most comfortable heels: Clarks Ambyr Joy Black Patent Heel

12 Editor-Tested Heels That Are Actually Comfortable

We got blisters so you don’t have to.
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    A New Day Ramona Strappy Block Heeled Sandals
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  • Best for Work
    Soludos Suede Collette Heel
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    Thursday Boot Co. Heartbreaker
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    Franco Sarto Mable Sandal
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A comfortable heel is somewhat of an oxymoron. No heel is going to support your foot quite like a cushioned sneaker can, but ask anyone who wears heels, and they'll wax poetic about the one pair that actually feels pretty OK to walk, stand, and even dance in. 

The key to finding comfortable high heels is looking beyond aesthetics to certain structural characteristics. For instance, while stilettos and pumps have a visual appeal, you're more likely to find comfort in shoes with a lower, wider heel. Anyone who's ever worn heels knows this from experience, but it's also backed up by Dr. Hillary Brenner, DPM, PC, who we tapped for insights on how to pick out heels that won't leave your feet blistered and sore.

What to Look for When Shopping for Heels

The most comfortable heels will likely have a heel height that's lower than 3 inches, good arch support, and supportive cushioning, according to Dr. Brenner. "You want to buy a shoe with a heel that is wide and chunky, as opposed to a stiletto, which is narrow and can throw off the gait cycle," she adds. And if you must wear shoes with heels higher than 3 inches tall, she suggests only wearing them for two to three hours of standing time.

Buying the right size shoe is also important, so consider properly measuring your feet before making a purchase. It's helpful to take into account how bony your feet are, too, as some strappy shoes can irritate bunions and hammertoes, Dr. Brenner explains.

How to Break in a New Pair of Heels

Even shoes with low, wide heels and supportive insoles may require some breaking in before they're truly comfortable. In this case, Dr. Brenner recommends wearing your shoes around the house. Start with one hour the first day, two hours the second day, and three hours the third day. "After the third day, you can wear them out, but make sure you will not be doing much activity and walking on the first few days you wear them," she says. She also suggests having a first aid foot kit handy just in case.

How to Make Uncomfortable Heels More Comfortable

If you must wear uncomfortable heels, there are a few tricks to make them a bit easier to walk in. Dr. Brenner suggests adding extra cushioning to the sole of a shoe for more support. "I like Foot Petals, as they make tons of products specifically for high heels," she says. 

We asked 12 shopping writers to put their favorite heels to the test to look for signs of pinching, rubbing, slipping, and other fit issues that cause blisters and foot pain. Unsurprisingly, most are low block heels, but you'll also find a few wedges and traditional heels in the mix. Keep scrolling to find out what it's like to walk, dance, and drive a mile in their shoes, and shop their top picks.

Editors' Picks

Most Versatile: A New Day Ramona Strappy Block Heeled Sandals

To buy: $35; target.com

Perfect for: A night on the town

How we tested: Out to dinner, drinks, and dancing over the course of two months

What you'll love: Easy to dress up or down

You should know: It might take a few wears to break them in

I spotted these strappy sandals on a friend and had to have them. The first time I wore them, I ended up walking more than planned and got a few blisters where the straps rubbed against my toes. After a few more wears they became more comfortable, and now they're my go-to heels for dinner and drinks. The low heel and toe strap are a subtle nod to the early 2000s, and they have just the right amount of trendy details to make you feel in style without worrying if the look will expire by next season. — Christie Calucchia, Lifestyle Ecommerce Lead

Credit: target.com
shoes
Best for Work: Soludos Suede Collette Heel

To buy: $149; soludos.com

Perfect for: Going to the office

How we tested: Six weeks of running errands (walking and driving)

What you'll love: They're available in two heel heights

You should know: Your feet might get sweaty

I already owned (and loved) a pair of the brand's wedge espadrilles, so when I needed a pair of casual heels for my eventual return to the office, I decided to try these. While suede is actually a pretty breathable fabric, my feet get a little sweaty when I wear them on warm days, so I apply an invisible spray foot powder before I slip them on. The padded ankle strap keeps my feet from rubbing against the back of the shoe, and the metal buckle is covered in fabric, so the hardware doesn't cut into my ankle. These are the perfect heels for anyone who needs a little extra stability without sacrificing style. — Bronwyn Barnes, Product Reviews Editor

Credit: soludos.com
Best Strappy: Calvin Klein Becca Slip-On Strappy Dress Sandals

To buy: $69 (was $99); macys.com

Perfect for: Summer outings

How we tested: Two months of several activities, including hours of shopping, driving, and walking

What you'll love: The low heel still looks stylish

You should know: The toe strap takes some time to get used to

These caught my eye right away. I liked that this was a lower block heel but still looked chic thanks to the croc finish. I'm personally not the biggest fan of shoes that go in between my toes, but once I got used to the toe strap, these were a breeze to walk in. You can dress them up or down, and they're appropriate for so many different occasions. Plus, you have a few colors to choose from. They're a great summer shoe, and they can even be worn into the fall depending where you live. While I typically go for a much higher heel, these are a great lower option for me to start with. I can truly wear them anywhere! — Andrea Marie, Ecommerce Writer

Credit: macys.com
shoes
Most Affordable: A New Day Michaela Heels

To buy: $25; target.com

Perfect for: A neutral heel

How we tested: At least 100 wears over two years (weddings, vacations, and daily outings)

What you'll love: The low price

You should know: The faux suede looks inexpensive

I'm forever on a quest for the perfect pair of nude heels that pair well with anything. I love that the tan color of these shoes matches my skin tone perfectly, but I don't love how cheap the faux suede looks upon closer inspection. However, I was able to overlook that once I slipped them on. The thin ankle strap is delicate and offers just enough security for my foot to stay in place, and the low block heel makes for a very walkable style. They elongate my legs and give me just enough height without causing any discomfort or pain. These heels are also extremely affordable, so this purchase is a no-brainer. I just ordered another pair as backup and have convinced a few of my girlfriends to follow suit. — Jennifer Chan, Ecommerce Writer/Editor

Credit: target.com
Best Traditional: Clarks Ambyr Joy Black Patent Heel

To buy: $80; clarksusa.com

Perfect for: Special occasions

How we tested: Five months of running errands and traveling via subway

What you'll love: The classic, no-frills design

You should know: They get more comfortable with wear

There are few things I love more than a shiny black shoe, so when I spotted these heels in a mall window, I knew I needed them. They slipped on with ease and perfectly hugged my feet. The first day I wore them, I had to attend a graduation party, and I experienced absolutely no discomfort. The more I wear these shoes, the more they feel like butter. They're great for anyone looking for a versatile heel that can provide both immediate and enduring comfort. It's also a great and well-structured pick for those who like a straightforward, no-frills design. — Sarah Toscano, Ecommerce Writer

Credit: clarksusa.com
shoes
Best Slides: Jeffrey Campbell Platform Sandal

To buy: $45; nordstrom.com

Perfect for: A retro look

How we tested: Three months of shopping, dinner dates, and nights out on the town

What you'll love: They offer trendy style for less

You should know: The strap needs to be broken in

I own several pairs of boots and slides from Jeffery Campbell, so when I saw these '90s-inspired platform sandals that look like a sophisticated version of jellies, I knew they'd become my summer staple. Once you break these shoes in, they're easy to walk in for several blocks. I usually wear these for hours at a time on nights out, at all-day events, and even while running errands without any pain or sweat. They're great if you're looking for a trendy and comfortable block platform sandal for less—I think of them as the perfect Gucci Platform Slide dupe. You can easily pair them with jeans, skirts, and dresses for most occasions. And they come in four colors. — Lily Gray, Shop Writer

Credit: nordstrom.com
Best Wedge: Michael Kors Berkley Espadrille Wedge Sandals

To buy: $110; macys.com

Perfect for: Elevated casual outfits

How we tested: Five years of everyday wear, including special events: three tea tastings with Mom, four weddings, and 10 girls' nights out

What you'll love: They're comfortable right from the start

You should know: You can wear these again and again

I could honestly wear these shoes for multiple days straight and never complain. In fact, I'm notorious for wearing these zippered shoes to a number of social gatherings. They fit like a glove upon purchase, and I have never had a single blister from them. They're perfect for a casual, everyday wedge that you can reuse for multiple occasions. If you're looking to invest in a shoe that will remain a safe fashion option for many years, this is a great choice. — Leah Channas, Content Strategy Manager

Credit: macys.com
shoes
Best Boots: Thursday Boot Co. Heartbreaker

To buy: $195; thursdayboots.com

Perfect for: Going out in the winter

How we tested: Worn on everything from date nights out to eight-hour work days (averaging about 10,000 steps between commuting and traveling to events) for two years

What you'll love: The soft, moldable leather

You should know: They're worth the cost

These boots were gorgeous out of the box, but I fell even more in love with them when I tried them on. The leather molded to my foot, which tends to be a bit wide and not the best for pointed-toe silhouettes. Even after wearing them fresh out of the box for five hours straight, my feet didn't hurt one bit. Though I didn't think it was possible, the shoes did get slightly more comfy with further wear. If you're searching for the perfect black boots, these are it. They're an ideal mix of comfort and style, and every time I wear them, I get compliments. They're so incredibly easy to wear and make every outfit look 10 times cooler. This might be the best $195 you spend on a pair of boots, trust me. — Eva Thomas, Celebrity & Entertainment Ecommerce Writer

Credit: thursdayboots.com
Best for Travel: Franco Sarto Mable Sandal

To buy: $55 (was $70); dsw.com

Perfect for: Traveling in style

How we tested: Three years of wear, including four weeks of traveling around Europe (almost always walking several hours each day) 

What you'll love: The soft straps and cushioned insole

You should know: They're a good compromise for looks and comfort

It's heels or bust for me, and I'm usually one who gravitates toward trendy shapes, sleek silhouettes, and higher heels. These weren't exactly my style, but I purchased them because I wanted a pair of heeled sandals to travel in. I was so impressed with how these felt when I slipped them on. They felt cushioned, soft, and comfy right out of the box. The soft straps didn't rub or dig, and the block heel made walking so much more comfortable than something more pointed. I spent hours running around cobblestone streets, sandy deserts, and rocky cliff sides on my trip with no problems. These are great for anyone who has a tough time sacrificing style for comfort, whether it's to run errands, go on a date, or travel. — Melissa Epifano, Ecommerce Writer

Credit: dsw.com
shoes
Best Platform: Chinese Laundry Theresa Platform Sandal

To buy: $69; zappos.com

Perfect for: Showing off your style

How we tested: Worn to several events, from low-key dinners to bridal shower brunches, over the past year and a half

What you'll love: They come in different colors and materials

You should know: You won't want to wear them to walk more than a mile

I wear sneakers every day, but these are actually so easy for me to walk in. The ankle strap is adjustable, so you can wear it as tight as you need, and the platform base makes them pretty easy on your arches. I wouldn't walk a mile in them, but for anything less than that, I'd be confident I could wear these. They come in so many different colors and materials and evoke a '70s groovy vibe that's pretty fun and in style right now. My bougie friends compliment them, so I know they look more designer than affordable, and they make my wide feet look a little more svelte. Overall, they look and feel more expensive than they are, and as a dedicated sneaker-wearer, even I'm comfy wearing them for long periods of time. — Claudia Fisher, Ecommerce Deputy Digital Director

Credit: zappos.com
Best for a Wedding: Sam Edelman Yaro Ankle Strap Sandal

To buy: from $120; nordstrom.com

Perfect for: Dancing the night away

How we tested: Seven weddings and multiple date nights in the last three years

What you'll love: They're durable and always in style

You should know: There's no breaking-in period

Other similar styles pinch my feet or make my knees hurt (I've had two surgeries, so I need a sturdy heel!), but these are different. Not only do they look good, but they are comfortable on my feet and feel easy to walk in. The true test was the first time I wore them to a wedding. I usually kick off my heels about an hour into the reception, but these stayed on my feet the entire night. The block heel and cushioned insole make all the difference here. They go with absolutely everything, and the style doesn't seem to be going anywhere any time soon. I've had them for three years and they're still going strong, so if durability and value for your money is important to you, buy these. — Ariel Scotti, Ecommerce Partnerships Writer

Credit: nordstrom.com
shoes
Best for Wide Feet: Vionic Perk Blaire Open Toe Heel

To buy: from $45; amazon.com

Perfect for: Wearing all day and night

How we tested: Worn on a daily 45-minute commute in New York City, as well as after-work events, dinners, and happy hours for two years

What you'll love: They're available in wide sizes

You should know: The straps may rub a bit on the first wear

I got these a couple years ago, and to this day, they're my favorite everyday heels when I want a little height and a strappy detail to elevate my outfit but don't want to feel like I'm struggling to walk. Vionic shoes come in wide sizes (ideal for someone like me with small but wide feet), and these had a perfect fit with next to no break-in time. There was a tiny bit of rubbing on one of the straps on the very first day I wore them, but after that, they felt like they were molding to my feet with no discomfort. Not only do I love the super cushy footbed (I can literally feel it molding to my arches) and supportive straps, but I also love the style of these shoes and find that they looked super chic with pretty much any outfit I pair them with. — Chelsey Hamilton, Senior Ecommerce Editor & Strategist

Credit: amazon.com