Even though they get don't always get as much airtime as the boots, sneakers, and heels we own, we can always rely on the comfort and simplicity a pair of flats provide. They're essentially the bread and butter of any woman's shoe rack. This is especially true if you're a city girl or someone who's constantly on the go—you probably take for granted how comfortable and effortless the shoes are, right?
Well, not always. You see, just like the buzzy sneaker styles and heels infiltrating all the retailers now, not all 2019 flat trends are made equal—at least not as far as a podiatrist is concerned. We fashion girls may be able to dream up an outfit at the first sight of a trendy pair of shoes, but a doctor preoccupied with the health of your feet has different ideas.
Enter podiatrist and Gotham Footcare founder Miguel Cunha. He weighed in on the biggest flat trends of the moment, sharing which he'd be overjoyed to see you wear—and which he advises avoiding like the plague. From classics like loafers that you can't go wrong with to more surprising offenders like ballet flats (he's got mixed feelings), the doctor shared his unfiltered thoughts on the matter. Keep reading to discover and shop the best flat shoes for feet (and consequently, the worst).
ON THE FENCE ABOUT: BALLET FLATS
Why: "Flimsy shoes like ballet flats rarely offer good arch support, shifting the center of your body mass backward, which can make painful arches hurt more. Ballet flats also lack proper shock absorption, which can lead to greater stress on not only your feet but also your knees and back. Avoid shoes that can be easily bent in the mid-arch. This shoe I rank a three because it has more support surrounding the sides of your feet when compared to a slingback."
Shop ballet flats:
LOATHES: SLIDES THAT ARE COMPLETELY FLAT
Why: "I recommend avoiding slide shoes that are completely flat, as they will contribute to pronation and collapse of the arch, which may contribute to plantar and posterior heel pain, shin splints, knee pain, and back pain. The slide shoes are the worst shoe of this list because it has no heel support, and the toe box is very narrow, which will aggravate your feet. I recommend looking for slide shoes that have a wedge that is 3/4 of an inch rather than one that is completely flat as it places less tension on the Achilles tendon and will feel more comfortable."
Shop slides with a one-inch heel:
Why: "I'm ranking this shoe slightly better than a ballet flat because it has support on the top of the foot."
Why: "Babouches are structurally built like a loafer with the option of being able to fold down its heel. When worn with the heel folded down, it is considered a slide shoe, which I do not recommend as much as with the heel up for the same concerns I mentioned in about flat slides. I'm ranking this shoe slightly less than its loafer counterpart only because the loafer has heel support at all times, which, by virtue of this, makes the loafer a more supportive shoe."
Shop babouches and convertible flats:
LOATHES: SLINGBACK FLATS
Why: "This shoe is an upgrade from a slide shoe only because it has a slingback that adds some support to the ankle. Shoes with ankle straps help support the shoe on the foot and eliminate the need for your toes to hang onto the shoe, thus reducing the development of hammertoes. Otherwise, it is not a great shoe option."
Why: "Loafers provide a great fashion alternative to heels and look just as dressy with work. These shoes have far more shock absorption, they don’t bend easily, and they have more support surrounding the sides and top of the foot which in turn will result in less foot pain such as arch pain and heel pain."
Anna is an editor on the fashion team at Who What Wear and has been at the company for over five years, having begun her career in the Los Angeles office before relocating to New York, where she's currently based. Having always been passionate about pursuing a career in fashion, she built up her experience interning at the likes of Michael Kors, A.L.C., and College Fashionista before joining the team as a post-graduate assistant editor. Anna has penned a number of interviews with Who What Wear's cover stars over the years, including A-listers Megan Fox, Issa Rae, and Emma Chamberlain. She's earned a reputation for scouting new and emerging brands from across the globe and championing them to our audience of millions. While fashion is her main wheelhouse, Anna led the launch of WWW Travels last year, a new lifestyle vertical that highlights all things travel through a fashion-person lens. She is passionate about shopping vintage, whether it be at a favorite local outpost or an on-the-road discovery, and has amassed a wardrobe full of unique finds. When she's not writing, you can find her shooting street imagery on her film camera, attempting to learn a fourth or fifth language, or planning her next trip across the globe.
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