I Put 5 Heeled Sandals to the 10,000-Steps Test—I'd Do It Again in These
My closet is full—so full, in fact, that it doesn't even close half the time. In addition to everything in it, there are about 15 shoe boxes stacked underneath an overflowing clothing rack and numerous excess boot boxes currently being used as a bedside table. Yet out of all that, only about a handful of the shoes in my collection are actually comfortable, which doesn't bode well for someone who lives in New York City, where walking is the primary form of transportation.
With the weather warming up again, I'll be walking more than ever, so I decided that it's finally time to invest in some footwear that won't leave my feet beat up and blistered for yet another summer. Sand might be a natural pedicure, but even the whitest of beaches can't fix my toes after a summer of days spent stomping on concrete in four-inch heeled flip-flops. In order to find out which shoes—specifically heeled sandals—successfully combine style with comfort, I took a few buzzy pairs out for a true NYC test: 10,000 steps.
See which heeled sandals I'd dare to wear again after running around the city in them.
The hype around these $60 Nordstrom sandals is high—like way high. Not only are they one of our top-selling products this year, but they're also in nearly all of our editors' closets. So of course, I had to see if they were really as good as everyone seems to think they are, and my test for a good pair of shoes is whether or not I can wear them all day (and night) in NYC without having to take a cab or the subway to get everywhere that I need to go.
First things first, the strap on top is padded, so it genuinely feels like a pillow for your feet. I'm used to skinny straps that mark up my toes or thick leather straps that make your feet feel vacuum-sealed in. These absolutely did not do either. In fact, after I picked them up from Nordstrom on 57th Street and Broadway, I walked all the way to SoHo in them. That's roughly three miles. If that's not proof enough that they're worth investing $60 in, what is?
I've had these Wandler heels for almost a year now, but the extent of their wear thus far has come from events that I took a car to or dinners that were within a 10-block radius from my apartment. Before this story, I'd never put them up to my 10,000-step test.
I had to shoot the above dress for another story, so I figured I'd wear these sandals and see how they held up. They're fairly high, and peep-toe shoes are notoriously uncomfortable. But to my surprise, I survived to tell you all about it with not a single blister in sight. My only slight is that the sole is very thin, so walking on concrete in them for a long period did leave the balls of my feet somewhat sore the next day.
I had multiple co-workers send me these shoes, talking about how cute they were, so naturally, I had to see if they are as comfortable as they are pleasing to the eye. Me being me, I wore them for a full day of walking from preview to preview in the rain, which, although not entirely smart, made for a good test of their comfort level. I'll admit the teeny-tiny straps do make them slightly unstable, especially when it's pouring outside. But overall, I was impressed by how these held up. They have a super-skinny heel, and still, they didn't hurt me in the normal way that stiletto heels most often do. And on a dry day, I have no doubt that they'd be a great option for a day of events that call for an elevated shoe choice.
I've wanted a pair of Maryam Nassir Zadeh's cult-favorite Olympia wedges since college, and no, I'm not exaggerating. The only issue is that they sell out faster than Aimé Leon Dore New Balances and were always fairly out of my price range. This year, though, I finally decided to splurge on a pair and was downright shocked at how comfortable they are. I always figured that PVC shoes were miserable to walk in—something about the edges of the plastic just seemed akin to footwear torture—but I couldn't have been more wrong. I've walked far more than 10,000 steps in these and can say with 100% certainty that I've never owned more comfortable heeled sandals. I'm convinced it's the wedge heel, which is why I'm investing in many more wedge styles this season.
A co-worker of mine told me a bit ago about Paige's heels and how, thanks to their signature cushioned insoles, they are surprisingly comfortable for long-term wear. And just like most of the sartorial advice given to me by my fellow editors, she wasn't wrong. These mules have a nearly four-inch heel, making them far taller than the sandals I most often frequent. Yet they were a breeze to walk in and climb stairs in, which I had to do a lot of at all the Midtown E stations I visited during a long day of press previews.
More comfy sandals that were made for walking:
These have been making the rounds in our editor Slack channel, and according to all those who went ahead and purchased them, they're surprisingly comfortable.
The thick heel and soft-leather strap combine to create seriously walkable shoes.
This sculptural heel shape not only allows you to easily walk over subway grates, but you can also go miles without pain.
I can tell just by looking at these that I could walk in them for hours and look good while doing it.
For a more cost-effective pair of wedges, try these from Jeffrey Campbell. I just recently tried them on at Nordstrom and gave them a 10/10 on the comfort meter.
This leather looks like it feels buttery soft, which always bodes well for your feet.
A wedge heel and padded straps make for a winning combination.
Everyone I know who's tried Porte & Paire shoes raves about them.
Though these are pretty tall, the thick heel makes them far more walking friendly than other sandals of the same height.
These have a flexible foam insole that was designed to radically increase comfort.
If you're ready to splurge on some wedges this season, these are the ones to invest in, and not just for their looks. They feature a gripped sole for added stability as well as a soft leather strap that's made to stretch and mold to your foot.
PVC straps might look uncomfortable, but I know from experience that they're anything but.
The thicker the straps, the better when it comes to comfort.
Again, a thicker sole is always going to make for comfier shoes.
Gianvito Rossi is known for creating footwear with the highest caliber of materials and practices, which means they're also going to be much easier on your feet.
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