The 8 Best Comfortable High Heels of 2022
Health Style

The 8 Best Comfortable High Heels of 2022

If high-heel wearers can agree on one thing, it’s that owning them comes with a love-hate relationship. After all, slipping your feet into them can unleash an unfounded wave of confidence, but at what cost? High heels (especially those over three inches tall) are notoriously bad for foot and ankle health. So to help you get the best of both worlds, we interviewed expert podiatrists to help you find great high heels without sacrificing your health.

Jacqueline Sutera, DPM, is a spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association and practices podiatry in New York. She highlights that when shopping for heels, it’s important to understand how it affects the entire body. “The elevation of the heel puts abnormal pressure on the forefoot and distorts the entire skeleton. This makes the hips and knees jet forward and the back then hyperextends to counterbalance. The higher you go, the worse it is. Heels should be worn for an event, meeting, date, occasion, and ‘for the look’ but only in moderation,” she says. However, the good news is that there are things you can do to protect the health of your feet when it comes to high heels. 

Saylee Tulpele, DPM, from the Foot and Ankle Specialists of the Mid-Atlantic says that “finding the right heel can increase wear and comfort. There are certain aspects of a heel that make it comfortable.” Meanwhile, Allyssa Knowles-Adderley, DABPM, is a foot and ankle specialist with practices in New York and the Bahamas. She says to “look for heels based on your foot type. That means toe boxes, and not only the heel itself but the sole of the shoe as well. Rubber-based heels tend to have more shock absorption.”

And, just because a shoe is expensive, doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to be the most comfortable. Thankfully, you can expect to pick up a stylish and comfortable pair of heels for around $200 or less. 

Here are the best comfortable high heels covering a range of foot shapes and concerns.

Cole Haan

Why We Like It: The low block heel and forgiving toe box that will keep your toes feeling comfortable all night long. 

It’s Worth Noting: These shows run on the narrow side, so if you have particularly wide feet, they may not be the best for you. 

These classic black heels tick all the boxes when it comes to comfort and timeless style. The shoe features a block heel that stops at a modest inch height for stability. Our experts recommend keeping the heel at three inches or below, as anything higher can drastically increase the stress on your feet. Meanwhile, the almond toe of the Go-To Heel is a classic design that won’t squash your toes.

We especially like the rubber outsole, which provides a cushion when your feet land to give your ankles and joints a break. It’s worth noting that while these shoes are labeled as a medium-width, they’re slightly on the narrower side. With that in mind, if you have particularly wide feet, we have other options for you on this list.

Price at time of publication: $130

Product Details

  • Material: Leather
  • Heel Height: 1.7 inches
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Special Feature: Cushioned footbed


Why We Like It: These rounded-toe shoes offer an antibacterial, deodorizing cushion to keep your feet feeling and smelling fresh. 

It’s Worth Noting: If you have wider feet, we recommend that you size up.

“For anybody who has bunions, you want to pay extra attention to the toe box. Rounded or square toe boxes are better because pointed ones will add more pressure in that area,” says Dr. Knowles. The painful bumps, which are a deformity of one of the foot joints, can cause serious pain in any shoe. 

These heels from Vivaia have rounded toes to avoid worsening bunions, and their upper areas are knitted, which adds a forgiving stretch. They’re also quite low at a little less than two inches to ease the pressure put on your feet, and they offer an anti-slip rubber sole to help you stay put. The brand recommends selecting one size up for extra comfort if you have wide feet.

Price at time of publication: $145

Product Details

  • Material: Knit 
  • Heel Height: 1.77 inches
  • Sole: Rubber 
  • Special Feature: Deodorizing insole


Why We Like It: Lightweight cork makes these heels a breeze to walk in.

It’s Worth Noting: This shoe is above the recommended three inches but comes with a generous platform sole. 

Podiatrists recommend avoiding flat insoles for all foot types. But it’s especially important for those with flat feet who require a shoe with a proper arch to provide much-needed balance and support. These lightweight cork heels are sure to do the trick with built-in arch support and a memory foam footbed to hug your feet. While the heel height is above the recommended three inches, the toe platform offsets the height, and they’ve been specially designed to distribute weight evenly and support your unique arch position. 

Price at time of publication: $160

Product Details

  • Material: Leather/cork 
  • Heel Height: 3.25 inches 
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Special Feature: Memory foam footbed


Why We Like It: A wide and open toe box makes this slide great for wide feet.

It’s Worth Noting: These shoes use man-made materials, which may not stretch as much as natural ones. 

Those with wide feet can have difficulty finding stylish shoes that don’t make the entire foot feel suffocated and squashed. Your trick to comfort lies in keeping an eye on the shape of the toe box to ensure you give your feet plenty of room to lay flat. “A round-toe box is going to be better, or even a square might work, but pointy is not the best option,” says Dr. Knowles. These wedge sandals from Torrid have an open-toe box, letting your feet slide and sit in the shoe easily. While they’re sitting at the higher end of expert-recommended heel height at three inches, they’re still podiatrist-approved. Plus, they’re budget-friendly, so you don’t have to splurge to achieve comfort. 

Price at time of publication: $18 (was $56)

Product Details

  • Material: Vegan microsuede 
  • Heel Height: 3 inches 
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Special Feature: Cushioned footbed


Why We Like It: A low-slung, timeless classic that provides ankle support with the backstrap and a flared heel for added stability. 

It’s Worth Noting: Shoes are only available in one width and may run narrow for those with wider feet. 

Plantar fasciitis happens when the plantar fascia (the stretch of tissue at the bottom of the foot) is inflamed. Podiatrists recommend wearing supportive flats for foot pain, but if you want to jazz up your outfit with comfortable heels, the lower, the better. Dr. Tulpee suggests looking out for “shoes that also add more cushion and support in the arch/midsole of the heel; this can protect the plantar fascia from becoming strained.” Vionic shoes are designed in collaboration with podiatrists, so you know you’re in good hands (and heels). And these kitten heels are perfect for work and play as they feature a contoured foot design and deep heel cups to support the fascia in your feet. It’s worth noting that these shoes run a little on the narrow side—they may not be great for people with wide feet. 

Price at time of publication: $140

Product Details

  • Material: Leather
  • Heel Height: 2.25 inches 
  • Sole: Rubber
  • Special Feature: Deep heel cups


Why We Like It: These boots offer a zipper that makes it easy to slip the shoes on and off.  

It’s Worth Noting: Their vegan leather outer may be stiffer than natural leather and may not fit as well on wide calves.  

If you have a high arch, the most comfortable high heels for you will foster ankle stability. “If you have a high arch, you want to be more modest with the heel height because the higher you raise the heel, the more you can turn out. Having a higher arch already makes you more prone to ankle instability. So the more you raise the heel height, the more likely you are to twist your ankle,” explains Dr. Knowles. “For high-arched feet, wedges are a great option,” Dr. Tulpee adds. 

Aerosoles have a wide selection of tall and ankle-wedge boots that will keep you comfortable and warm throughout the cozier months of the year. We particularly like these boots because they provide a gently rounded toe for additional comfort. It’s important to note that these boots go over the calf, and use vegan leather rather than natural leather. For that reason, they could be tight on anyone with particularly wide calves. 

Price at time of publication: $180)

Product Details

  • Material: Vegan leather outer 
  • Heel Height: 2.25 inches 
  • Sole: Diamond grip sole 
  • Special Feature: Available in six colors


Why We Like It: The Niko Dress Sandal has a slim buckle and strap that will keep narrow feet in place. 

It’s Worth Noting: All leather upper shoes may take some time to soften and wear in. 

Those with narrow feet will do best to make sure they feel secure in their shoes and don’t have their feet lifting or slipping out the heel of the shoe. Dr. Tulpee explains, “shoes with straps or zippers are great because these additions help keep the shoe in place.” If you’ve searched for comfortable high heels, you may have come across Naturalizer. This brand consistently creates stylish shoes to support foot health. Their Niko Dress Sandal is a great heel for anyone with narrow feet who wants to feel comfortable while dressing up for a night out. The modest block heel makes for major comfort, while the buckle strap closure will keep you feeling secure. It also provides arch and heel support to relieve pressure and pain in your feet and ankles. 

Price at time of publication: $130)

Product Details

  • Material: Leather, metallic leather or suede 
  • Heel Height: 2.25
  • Sole: Non-slip 
  • Special Feature: Responsive foam cushioning insole


Why We Like It: These pumps are available in three widths, offer a walkable heel, and provide a non-slip outsole to keep you moving comfortably throughout the day. 

It’s Worth Noting: The pointed toe may not be comfortable for everyone. 

There are many variables to consider when it comes to standing in heels, but above all, common sense prevails. Dr. Sutera is cautious in recommending that people wear high heels all day. “In my opinion, heels should be worn in moderation and for short periods of walking and standing.” But with a pair of pumps like these Naturalizer Everly heels, you may be able to get through the day without experiencing discomfort. They sit below the recommended 3-inch heel height and come armed with the brand’s signature open-cell foam cushioning to make it feel like you’re wearing the shoes and not the other way around. Select from one of three widths and strut with a pair of shoes that works for day or night, casual or special moments. 

Price at time of publication: $125

Product Details

  • Material: Leather, patent leather, or suede upper 
  • Heel Height: 2.25 inches 
  • Sole: Non-slip 
  • Special Feature: Available in three widths

The Health team spoke to expert podiatrists about what makes a quality, comfortable sandal. We then researched the best high heels on the market and narrowed them down based on heel height, features, material, and sole to help you find a shoe that will help you maintain your foot and ankle health.

Poorly-designed heels can cause foot problems even for those who don’t generally have foot pain. According to Dr. Tulpee, “heels can most certainly lead to issues such as metatarsalgia (pain in the ball of the foot), bunions (cramming the big toe into a narrow toe box), callus or blister formation (the toe box of the shoe is again too narrowing causing calluses or blisters to form and the heel counter of the shoe can lead to blisters), and neuromas (inflamed nerves which can cause burning or numbness to the toes).” 

One way to combat the negative effects of high heels is to actively search for comfortable high heels like the ones listed in the article. The other is to ensure your shoes are on a frequent rotation from one day to the next. As always, balance is key. “As a podiatrist, I recommend moderation. I wear heels but not every day and not all day. Wear commuter shoes to/from work, parties and events. Also, vary the heel heights and types of shoes throughout the week,” Dr. Sutera says.

Which High Heels Are Most Comfortable? 

High heels that take into consideration the natural shape of your foot is the best place to start. Beyond that, expert podiatrists suggest four main things that qualify a heel as comfortable: a low, (preferably block) heel, a forgiving toe box (either square or rounded), a rubber outer sole and a cushioned insole. Dr. Sutera says that  “chunky, stacked heel, wedge or platform heels are often more comfortable because these offer more stability and transfer weight across a greater surface area as opposed to a stiletto or pump. The insole also plays a huge role. Cushioned and styles with arch support feel better than their flat and hard counterparts. Stiff, narrow and pointy toe boxes are notorious for not only being uncomfortable but also are considered very unhealthy.” 

How High for a Heel is Too High? 

Experts recommend heels three inches or lower, but a two-inch heel is the sweet spot. “A heel that’s over 3 inches is too high as it will place more pressure in the ball of the foot, this can lead to pain in the toes, ball of the foot, and even numbness,” says Dr. Tulpee.

Isabella Ubaldi has 10 years of research and writing experience covering topics that range from how ‘femtech’ helps to fill the gap in our medical understanding of women’s bodies to the best moisturizing body washes. Her curiosity about the world feeds her keen interest in helping people reduce the shopping noise and make better decisions.