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Comfortable Dress Shoes for Healthy Joints

After posting some recommendations on casual shoes and sandals for healthy feet, a number of readers wrote in asking about supportive dress shoes.

For the past few months, with the help of a few good men and women in my extended family, I was able to assess about a dozen pairs of dress shoes that made it onto my research list.

Above all else, I was looking for dress shoes that offer exceptional support for the heel region, good flex in the forefoot area, and quality cushioning throughout the entire length. I also asked assessors to provide feedback on how breathable the shoes were throughout the day.

Durability wasn't something that we could test, though all of the shoes that made our final grade appear to have solid seams and are made with quality materials, so I imagine that they'll hold up well with regular use.

Here are our top picks for comfortable dress shoes for women:

Dansko Kate Mary Jane

Above all else, this dress shoe is known for its other-worldly cushioning and shock absorption. If you have to stand or walk for a good chunk of the day, Dansko Women's Kate is an excellent choice.

For more details, view:

Dansko Women's Kate Mary Jane

Beautifeel Pivot

Super soft and cushy, this slip-on is particularly good for warmer days.

Light, flexible, and breathable.

The heel is about half an inch, low enough not to put unnecessary stress on your metatarsals.

For more details, view:

BeautiFeel Women's Pivot Flat

Rockport Works Dress Pump

For times when a higher heel is almost a must, here's one by Rockport that offers more comfort and support than any others that the ladies in my family tried.

The slip-resistant rubber sole is noticeable on first step - an excellent feature. Safety first, right?

For more details, view:

Women's Rockport Works Dress Pumps

And our top picks for men who want dress shoes that support all major weight-bearing joints:

Clarks Unstructured Men's Slip

This is my current dress shoe of choice. Not too many dress shoes provide top notch ventilation and support - this shoe provides the best combination of flex, comfort, support, and breathability of all of the dress shoes I have tried so far.

I've also come to appreciate not having to tie shoelaces - a highly underrated feature.

For more details, view:

Clarks Unstructured Men's Un.Sheridan Slip On

Rockport Men's Margin Oxford

More of a traditional oxford shoe, this one feels particularly good on hard surfaces like concrete and tile.

I definitely noticed good flexibility in the forefoot area without any instability in the heel region - an excellent combination in any shoe.

For more details, view:

Rockport Men's Margin Oxford

If you'd like to review why your feet and major weight-bearing joints will thank you for wearing comfortable and supportive shoes, please feel free to read through my original post here:

Shoes and Sandals for Healthy Feet

Happy standing, walking, and trotting. :)


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You might look at Earth shoes which have a lower heel on them. I have worn them for years and adore them. I have a fusion in my 4th and 5th vertebrae (born that way) and heels of any kind just cause pain. The design on the Earth shoes eliminated the back pain and I can walk for any length of time now without the back problem aggravation. They are designed for people like me but many I have told this about just find they are very comfortable. For those of us who work in offices and on our feet a lot these are a blessing in comfort. They are expensive, made of leather and the low heel. They last a long time if properly cared for (ie. polish the leather). So I stay with Earth shoes just for the lower heel and the lower pain. I don't even look at shoes that have the regular heel or anything higher.

Don't know if you were aware of them.

I have MS and a big problem for people like me is balance when walking. I discovered Reikers a few years back and am hard pressed to buy any other kind of shoe now. They are comfortable and attractive and well made.

I'm surprised you missed the Naot line of shoes, Dr. Kim. I have a lot of foot issues (flat feet, bunions, prone to plantar fascitis), and Naot's are the most supportive and comfortable shoes I've found. For me, they are the absolute best! They have many styles, including dress shoes. Check them out!

It is unfortunate that all the Men's shoes shown here are leather. For people who are looking for cruelty-free options, it doesn't do any good.

I am glad to see an article on comfortable dress shoes. I have been a retail Manager for the past 20 years and am constantly walking or standing on concrete floors. I wore Dansko shoes very similar to the ones shown above. They were very comfortable to work in for a few years, but for the past 2 years I have developed plantar fascitis in both feet. I now wear a croc type nurse's clog to work. I still have painful feet, but nothing as close to the shooting pains I had wearing the Danskos. Too bad Nike can't make a nice shoe that is actually a Nike shox sneaker underneath! The shoes above are good choices for most people, but not for people like me that stand 8 + hours a day.

I also have PF and it is extremely painful. I was given exercises, naproxen, and inserts by my foot doctor. They're not really helping and I do NOT want the shot. Its painful, right into the heel. I'm a cleaning lady and I stand on my feet for about 4 hours a night. What kind of shoe are you wearing?