Move over, high heels. Flat shoes are having a welcome resurgence, and we’re right there behind them, stylish loafers in one hand and dainty mules in the other.
Cushioned insoles, supported arches and flexible soles might not be the sexiest descriptors for stylish footwear. But when paired with crystal embellishments, velvet-soft suede and pointed toe silhouettes, you’re on your way to discovering your new favourite flat shoes.
The tide has well and truly turned, and the humble commuter flat is now our go-to shoe for sightseeing, drinks at the bar and everything in between. And, whether you opt for a statement black leather, a cute cream or a burst of colour, our guide breaks down everything you need to know before shopping for your next pair of comfortable flats.
And, of course, comfort is key here, which means no more bandaids hastily put in your purse before a night out, no more pinched toes after too many steps, and you can wave goodbye to aching arches the following morning.
The 15 most comfortable flats
Oliver Cabell Dream Flat: Overall most comfortable flats
Dreamy by name and dreamy by nature, a classic nude pump like Oliver Cabell’s Dream Flat helps you to put your best foot forward with a fashionable take that’s both stylish and supportive. None of us has got the time for thin soles, pinched toes or skyscraper heels and these unstructured essentials, crafted in Italy, promise to avoid all of the above.
The Dream Flat is a chameleon of a shoe: Whether you want to add a polished touch to your holiday strolls or need a failsafe option for throwing on in the morning, it’ll simplify your day-to-day life with a pair of shoes that blend in to every occasion. Good quality leather (check), versatile style (check), guarantee of no need to break them in (check). Bring them out as part of your airport-ready look, waving goodbye to trainers once and for all. These cushioned flats fit like a glove and act as a smart, understated addition to your wardrobe that’ll carry you through whatever or wherever you’re taking them.
Best for: A great all-round option that doesn’t compromise on style
Colours: Black, tan, nude, white
Stuart Weitzman Gabby Ballet Flats: Best high-end comfortable flats
One of the best parts about Stuart Weitzman’s flats is that they’re so beautiful you’ll forget almost entirely about the price. We all need an excuse to treat ourselves every so often, so, for a worthwhile purchase that’ll support you long after you’ve stopped thinking about the price, opt for a premium quality pair of flats. Stuart Weitzman’s Gabby bow-embellished suede-trimmed leather ballet flats breezily feature everything from stylish design to incredible comfort and a brand name that you’ll love to bring up in conversation.
Velvety suede is soft enough that you’ll want to pull these on just to wander around the house and the classic ballet style is one you’ll reach for no matter what’s on the cards. Stuart Weitzman is one of our go-to brands for combining comfort with luxe style and the slip on design of these flats makes them just as effortless as they are comfortable. Not all flats are created equal but these ones win our seal of approval with an adorable bow and sleek style.
Best for: A classic and timeless outfit that never grows old
Hush Puppies Chaste Ballet: Best value comfortable flats
Hush Puppies are one of those brands that scream comfort. Or rather, instead of screaming comfort, they’ll gently envelope both of your feet with comfort, one by one, taking the stress out of a long day and throwing in a quick foot massage for good measure. What we’re saying is, if you consider comfort to be the prime reason for your purchase, Hush Puppies are the way to go.
Hush Puppies’ Chaste Ballet is a great allrounder that comes in at an equally comfortable price point. Plenty of colour variations also means that, once you’ve been converted, you can stock up on complementary colours too. Sometimes the classics are classics for a reason and you’ll never doubt your decision buying a pair of these.
Best for: Ensuring top notch comfort levels without breaking the bank
Colours: Black, nude, leopard
ATP Atelier Oria Slides: Most comfortable designer flats
The saying goes “you can’t put a price on happiness” but we would beg to differ with ATP Atelier’s slides. If we had to guess, we’d put a price on happiness (in the form of) comfortable flats at around $330. Which, coincidentally, happens to be the exact same price as the Oria slides. By no means the cheapest on our comfortable flats guide but promising the most street cred, these leather slides combine holiday chill, weekend shopping trip, Saturday morning brunch and everything in between.
There aren’t many flats that seem to slip in so easily with the rest of your wardrobe, no matter whether it’s a day for a summer dress, faded jeans or simply a bikini. ATP Atelier’s Oria slides will sit proudly at the front of your wardrobe, one thrown over the other, confidently waiting for the next occasion when you bring them back out. Which, spoiler, will likely be in a matter of days.
Best for: The woman who knows her brand names inside out
Vince Paz Suede Loafers: Most comfortable flats for working professionals
A pair of black loafers worn alongside crisply ironed pants is a true sign of officially Having Everything In Life Together. Few other outfits suggest organisation of the same level. And the right pair of black loafers, along with embodying your uber cool and aloof colleague, will walk you from a morning meeting to afterwork drinks effortlessly. So, with this in mind, if you needed any further persuasion to swap out your office heels for a pair of comfortable flats: here’s a pair that’ll seamlessly make the transition. Warning: you might even find yourself skipping to work.
Vince’s Paz suede loafers are chic and polished enough to throw on in the morning on days when you really can’t face high heels, but are also versatile enough that you’ll even reconsider swapping out your go-to flats for them. Think of it as the adult equivalent of wanting to wear your shiny new school shoes even when it’s not a weekday. With a square-toe silhouette and a promise of comfort, these comfortable loafers will easily become your new staple work shoe. Long day ahead? Pair your work-appropriate-but-still-incredibly-comfy outfit and the Paz suede loafers to make it just a little bit easier.
Best for: Suddenly positioning you as the super fashionable colleague
Oliver Cabell Monti: Most comfortable flats for walking all day
Nothing sends a beautiful pair of shoes to the Wardrobe Graveyard faster than ending the day with blisters, red toes and more pain than you’d ever feasibly anticipate from a shoe. No matter how intricately detailed, painstakingly crafted or fabulously coloured, only the most reliable shoes will earn their place as a regular after a long day of walking. It might seem easier just to throw on a pair of trainers if you know you’ll be on your feet all day but, if you’d rather stay comfortable and chic, there are still flats that’ll fulfil both sides of the deal.
A pair that’s definitely earned our respect recently come in the form of Oliver Cabell’s Monti. A plain-sailing year round staple, there’s no need to wear these flats in gently. Simply slip them on, wait for the leather to effortlessly mold to the shape of your foot, and go about your day.
Best for: A versatile day out when you don’t know exactly what’s in store
Colours: Black, sand, caramel
Kenneth Cole Reaction Slip On: Most comfortable black flats
Modest, straightforward and versatile, this is the shoe you’ll run to —or, on occasion, hobble to, when the heels you ambitiously opted for earlier in the day start to cause you more hassle than they’re worth. Wear them to death with another pair stashed safely at the back of your wardrobe or keep tucked away in your bag for an evening out.
Kenneth Cole’s Reaction Slip On is the trusty friend who stays for one more drink when they’re ready to go home or the cosy bed you’ll fall into after a long day on your feet. These simple walking flats will always be there for you on any occasion.
Best for: A failsafe option that’ll blend effortlessly with the rest of your wardrobe
Colours: Black, cognac
Jimmy Choo Thandi Croc-Effect Leather Slingback Point-Toe Flats: Most comfortable dressy flats
We’ll say it one more time for the people in the back: you don’t need to wear high heels to feel or look dressy. In fact, the confidence (and, likely, expression) you wear when you’re comfortable far exceeds any added style points gained from wearing heels. So take this as a chance to add a new favourite pair of flats to your wardrobe that you can bring out for fancy occasions and we promise you’ll never look back. Enter: Jimmy Choo’s Thandi croc-effect leather slingback point-toe flats.
Sleek, slender and seriously chic, croc-effect leather elevates any outfit without the need for height and a slingback style adds an extra touch of glam. An almost essential addition to any well-curated wardrobe, you’ll never feel underdressed with a secret weapon in the form of comfortable — yet uber stylish — flats. If anything, you’ll likely be on the hunt for more social occasions.
Best for: Bringing an outfit together when you’ve got no clue what to wear
Cole Haan Tali Bow Ballet: Most comfortable ballet flats
Ballet flats never go out of fashion — so you can’t go wrong by keeping a pair of ballerinas tucked away in the closet. The difference in modern day shopping is that there’s less pinching of the feet and curling up your toes to avoid pain, and more looking for opportunities to pull out the ballet flats with their new-found comfort level. If you were never allowed to wear a pair to school, now’s the time to shine.
Either you kept the ballet flat trend going over the years or you’re ready to bring it back into your life again now. Either way, Cole Haan’s Tali Bow Ballet with their classic leather bow are a sure winner when it comes to perking up your outfit. They’re a great pair to act as a throwback to simpler times while enveloping your feet in a gentle hug.
Best for: Adding a feminine touch to your wardrobe
Colours: Black, cream
Naturalizer Samantha: Best breathable flats
A standard summer’s day is filled with the clinking of glasses, the rolling up of sleeves and the occasional comment of “wow, it’s quite warm today, isn’t it?” Plan accordingly and this latter comment will be the extent of your summer woes, without having to worry about exceeding the point of being just too warm or approaching levels of being most definitely Quite Hot. So it’s important that, alongside a floaty dress, lashings of suncream and a fruity cocktail, you remember to pull on your most breathable flats.
Of course, there’s always the option to surreptitiously slip them off under the table, but a better way to beat the heat is to just pick a pair of flats that’ll keep you cool. Naturalizer’s Samantha flats combine sophisticated style with comfort and support. Wear them to picnics or summer BBQs when you need to look cool and feel cool.
Best for: Hot summer days when you want to wear the bare minimum
Colours: Black, yellow, taupe
Malone Souliers Colette: Most comfortable pointed toe flats
It’s a common misconception that pointed toe shoes are uncomfortable. Make sure you’re buying a premium quality pair in the right size and you’ll be able to effortlessly stroll from A to B without pinching your toes or regretting any comfort-based decisions. With that in mind, as any pointed-toe lover will know, it’s almost crucial to ensure that the pair you’re investing in are worth their money when it comes to looking good and feeling good.
Malone Souliers’ Colette flats do just that. You might even go as far as to say that this is the top choice in the world of comfortable flats, thanks to their sleek style and almost unbeatable level of comfort. The Venn diagram crossover between the two might be fairly small, but it exists in the form of this patent-trimmed shoe. Got a wedding or fancy evening occasion on the horizon? Take a closer look at these.
Best for: A smart transitional shoe to whip out at any moment
Skechers Women’s Cleo Bewitch Ballet Flats: Most comfortable flats with arch support
Stretchy, soft and filled with memory foam soles: Skechers Women’s Cleo Bewitch Ballet Flats could easily be made of the same material you’re used to cosying up in bed with. As trusty as an old pair of shoes, these flats are incredibly gentle, allowing you to slip your feet inside and feel like they were handcrafted for your feet alone. There’s no need to wear these ones in, either: Skechers’ flats mold to your feet so even that risky first adventure wearing a new pair of shoes never materialises.
The lightweight nature allows your foot to effortlessly tackle any journey while the memory foam is the cherry on top of the cake for those with flat feet or arch problems. Plenty of support means you’ll buy these flats as a good rotation pair in your wardrobe before quickly reaching for them again and again.
Best for: An instant burst of comfort
Colours: Black, red, rose
Clarks Gracelin Lola: Most comfortable flats for wide feet
As well as being amazingly comfortable — you’ll be able to walk for hours and feel almost like you’re barefoot – Clarks Gracelin Lola flats also come in three sizing variations. Standard, narrow and wide are all easy options when purchasing these flats. And the beauty of the Gracelin Lola is its ability to make wide feet look slimmer.
Stylish, comfortable and flattering, Clarks are renowned for their good quality and this pair will keep you covered for casual or dressy occasions thanks to an easy design. Supportive yet beautiful, the detail on the front adds enough to justify wearing a plain outfit without stealing the attention away. Almost deceptively simple, they hit the mark for a comfortable flat that’s suitable for wide feet.
Best for: Magically slimming feet while looking sleek
Colours: Black, pewter, blush
Amazon Essentials Women’s Thong Sandal: Best budget flats
Wear them to the beach without fears of them being washed away, bring them on nights out for walking home from the bar or squeeze them into your bag for those occasions when heels just aren’t cutting it. There’s something very smart about having a favourite pair of budget flats that are suitable for every occasion. And let’s not even get started on how thankful you’ll be to Past You for remembering to bring such shoes along each time.
But while Amazon Essentials Women’s Thong Sandal might be a budget price, it’s a flat shoe that looks far beyond its price point. Simple and versatile, this is a shoe that won’t look out of place with a maxi dress, a pair of summer shorts or even light wash jeans. Simplistic style adds comfort to your outfit without being overbearing and a padded sole acts as your new best friend as the hours pass by.
Best for: An effortless throw-in-your-bag staple
Colours: Black, gold, turquoise
Gucci Sonique crystal-embellished sandals: Most expensive flats
The word “extra” gets thrown around a lot but there aren’t many shoes more deserving of such a title than ones that come adorned in sparkles and edgy black leather. ’90s inspired and covered in enough crystals to perk up any day of the week, it’s impossible to feel anything but gloriously happy wearing Gucci sandals. And if ever there were a pair of shoes that’ll step up to the table when you need an extra buzz to add to your outfit, it would be these.
Few things exude luxury quite like crystal-embellished flats and, when paired with the wide strap design and cool black leather, the Gucci Sonique crystal-embellished sandals stand their ground with pride. You’ll want to wear them as a final touch for festival glam, throw them on with an all-black outfit for a dazzling finish and, when you’ve run out of excuses, wear them again anyway.
Best for: A treat for your feet in every way
Buyers guide to comfortable flats
Well made, comfortable and beautiful are our three pillars when it comes to selecting the best flat shoes for this guide. Endless options in more shops than you could ever visit means it’s easy to find the perfect pair for you but here’s everything to take into consideration before clicking “checkout”.
Memory foam, cushioned footbeds and supportive insoles are the buzzwords to look out for when choosing your new favourite flats. Opt for pairs that detail the millimetres of support under your feet and stay away from flats that don’t mention any kind of support. If in doubt, read the reviews.
High quality materials like leather or suede will mold to the shape of your foot and provide more comfort long term. These options might come at a higher price point but will likely last for years to come. When selecting your next pair of flat shoes, choose natural materials or those that provide flexibility for optimum comfort levels.
It’s still possible to elongate legs without a heel. Flats with a pointed toe add a tapered edge to your silhouette and can often be the best choice for workwear or formal occasions. Round or almond toe flats might be just that tiny bit more comfortable but you can overstep any issues of pinched toes by ensuring you’re buying the correct size.
There are plenty of different styles of flats around including ballet flats, loafers, ankle ties, mules, sandals and Oxfords. Some of the most versatile are ballet flats and mules, offering plenty of outfit choices to help you merge from daytime to nighttime without changing shoes.
Ballet flats are great for adding a feminine touch to any outfit, while loafers are the perfect addition to your work wardrobe. Ankle ties can add a playful hint to a summer’s day while Oxfords will smarten up even the most casual of choices.
Frequently asked questions about buying comfortable flats
The best comfortable flats for work are the Vince Paz suede loafers. Chic and polished, their square-toe silhouette is the perfect addition to any working wardrobe and adds an extra layer of function and fashion to your 9-5.
Our favourite flat shoes for those days when you’ll be on your feet a lot are Oliver Cabell’s Monti. An effortless year-round staple, these flats will take you from the morning meeting through to the afternoon shopping trip and evening drinks without the merest hint of a blister.
Some of the most comfortable women’s flat shoes include Oliver Cabell’s Dream Flat, Hush Puppies’ Chaste Ballet, ATP Atelier’s Oria Slides and Vince’s Paz Suede Loafers. With cushioning soles, plenty of support, stylish designs and lots of positive reviews, these are some of our favourite flats for 2020.