I Hate Flats, But Here Are 5 Comfortable Shoe Styles I Actually Wear

As an L.A. transplant who has only been living in New York for roughly two years, I can tell you that one of the first things I learned about dressing for city life upon moving here was that the name of the game is comfort. Sounds simple enough, until I tell you that I hate flats—the footwear choice of commuters everywhere. 

I don’t know why, but just I’ve never been particularly into them. Sure, I might wear a Mary-Jane here and there if I feel like making a trend-driven exception, but in general, I neither find flats to be comfortable nor aesthetically appealing. Plus, at 5’2” I’m also always game for a little extra height, so I’ve come up with a worthy list of alternatives to wear instead. To see, read about, and, of course, shop the five comfortable shoe styles I wear instead of flats, just keep scrolling.

1. Mules

Remember when mules were just a trend? Now, I wonder what I’d do without them. From closed-toe styles to sandals, there’s a mule for everyone—and every outfit. Plus, there are so many comfortable options.

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Shop mules:

2. Boots

All I can say about ankle boots is that I really, really love them. So much so, that I own more pairs than I’m willing to admit and have a variety of styles for every season—even summer. Since I’m on the more petite side, I always opt for pairs that have even a one-or two-inch heel for a little extra height that’s still comfortable and easy to walk all day in.

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3. Kitten Heels

Kitten heels are that perfect shoe between a flat and a heel. They're comfortable, they pair well with both long and short hemlines, and allow you to look put-together without feeling like you’re over- or underdressed.

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Related: 6 Summer Shoes You Actually Need in Your Wardrobe

4. Sneakers

Gym days aside, I always prefer sneakers to flats. Firstly, they’re much better for your feet and even feel more comfortable. Next, the sneakers I wear tend have a little height, which always helps, and lastly, they just feel like they’re giving your outfit a cool-factor rather than simply blending in. 

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5. Block-Heel Sandals

The second summer hits, I live in block-heel sandals. They allow me to feel taller without feeling like I’m wearing heels, and are available in so many colours, styles and heel heights. Because of the way pressure gets distributed over a wide surface on the bottom, they are comfortable. 

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Since starting as an intern back in 2013, Nicole Akhtarzad Eshaghpour has held several roles here at Who What Wear, and she is currently Editor-at-Large. It was a less expected route, seeing as she was graduating from business school at USC when this all began, but it has turned out to be the best one for her. Fast-forward to 2024, and she's moved to NYC from her hometown of Beverly Hills and spends her workdays a little differently from when she was an intern starting out. Currently, she focuses on a weekly mélange of shopping content. As far as her personal style goes, she's largely drawn to classic pieces and neutral basics but will always make an exception for something colorful, printed, or bejeweled as long as it's deemed worthy enough. After all, the only thing she loves more than a good party is dressing up for one. On weekdays, she can usually be found at home eating something delicious for dinner and trying to force her husband to watch Summer House.