A Call for Comfortable Footwear

I’m in need of new shoes for work and was wondering if anyone had any suggestions for semi-dressy shoes for work. I’m looking for something along the lines of this, but the first requirement is that they are comfortable.

Since this is a blog post and I like talking about my history, I will now delve into my journey with footwear.

When I was a wee child I wore basically whatever shoes my parents got me. Then during high school I wore running shoes most of the time and whatever dress shoes I happened to find for school. Then about halfway through college, I ditched the running shoes and became a loyal fan of Doc Martens. They looked kinda dressy and were really comfortable. And they fit in well with my all black look at the time. They also looked halfway decent with jean shorts and white socks in an early 90’s kind of way.

Enlightened by shoes that did not cripple me on long walks, someone clued me into Birkenstocks. They also were extremely comfortable and looked better with shorts. But after a while I found their upkeep to be a bit of a pain. You were supposed to apply the cork sealer every once in a while and they tend to be slick on wet surfaces. Not to mention that they cost a pretty penny.

Then a few years ago a couple things happened. Doc Martens sent their manufacturing to SE Asia and they were not as comfortable as before. I also started questioning whether my loyalty to both brands overshadowed that they were overpriced and that there were more reasonably priced brands of equal quality. On the sandal front, I bought a pair of Bass sandals but they don’t fit well so I may search around more or make due with them. On the dress shoe front, I’ve been literally wearing down the shoes that I still have from over the years. Shoes that are still perfectly wearable, but not necessarily ones that I like the look or feel of. (BTW, they’re all hand-me-downs.) I figure I’d save a few bucks and get use out of them.

So now all those shoes are almost worn through, so it’s time to try something different. I’m looking for something that’s basically dress casual. I wear jeans to work almost half the time and until now only rarely see clients who would care if I wear patent leather shoes. In the event that kind of occasion arises, I have a pair waiting under my desk. So if you have any recommendations, I’d be very happy to hear them. Thanks.

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~ by Frank on April 11, 2008.

9 Responses to “A Call for Comfortable Footwear”

  1. Clarks are pretty comfortable and dressy.

    I myself wear Teva sandals in the summer, outdoor sneakers in the fall/spring, hiking boots when therte is snow slush and steel toed shoes when I work. And yellow Crocs when I work in environments without nails and/or heavy objects.

    I do have about 25 pairs of shoes but some of them I never wear becase they cause blisters or are too fancy….

  2. I don’t believe in brands, really. It’s like skin-care: what works for one person doesn’t work for another – it is totally trial and error. And bunions.

    I hate to sound deplorably obtuse, but, why not just go to your local shoe store, and dedicate an entire afternoon to trying on various footwear? It takes patience, but if the shoe fits…

  3. I keep buying ECCO brand, they are made in Denmark and feature indestructible soles and heels and are very comfortable, also mid price range

  4. You might want to check out Keen shoes. Ed has a pair he loves and my hip older sister swears by them.
    http://www.keenfootwear.com

  5. Thanks everyone for the suggestions. I’ll give them all a look. Though I’ve been leaning towards Keens as long as they fit well.

    un.slaked: I agree that we won’t all get the same response out of the same pair or brand of shoes. But there are brands that are generally better than others. (Like the reliability of Honda vs. Dodge). I also don’t know much about the reputation of different footwear brands, so I thought it would be good to gets some input from my peeps.

  6. Don’t have a clue where New Balance are made, but they make leather crosstraining/walking shoes in black, white or brown that look good enough for work. Might have to order from their website as most stores don’t carry all models and colors.

  7. That’s an interesting look. It’s like a running shoe, but in leather. I ended up getting Austin’s by Keens. They look a little funky, but they are very comfortable so far. They have a wide toebox and the sole continues up over the top of the toe. So they look a little clownish compared to other shoes.

    BTW, according to their website, New Balance shoes are made in the US.

  8. good choice frank….i have the same pair. My only complaint is that the insoles squeak on me sometimes. Try their sandles, I highly recommend them. I would also put in a good word for Chaco sandles. cw

  9. Thanks, chuck. After a couple months, I still really like them. I’d only say that the arch support isn’t quite right for my feet. I think my feet are flatter, though regardless they are extremely comfortable.

    Sorry for being out of touch. I really should reconnect with everyone.

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