I Live in NYC and Walk at Least 5 Miles a Day—These Sandals Make That Possible

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(Image credit: @elizagracehuber)

Despite having grown up in Chicago, I love warm weather. Summer is, without a doubt, my favorite season. And while lounging in the sun, eating outside, and not having to layer are all viable reasons for my loving it so much, two things make summer the all-time greatest: walking everywhere and wearing sandals.

Of course, walking up to 20,000 steps a day can't be done in just any shoes. For that, you need a pair with cushioning, soft straps that won't pinch, and heels made with support in mind. (Yes, I walk in heels.) After a fair share of trial and error, I've discovered a handful of brands that successfully do all three—and then some.

Keep scrolling to shop fashion's most comfortable sandals. Bonus: They don't look too shabby.

1. Birkenstock

I couldn't write a story about comfortable sandals without putting Birkenstock at number one. Crafted with comfort top of mind, Birkenstocks make it possible to live in a world without pain—well, foot pain, at least. 

Shop Birkenstock

2. ATP Atelier

I've yet to slide on a pair of ATP Atelier sandals and discover something I didn't like. Every pair is made of the softest leather and often features padding for added comfort. But it's not just about how the brand's footwear feels. It also looks incredible and elevated. What more could you ask for?

Shop ATP Atelier

3. Dear Frances

I understand that some people would rather stay home than walk 10,000 steps in heeled sandals, but I'm convinced that those with that mindset simply haven't found heels that can withstand the miles. If that sounds like you, testing out a pair from Dear Frances will change your mind. 

Shop Dear Frances

4. Castañer

There's a reason Kate Middleton adores Castañer wedges so much. They're wildly comfortable, and when styled with anything from a sundress to denim cutoffs, they'll make you look like you walked straight off a boat in the Mediterranean. 

Shop Castañer

5. Porte & Paire

Mid-range prices, trend-forward designs, and quality-driven comfort combine in Porte & Paire. Essentially, the brand checks every box. But if you don't believe me, why not try a pair yourself? 

Shop Porte & Paire

6. Gia Borghini

Barbara Borghini's Florence-based shoe brand might be a favorite among celebrities and influencers for its array of sculptural footwear, but Gia Borghini isn't just beloved for aesthetic reasons. Thanks to super-soft materials and added padding, many of the Italian brand's styles are perfect for walking long distances in style. 

Shop Gia Borghini

7. Teva

Who What Wear editor Yusra Siddiqui has refused to walk in anything else since she got a pair of Tevas. 

Shop Teva

8. Ancient Greek Sandals

Another Who What Wear co-worker, Anna LaPlaca, suggested a different brand: Ancient Greek Sandals. According to her, Christina Martini and Nikolas Minoglou's footwear brand makes some of the best walking sandals in the game thanks to its beloved comfort soles, which she says are "a dream." 

Shop Ancient Greek Sandals

9. Vince

Vince might specialize in silk slip skirts and cashmere sweaters, but that doesn't mean you should sleep on its footwear. Made from high-quality, extremely soft leather, Vince's shoes are a frequent walker's dream, and they only get better with age. 

Shop Vince

10. Tkees

Disclaimer: I refuse to wear flat flip-flops in New York City for obvious reasons. But the second I land a safe distance away from the city, my Tkees become my feet's best friend. Cushy and soft, they're perfect for beach days spent walking along the water or hopping from seaside restaurant to seaside restaurant. 

Shop Tkees

11. Nomasei

Italian footwear brand Nomasei doesn't just make your feet feel good. It makes you feel good too. With sustainability at the forefront of every step in the supply chain, you can go to bed after a long day of walking with the knowledge that the shoes that accompanied you didn't leave a mark. 

Shop Nomasei

12. Staud

This L.A. brand really does it all, from bags to ready-to-wear to shoes—all three of which are consistently met with happy customers. What makes the brand's shoes particularly great, though, is how sneakily comfortable they are. You see, from the looks of them, you'd never know how easy they are to walk in. But once you slip them on, well, prepare to be pleasantly surprised.

Shop Staud

13. Wandler

You don't even want to know how many miles I've walked in Wandler's heels. If I had to guess, it'd be in the hundreds—and that's on New York City concrete. This is what I've learned: No matter how high its heels are or how architectural the styles appear, they never hurt. It's practically a miracle. 

Shop Wandler

14. Open Edit

I didn't expect Nordstrom's in-house and well-priced brand Open Edit to make shoes that could keep up with me on a long day of press appointments, sample pickups, and evening events. Yet I've test-driven multiple pairs without a single issue. 

Shop Open Edit

15. Elleme

Sometimes, you slip on a pair of shoes expecting them to completely destroy your feet within five minutes and find they surprise you. That's pretty much the case every time I wear sandals from Elleme. 

Shop Elleme

This post was published at an earlier date and has been updated.

Editor

Eliza Huber is a New York City–based fashion editor who specializes in trend reporting, brand discovery, and celebrity style. She joined Who What Wear in 2021 after almost four years on the fashion editorial team at Refinery29, the job she took after graduating with a marketing degree from the University of Iowa. She has since launched two monthly columns, Let's Get a Room and Ways to Wear; profiled the likes of Dakota Fanning, Diane Kruger, Katie Holmes, and Sabrina Carpenter for WWW's monthly cover features; and reported on everything from the relationship between Formula One and fashion to the top trends from fashion month, season after season. Eliza now lives on the Upper West Side and spends her free time researching F1 fashion imagery for her side Instagram accounts @thepinnacleoffashion and @f1paddockfits, running in Central Park, and scouring eBay for '90s Prada and '80s Yves Saint Laurent.