: casual, business casual and business professional.


Casual shoes in a work setting aren’t necessarily “cheap.” In reality, these shoes are often the most comfortable and supportive, and therefore they can get expensive quickly. The casual work shoes we recommend include sneakers (or running shoes) and clogs. Running shoes work particularly well for jobs that keep you on your feet for hours because they’re extremely well cushioned.

Business Casual

Business casual is the broadest category of work shoes and it includes a variety of styles, such as mules, rounded ballet shoes, pointed flats, slip ons and sandals. Mules and other flats don’t offer much support, but they can offer great traction and much greater comfort than heels. If you’re in a business casual setting and want to wear heels, we recommend opting for chunky heels which will provide more support.

Business Professional

The business professional setting calls for the most formal styles of work shoes. Generally, this means a closed-toe shoe (rounded, pointed and squared all work) and some kind of heel. However, you’ll often find that certain business casual styles also work as business professional styles — such as mules and chunky loafers.


Best Overall: Vivaia Pointed Toe Water Repellent Ballet Flats (Aria 5°)


  • Water repellant
  • Machine washable
  • Herbal insoles reduce smelly feet


  • Expensive
  • Only available at Vivaia
  • May be too wide

Beloved by celebrities like Selena Gomez and Katie Holmes, Vivaia has made waves in recent years for its classy and comfortable shoes. The brand’s pointed toe water repellent flats earned our best overall spot because they’re easy on the feet, elegant and machine washable. The herbal insoles make it less likely that your shoes will stink after repeated wears, and the rubber soles are slip resistant.

Though $97 is a lot to pay for a pair of ballet flats, we think these shoes are worth it and will last you a long time if you take care of them. Note that the Aria 5 ballet flats are not yet available at other retailers, though previous generations are. A few customers have also found the ballet flats to be too wide.


Best Budget: Frank Mully Womens Pointed Toe Flats Knit Dress Shoes


  • Machine washable
  • Anti-slip sole
  • Soft and stretchy


  • Little arch support
  • Not sustainably made
  • Hard to get the right size on the first try

Looking for a Vivaia dupe? We recommend Frank Mully’s Pointed Toe Flats. They have a similar soft, stretchy and flexible feel on the foot and an anti-slip sole, making them great for walking. We also like that Frank Mully offers multiple pointed-toe styles and provides an extra pair of inserts with each purchase, so you can create a snugger fit if needed.

The downsides: Some buyers complain that the shoes run large while others say they run small, so it may be hard to find your perfect fit at first. In addition, they don’t offer as much arch support as Vivaia and they aren’t sustainably made.


Best Splurge: Dansko Professional Clog


  • Easy slip on and off
  • Supportive
  • APMA approved


  • Expensive
  • May not work if you have plantar fasciitis
  • Have to break them in

We know what you’re thinking: Clogs aren’t exactly the cutest office or work shoe. But we promise you’ll fall in love with the Dansko Professional Clog. (It looks better on your foot than in pictures — we promise!) It’s incredibly easy to slip on and off, and the interior support is unmatched. Indeed, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) gave Dansko footwear a seal of acceptance and approval.

While these clogs are extremely comfortable for standing and walking, they’re impossible for light jogging or running (if things get hectic on the job). In addition, buyers with plantar fasciitis note that they need more cushioning than what Danskos provide.


Best for Walking: Abeo MXV Shift Sneaker


  • Lightweight
  • Supportive
  • Ease pain from foot conditions


  • May be above budget
  • May prefer other Abeo sneakers
  • No narrow or wide fits

If you’re on your feet and moving all day long, a lightweight, cushioned shoe like the Abeo MXV Shift Sneaker is exactly what you need. We love that this sneaker offers great arch and heel support, and the knit above the toes helps your feet release heat. These shoes can also help ease pain from plantar fasciitis, metatarsalgia and bunions. If you need additional support at the front of your foot, you can choose a “metatarsal footbed” version of the sneaker at no extra cost.

While these sneakers are on par with other brands in terms of quality for price, they may still be above budget. Also, one customer felt that the MXV shift wasn’t as great as other Abeo sneakers, and one wished they came in narrow or wide widths.


Best for Standing All Day: Adidas Ultraboost Light Running Shoes


  • Extra cushioning
  • Lightweight
  • Help ease foot pain


  • Expensive
  • No wide width option
  • May cut into ankle

If you want to feel as though you’re standing on plush clouds all day long, try the Adidas Ultraboost Light Running Shoes. These stylish, lightweight sneakers have a plush foam that helps reduce foot pain and make it easy to walk, jog or even jump if you need to.

At $190, the Ultraboost is a pricey sneaker. A few customers have also complained that these shoes are too narrow and wish they came in a wider width. Others note that they come up too high and cut into the ankle.


Best for Nurses: Medical Scrubs Collection Infinity Footwear Women’s Everon Knit


  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Slip-resistant soles
  • Made with antimicrobial materials


  • May be outside of your budget
  • No laces
  • No narrow width sizing

Nurses need an extremely comfortable, cushioned, flexible and supportive shoe, and the Infinity Footwear Women’s Everon Knit fits the bill. These everyday shoes have a stretchy, breathable knit upper to reduce heat and slip-resistant soles that can even withstand oil. We love the removable, antimicrobial and arch-supporting insole as well.

The downsides: Though the price is right for the quality, these shoes may be outside of your budget. They also don’t have laces, so the fit may not be exactly perfect depending on how narrow or wide your foot is.


Best for Flight Attendants: Dream Pairs Women’s Chunky Low Block Heels, Mary Jane Closed Toe


  • Affordable
  • Supportive
  • Three-layer insole


  • Not sold in a wide width
  • May take a few tries to get the right size
  • May get smelly

If you need a professional heel that doesn’t clack and offers plenty of support for a long shift, try the Dream Pairs Mary Jane heels. These closed-toe pumps stay in place without rubbing against the heels and creating blisters, and the three-layer insole has soft foam and latex to help reduce pressure on your feet. Buyers love that they can even run in these heels when they have to.

Some customers have had difficulty finding their perfect size, so it may take a few tries to get it right. In addition, a few buyers note that these shoes get smelly quickly — no-show socks may help this problem.


Best Ballet Flat: Yosi Samra Samara Foldable Ballet Flat


  • Foldable
  • Non-slip, separated sole
  • Comfortable elastic lining


  • Pricey
  • Run small
  • Shipped folded

It might seem impractical to wear ballet shoes made of leather (don’t ballet shoes break down quickly?), but the Yosi Samra Foldable Ballet Flats defy odds. These shoes have a separated, non-slip rubber sole that creates more flexibility than a one-piece sole. They also have an elastic lining around the rim for comfort, so you don’t have to break them in. We love that there’s plenty of space at the front of the shoe so your toes won’t get squished. Plus, there’s a pull tab at the back.

While these shoes are a great price for high-quality leather, they may be outside of your budget. (If so, we recommend the vegan leather versions, which are half the price but have the same high-quality features.) Also, some customers have noticed that these shoes run small, and others wish the shoes weren’t shipped folded as it takes some time for them to flatten out.


Best Budget Ballet Flat: Clarks Women’s Carly Wish Ballet Flat


  • Stretchy knitted upper
  • Rubber sole with traction
  • Machine washable


  • Run small
  • May chafe
  • Need a little breaking in

Hoping for a less-expensive ballet flat that still performs well? We recommend the Clark’s Women’s Carly Wish Ballet Flat. The knitted upper creates breathability and flexibility while the rubber sole offers traction and comfort. We also love that these are machine washable.

The downsides: These shoes run small, so you may have a hard time getting your exact size on the first try. Others note that the flats are a bit too snug even in the wide width, and that they may chafe on long walks.


Best Heeled Ankle Boot: Naturalizer Women’s Women’s Verney Ankle Boot


  • Waterproof leather
  • Don’t clack on the ground
  • Sold in wide sizes


  • Pricey
  • Toes tend to slide forward in shoe
  • May be hard to find right size

There’s nothing like a classic leather boot to spice up your fall office fashion, and the Naturalizer’s Verney Ankle Boot is a great pick. We love that these shoes don’t clack on the ground and that the leather is waterproof. The interior offers plenty of ankle and arch support.

However, the fit may not be perfect — a few buyers found that the loose ankle means your toes slide forward in the shoe. A few had a hard time finding their perfect fit when opting for their standard size.


Best Chelsea Boot: Blundstone Women’s Original High Top Boots


  • Lightweight
  • Water-resistant leather
  • Ankle support


  • Expensive
  • No wide or narrow widths
  • Break-in period

It’s not easy to part ways with $200 for a pair of shoes, but Blundstone makes it worth it. The brand’s Original High Top Boots offer unrivaled comfort and support in a surprisingly lightweight shoe. The sole also provides excellent traction and the leather exterior is water resistant. Plus, the signature pull tabs makes it easy to slip these boots on and off. Customers note that these boots are great for long shifts with plenty of walking.

The cons, but not deal breakers: These shoes are not sold in wide or narrow widths, and you may need to buy an additional insole to get the perfect fit. They also have a break-in period.


Best Mules: Steve Madden Women’s Flavor Mule


  • Soft interior
  • Decent traction
  • Perfect blend of relaxed and chic


  • Narrow toe box
  • May not be comfortable on high arches
  • May begin to smell after repeated wear

Mules are having a moment in the world of office fashion, and if you want to take part, we suggest the Steve Madden Women’s Flavor Mule. These suede shoes have a soft interior and a synthetic rubber sole with decent traction. We love how easy they are to slip on and off.

However, the pointed front means these mules can squish the toes. They are also very flat and may not be comfortable for people with high arches. These shoes can get smelly since they don’t work well with socks.


Best Loafer: Abeo Boulevard Loafer


  • Soft, flexible sole with traction
  • Orthotic footbeds
  • Structured upper for support


  • May cause ankle pain and blisters
  • No narrow or wide widths
  • Pricey

Chunky loafers are the shoe of the fall, and we’re here for it! We love the Abeo Boulevard Loafer because it doesn’t sacrifice fashion for comfort — the chunky sole is soft and flexible on the ground while the orthotic footbed cushions reduce pain. The leather upper also adds structure to support your feet all day long.

The downsides: The sides of these shoes come up too high on certain customers and hit the ankle, which may cause ankle pain and blisters. (You may need to add padding to eliminate this issue.) In addition, the Boulevard Loafers are not sold in narrow or wide widths.


Best Low Heel: Vivaia Round Toe Chunky Heels (Julie Pro)


  • Machine washable
  • Anti-stink insoles
  • Chunky heel adds stability


  • Expensive
  • Flexible exterior may not provide enough support
  • Narrow toe box

Wanting a comfortable office shoe doesn’t mean you have to wear flats every weekday! If you still want to rock a heel without developing chronic foot pain, try the Vivaia Round Toe Chunky Heels. These shoes are machine washable and have anti-stink foam insoles. The stretchy knit upper increases comfort and flexibility, while the chunky heel increases stability.

Though the price of these high-quality shoes is reasonable, these heels are still expensive. In addition, the flexible knit exterior may not provide enough support, and the narrow toe box may exacerbate bunions.


Best Sandal: Dansko Season Sandal


  • Cushioned footbed
  • Structured, supportive base
  • Podiatrist approved


  • Straps are velcro
  • May be hard to get perfect fit on first try
  • Expensive

If you love wedge heels but don’t enjoy the foot pain they cause, we recommend the Dansko Season Sandal. This shoe has the same cushioned footbed as the highly popular Dansko clog, but an open leather upper that’s perfect for warm weather. We also like that the front and back ankle straps are both adjustable.

However, some buyers dislike that the straps are actually velcro, though they appear to have metal clasps. Others found it hard to achieve the perfect fit with their initial purchase.


Best Water Resistant: Chooka Women’s Waterproof Plush Chelsea Boot


  • Easy to slip on and off
  • Lined interior for warmth
  • Plenty of traction


  • No wide widths
  • Too hot for warm weather
  • Fit may be narrow

Need a waterproof work boot that will withstand all kinds of weather? Try the Chooka Women’s Waterproof Plush Boot. They’re easy to slip on and off and have a durable exterior that holds up in rain and snow. The plush interior adds warmth and comfort, and the rubber sole adds traction.

The downsides: A few customers complained that the boot is narrow, so you may need to size up for a wider fit. In addition, the lined interior means these boots get too hot in warm weather — so they may not work as a year-round shoe.

People Also Ask

  • Q: What types of shoes do women wear to work?

    A:It depends on the job! A woman in a medical setting will likely opt for a sneaker or a clog, while someone in a business setting will go for a dressier style — think ballet flat or low heel.

  • Q: What are the best shoes to wear if you’re on your feet all day?

    A:We recommend choosing a shoe that offers structure, support and comfort, such as the Dansko Clog, Blundstone Chelsea Boot or Abeo MXV Sneaker.

  • Q: What shoes should a woman wear to an office job?

    A:Whether your office has a business casual or business professional dress code, you can’t go wrong with a low, chunky heel, a ballet flat, a mule or a loafer.

  • Q: How much do the best work shoes for women cost?

    A:Expect to spend anywhere between $50 and $250 for a high-quality and comfortable business shoe.

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At Us Weekly, we aim to inform readers to make smart purchasing decisions, saving you both time and money. Our editors are obsessed with finding products in a variety of categories from fashion and beauty, to home and fitness.

We try various products, so we can recommend our favorites, and we also summarize feedback and data from other customers. Data, like product reviews and ratings, helps us recommend the best product choices for individual price points and needs.

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By Jenna Cartusciello

Affiliate Commerce Writer Jenna loves recommending great products to her friends and family, so helping the rest of the internet on their quest to find the best stuff makes tremendous sense! Though she mainly writes in-depth buyer’s guides these days, Jenna still enjoys crafting the occasional health article. In her spare time, she loves immersing herself in creative writing. Her favorite authors (for anyone who is willing to geek out with her) include Neil Gaiman, Cheryl Strayed, and Jennifer Egan.

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