Best Shoes for Bunions

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Comfortable Casual Career Shoes | Reader Request

Comfortable Casual Career Shoes

Hi Kirsten,

I have been a bartender for 30 years and I have to tell you, my feet hurt! Not just when I work….always. I have some major foot issues and I’ve been diagnosed with RA. It’s getting harder and harder to do 10 to 12 hour shifts. I keep coming back to your site in hopes that you have a segment on professional shoes. I’m tired of spending 100s of dollars on shoes that promise comfort only to throw them in that dark spot at the bottom of my closet, the shoe graveyard. I’m hoping you’ll find this an interesting topic and start doing some research.  I can speak for all us professionals that are on our feet long hours everyday, we would love you!

Dear reader,

The mere thought of a 10-12 hour shift with RA makes me want to buy YOU a drink. I’m assuming by “professional,” you don’t mean a dressy career pump rather a supportive shoe with a dressy-casual vibe. I’ve picked four slip-ons and one oxford with comfort features such as: anatomical footbeds, superb cushioning, roomy toe boxes, soft leathers and shock-absorbing outsoles.

1. Dansko Olivia: Dankso’s take on the smoking slipper! After reading through online reviews, I would recommend the Olivia for a medium to slightly wide foot. The toe box is wide to accommodate bunions, the footbed is supportive and cushioned on its own, but is removable to fit an orthotic. Don’t worry if you’re not into animal prints, the Olivia comes in solid colors and subtle patterns such as black cobblestone and navy polka dot. A few reviews state that the Olivia runs larger than other Dansko styles–something to keep in mind if ordering online. $145 at Zappos, $99 at The Walking Company, $99-145 at Amazon. See my review of the oxford version, Olive.

2. Alegria Taylor: A penny loafer in true Alegria style featuring a removable cork and latex footbed that should accommodate an orthotic. The toe box is wide, but I’ve read the heel is also. The Alegria Taylor does not have a rocker sole like most Alegrias. If you like that feature to take pressure off the forefoot and heel, try the Alegria Dayna Professional. The Taylor is available in medium and wide widths from Zappos for $129.95; $51-129.95 at Amazon.

3. Cobb Hill Georgina: A wonderful newer company owned by New Balance, Cobb Hill does everything within their power to incorporate comfort technologies into good-looking, stylish footwear–the Georgina is no exception. Featuring a 1 1/8″ heel, removable, cushioned EVA footbed, stability shank to support the arch, and shock-absorbing outsole, the Georgina comes in medium and wide widths. $100 at Zappos, $73.85-100 at Amazon.

4. Remonte Dorndorf for Rieker Kati R9821: European comfort and style, the Kati by Rieker has elastic goring over the instep for extra stretch, a cushioned removable insole, soft leathers and a 1 1/4″ shock-absorbing demi-wedge sole. $130 at Zappos.

5. Dansko Abigail: You have to hand it to Dansko for continuing to offer sleeker options to their Professional clog. The Abigail features a removable, ergonomically contoured footbed with excellent arch support, steel shank for stability, and a lightweight slip-resistant outsole. Customers comment that the toe box isn’t quite as wide as the Professional clog, yet it provides more stability (as it’s not uncommon to roll the ankle in the Professionals). Available for $135 at Zappos, $134.95 at The Walking Company.

One more idea!: Wonders A-1352–a simply adorable shoe made in Spain with a 1 1/4″ synthetic platform sole for superior shock-absorption and a nicely cushioned insole.

About the Author

Blogger, Wife, Mom, Dog-Lover, Coffee Drinker, Owl Watcher.

18 Responses to Comfortable Casual Career Shoes | Reader Request

  1. Mare says:

    I have problems with the suggestions for two reasons. One–no bartender could ever wear those shoes to work and TWO-they are not cute. IMHO they still fall in the category for frumpy orthodics.

    • Kirsten says:

      That’s what I get for trying. I asked the reader if she needed non-slip and she said she didn’t, which opened up some options. Ok, so just figure this post is for teachers and other people working on hard floor all day. Do you have any suggestions?

    • Theresa says:

      I disagree completely! I have 2 of these, the Dansko Olivia and the Abigail. I love both pair but especially the Abigail. I have it in the same color shown and they look adorable on, especially with skinny jeans (cuffed). I have had the Abigail for only a few weeks but already I have has more people come up to me in public and tell me they love my shoes and ask where I got them! Two of those people were in the mall and after asking me where they got them these two headed straight for the store I purchased them to buy themselves a pair. Never have I gotten so many compliments on a pair of shoes! To each his own. I have very high arches and PF so finding cute shoes is a challenge. Earthies and some of the new Dansko styles have fit the bill for me.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I took “professional” to mean shoes made for workers on their feet all day – like Dansko Professional clogs, or similar clogs by Sanita, Allegria, etc. These are often targeted to nurses and other medical professionals.

  3. Mare says:

    80% of the time I agree with your suggestions! I’m sorry! As a former bartender I can’t imagine those shoes would work. And as I said I just don’t think they are cute. I think a clog would be more stylish (my 17 yr old agrees). Sorry of it came off really mean. I always look to your blog for suggestions and will continue to do so.

    • Kirsten says:

      Oh, that’s fine! You caught me in a mood, I guess. You are entitled to your opinion, my gosh, it’s America. I did look at the non-slip options and get tired of the Dansko Pro, but realize it’s the best seller for a reason. I also considered Mozo, which are totally cute but I have a pair and it rubs the back of my heel something fierce. Perhaps I should look into more non-slip options for a different post 😉

    • Kirsten says:

      Plus, having RA, I know how bad it effects feet– almost nothing feels comfortable when you’re flaring. So I went for shoes with ultimate comfort features, but sometimes that ups the frump factor.

  4. Mare says:

    I have RA, PF and a double mortons neuroma so I feel your pain. I turn to my dansko or sanita clogs when all else fails. Bad feet suck–and I was such a shoe person in my younger days 🙁

  5. cedar says:

    I’ve never been a bartender, but I think the shoes are cute. I can’t see why they wouldn’t work in many work places where corporate heels are not the norm.
    I appreciate your posts, Kirsten, and enjoy your site very much. Thank you.

  6. Angela says:

    Great line-up of stylish flats. I love #1 and #2 and I recently bought the Cobb Hill Georginas. They’re adorable and perfect for my teacher feet.

  7. Paula Crain says:

    So does any of the suggestions or any other shoe brand you can recommend come in WW?
    I like many of the styles shown on site, but none of the shoes come WW. This is my major problem with arthritic bone spurs on my instep & neuropathy.

  8. Emilie says:

    Thanks for these suggestions! I’ve been having a difficult time finding work-appropriate shoes with enough toe room. Just ordered some of the penny loafers–fingers crossed.

  9. Susan says:

    i found this blog when I searched ” most comfortable shoes to wear with a bunion”
    However 1) there is no talk of these shoes and bunions – pretty much how cute they or are not. And 2) I’ve owned probably 7 pairs of Dansko’s in my life – before my foot got so bad- I’m a nurse in an emergency room . I could care less what they look like. Dansko’s are stiff and formed. Not good for running around all day. In fact the MD told me they made my bunion worse. So frutratng!

    • Kirsten says:

      Susan, I’m glad you found Barking Dog Shoes! Use the “search” feature and enter “bunion.” There’s even a category on the right sidebar called “bunion-friendly footwear.” Hope you find something that works.

    • Kirsten says:

      Ok, the right sidebar isn’t there, but look at the categories at the top–“Shoes for Bunions.”

  10. Susan Kurosu says:

    I dont believe I have ever noticed a bartenders shoes.

  11. Peggy says:

    Just a word on cute: A friend of mine has a pair of shoes that look just like the Georginas, which she bought in England. I was with her in a store when the salesperson went gaga over them and begged to know where she got them. My friend is a 30-something slim stylish redhead, and the salesgirl was a stylish young woman, too.

  12. Laura says:

    As a woman with size 11 feet, I have ALWAYS had a horrible time finding cute shoes. Now, as a teacher, I’ve had RA, active in my feet, for four years. I can never find cute shoes. I am happy if I can find something that doesn’t cripple me after 1/2 an hour so I never ‘get’ to wear ‘professional’ shoes. I need space, a very flexible/knit upper and lots of cushioning under my foot. I can’t shop online because half the time a size 11 isn’t a true 11 and I live in a very small town with no real shoe stores. So, yeah. That why/how I found your site. Just trying to do some research for my poor feet.

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