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    13 Better Versions Of Regular Boots, Flats, Sneakers, Pumps, And Sandals

    Pairs worth the upgrade.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    1. Some three-inch wedges — in addition to their stylishness and versatility, they're so comfortable, supportive, lightweight, and walkable, you won't believe you suffered through the aches and pains of any other high-heeled sandal out there. (Nobody is going to believe you when you reveal their true nature: they're Crocs!)


    Augusta Falletta, a BuzzFeed staff member, first started wearing Crocs wedges very similar to these back in 2015 — here's an excerpt from her full review at the time:

    "Since getting them, I've worn these wedges to work, out to drinks with friends, and during a weekend when I was just walking around the city. A few coworkers complimented my shoes the first day I wore them and audibly gasped when I revealed the brand. It legit feels like I'm walking on air, plus they're cute as hell. In a weird way, I feel like one of those girls who wears heels every day and says things like, "They're just honestly more comfortable for me than flats!" and I now see the light. Go forth, my friends, and suffer less. I'll be wearing my Crocs with pride."

    And Amazon reviewers agree.

    Promising review: "I’ve been wearing them EVERY DAY. If you have fallen arches, the slight heel will help keep your arch supported. I discovered this accidentally several years ago when I had a pair of Clark’s sandals that had a similar heel height and cushioned soles. I wore those out and couldn’t find another comfort heel that looked good so I went back to my Birkenstocks. Now my feet are happy again." —Al

    Get them on Amazon for $14.47+ (most around $40; available in two colors and sizes 4–11; no half-sizes).

    2. A pair of Rothy's washable flats perfect if you're tired of throwing out shoes that get unbearably stinky after just a few months of wear, because that's just what happens when you wear shoes without socks.

    Rothy's /, Sheera Frenkel / BuzzFeed

    I've owned and loved my one pair of these since 2017, when a few of us first reviewed 'em. They are by far the pair of shoes I wear most often (my Birks come in close second), precisely because — besides being incredibly comfortable, especially once they form to your feet — they're so easy to wash the moment they start to smell. I usually gently hand wash 'em with a scrub brush in my tub because I live in NYC and don't have access to one in my apartment, but I've washed them in a machine several times back at my parents place and they hold up really well. TBH mine STILL look as new as they did when I first got them, and FWIW I find I can wear mine for a couple of weeks before they get stinky (unlike the reviewer below). I'm wearing them right now! Oh, and it's just a perk that they're made from recycled water bottles.

    Promising review: "I love these shoes, and will slowly build up a wardrobe of them. Right now I have black and navy. The black are more than a year old (have been washed more times than I can remember) and are still in great shape, so I feel like they are worth the investment. They are incredibly comfortable. Only real downside: they do make your feet stink after a few (5–10) wears, but then it's just time to throw them in the wash and all is well. Mainly an issue when I am wearing them day after day in the summer." —Karen W.

    Get them from Rothy's for $125+ (four styles available in many patterns; sizes 5–12, including half sizes).

    3. Some Sanuk Yoga Slings so you can enjoy the airy, minimalist, casual feeling of wearing flip-flops but skip the inevitable blisters on the top of your feet from the rubber (which is replaced here with a soft, wide, stretchy fabric) and the clumsy floppiness (which is secured here by straps that fit around your ankle and heel).,

    They're also machine-washable, so even if they get accidentally dirty when you're out ~on an adventure~, you can easily clean them up again. One reader who recommended them (#10) says that "There's nothing more cushiony for your feet. They hold up well on a long walk, and are great at the beach because there are no buckles or ties to get sand stuck in." And yeah, Amazon reviewers back that up (but several recommend ordering up if you're a half-size).

    Promising review: "I LOVE these shoes. The base is both firm and squishy at the same time. The sole in contact with the ground is a hard surface so you don't feel every single piece of gravel you step on. The surface you step on is beautifully squishy and reminds me of memory foam. Once you've figured out the strap system (which isn't hard, just unique) you'll find your foot feels more secure than in a flip-flop. The straps are made out of a super soft jersey so you won't get blisters. I feel like a friend put it best when she says 'It's like a t-shirt for your feet!'" —Elizabeth

    Get them on Amazon for either $11+ (available in sizes 5–11, no half sizes, and over 30 colors/patterns) or $14.99+ (available in the same size range but 14 colors).

    4. Or a pair of unisex Birkenstock Gizeh Evas, which takes the old flip-flop and gives it a sturdy, supportive base (perfect for anyone with plantar fasciitis, I can personally testify) and a soft, no-blister, flopping-stopping strap.,

    While TBH any Birkenstock sandal will solve those same flip-flop problems, these are closer to flip-flops than the typical cork+leather combo Birks are known for, because they're all-synthetic and therefore waterproof!

    Promising reviews: "I love my leather Gizeh Birks and wear them everyday during the summer. I purchased the EVA version for a trip to SE Asia during rainy season because I needed my primary walking shoe to be waterproof. These were perfect — the fit is identical to normal Birks, but there is zero break-in time. First wear I walked all day in hot and humid weather and I didn't experience any foot pain. I wore these every single day for a month in SE Asia, and they performed admirably (and still look great!) for miles of walking in both cities and rural areas as well as in repeated monsoon rains.

    Despite being incredibly lightweight, they are actually quite sturdy and hold up to some tough conditions while protecting your feet from the debris and dirt on the ground. While I wouldn't recommend them for this, these even hold their own if you do find yourself trekking through jungle terrain (as I found out on more than one occasion). When my current pair wears out, I will definitely be purchasing again. I'm so happy that Birkenstock makes a waterproof Gizeh, and amazed that none of the comfort and cushioning of the original was sacrificed in the EVA version. Highly recommend!" —J. Appleby

    Get them on Amazon for $25.21+ (most around $40; available in 31 colors and sizes 5–13 including some narrow options; not all sizes are available in all colors).

    5. A pair of leather Chelsea boots that haven't cut corners, unlike the pair you bought last year that are already falling apart. While many shoes only have a leather upper (and maybe a leather heel), these have a full-glove leather lining and leather-covered comfort insoles, too.


    Which all adds up to even more durability. Thankfully, the bottom layer of the heel and the outsole are both made from studded rubber, so you don't have to like, take them elsewhere to get a layer added for protection and traction (something I've had to do with multiple pairs of nice shoes that come with only a leather outsole, which I would walk through too quickly). Note that the manufacturer and the reviewers recommend ordering a half-size up.

    Promising review: "I've been looking for a high quality classic Chelsea boot for years. So happy I committed to this one!!! No break-in time — and I walked all over Seattle for five days while on a trip enjoying a perfectly comfortable and stylish shoe with no issues (and, believe me, my feet aren't my strong point!!)" —mpstraydog

    Get them on Amazon for $160 (available in three colors and sizes 5–11, including half-sizes).

    6. A pair of heeled sandals from Target that, besides being incredibly comfortable for all the walking and standing that happen in NYC, are inexpensive enough to replace when all that use wears them down, *and* come in multiple new, great colors every year. Now you can tell those sandals who insisted on blistering you all over when you tried to go bar hopping once "buh-bye"!

    Maitland Quitmeyer / BuzzFeed

    Maitland Quitmeyer, an editor here at BuzzFeed, owns multiple pairs of these and wears them like, all. the. time. Here are some excerpts from her longer Target Michaela Pumps review (#4): "They have a shortish (2.5") stacked heel, which honestly makes them feel like flats. I can wear them with midi dresses, jeans, and shorts and mini dresses without feeling like they're too tall. I've walked miiiles in them, and the straps at the ankle and front of the foot are actually comfy! You know when sandals have that really scratchy stitching that just attacks your feet? These do NOT have that. And the arch is pleasantly contoured, actually supporting my feet as I pound the pavement."

    And oh yes, the reviewers on Target's site are in love with them, too.

    Promising review: "These are the most comfortable heels I’ve ever worn and I don’t even like wearing heels. I wore them to my graduation ceremony and was able to stand in them and walk for a good while and go to a bar and drink with friends after. I was in the heels for six hours walking down the street, to the bar, standing and dancing before they started to be painful." —Meka

    Get them from Target for $24.99 (available in five colors — the fifth, taupe, is $24.99 here — and sizes 5–12, including wide styles, although because it's the end of the season some sizes in some colors are out of stock).

    7. These leather wedge booties because a) they're truly perfect for fall, b) they're a wedge, which automatically translates to more comfort and stability than those other heeled boots you own, and c) they have over 1,100 reviews and a 4.5 star rating on Nordstrom, meaning they're as good as they say they are.


    To continue: d) they come in 14 colors, so you'll find one you love, and e) they have a rubber sole, to give you traction whenever life gets a little slippery. BTW, many reviewers say they run a little large and to order a half-size down.

    Promising reviews: "Wow, I'm impressed by how comfortable these are....I have narrow feet and plantar fasciitis and its difficult to find shoes that are comfortable. These thankfully fit perfectly and don't look like orthopedic old lady shoes. A must try!!" —ChicagoNordstromShopper15

    "This is a really comfortable and chic looking bootie. I've worn them with slacks and jeans and they're super cute with both!!!!I Bought them in black leather and Rock (suede). I've received so many compliments every time I wear them. Another benefit I've found with this particular bootie is that I've had a severe Achilles injury; however, when I wear these it relieves the pressure from my heels. I love, love these." —Poppins12

    Get them from Nordstrom for $119.95.

    8. The Under Armour Hovr Infinite running shoe, which pairs a lightweight, breathable, and flexible upper with a strategically cushioned sole that helps you feel like you're running on air. Even if you're just a casual runner, you'll be surprised what a difference it makes to swap your three year old–shoes leftover from gym class for a pair actually designed to support step after step.

    Under Armor /

    They can even use Bluetooth to track and analyze your running metrics, which can help you know what to do next to improve your running style. (Of course, as our guide to running shoes explains, a single shoe isn't going to be best for all people. This one is very cushioned, which is often preferred by people with higher arches, and designed to be versatile for both shorter and longer runs.) Several reviewers say it runs small, and recommend buying a half-size up.

    Promising review: "Absolutely love these runners! They have such soft cushioning and hold your foot in place really well. They were a bit stiff the first two times I ran in them, but after they softened up it's like running on a cloud. They form to your foot and stay. The connectivity I've had no issues with, connects really well to my phone and seems to be pretty close to on point." —yycgirl

    Get them from Under Armour for $120 (available in seven colors and sizes 5–12, including half-sizes).

    9. A pair of rainboots that TBH are probably lighter than most shoes that you wear, and like, a thousand times lighter than the rubbery ones you usually clog through storms in. They also leave plenty of space for you to tuck in your jeans and have super traction-y rubber on the bottom sole so you won't slip when you jump in puddles.

    And when I say light, I mean light: these are Crocs (again! even I'm surprised), so they're made from their trademark super light foamy plastic. The consensus among reviewers seems to be to size down by at least a half size, unless of course you plan to insert orthotic insoles. (Ofc, these are ones you'd definitely want to wear socks with!)

    Promising review: "Having to walk to and from my job six days a week in a semi-rural setting required me to invest in a pair of rain boots, esp. since it seems to rain every day of late. After wearing them twice they seem to have taken on the shape of my foot and ankle. They got more supple with use which is really nice as when at first they seemed stiff. They are absolutely lovely to walk in, there is support and a certain amount of warmth. My feet didn't get all clammy. They are super comfy and most important they get the job done. My feet are kept nice and dry (I even stepped in a few puddles on purpose — what fun!) I recommend these definitely, and I am difficult when it comes to footwear!" —gabrielannouncer

    Get them on Amazon for $16.54+ (most around $45; available in four colors and sizes 4–11, no half sizes, although some sizes are sold out in some colors).

    10. Or a pair of waterproof rainboots nobody would ever guess are outdoor downpour–approved, because they look just like any other low-heeled, mega-cute fall bootie. And yes, they have extra traction on the outer sole to keep you stable.

    Blondo /, Blondo /

    Their secret? An "aquaprotect" coating, and invisibly sealed seams!

    Promising reviews: "The holy grail of booties! Gorgeous nubuck leather that is water resistant? Yep! The detailing is exquisite and the bottom of the bootie is slightly rubberized to make it not slippery on slick surfaces." — NeedaNordstrom

    "I love these boots! I bought a similar pair two years ago and absolutely wore them out. Very comfortable and versatile boot. I frequently wear them to work but they are also great for casual wear." —shopaholic416

    Get them from Nordstrom for $89.96 (originally $149.95; available in sizes 5.5–11 and three colors, although not all sizes are available in every color).

    BTW, if you love this idea but might prefer a different style, Nordstrom carries several dozen from this brand (Blondo), which does exclusively shoes like these.

    11. Some Clarks full grain leather, low-heeled pumps so you can dress up pretty much any look in an instant (be it jeans and a tee or your favorite work skirt) then walk or stand as much as you need to without the inevitable aches that come with literally every other pump you own.


    The heel's a Goldilocks-worthy 2.2 inches, which will actually give you some height (unlike, say, a kitten heel), without pushing you to too much height (that classic three inches all pumps seem to be). The sole is made from the company's trademarked ~Ortholite~, which is a type of cushion that both supports and wicks away moisture, which could help out with that slipping and sliding you do in your pumps on hot days.

    Promising reviews: "I ordered these off Amazon for a job interview and they arrived the night before. Day of, two Ubers cancelled on me back-to-back, so I had to sprint downtown while wearing these for 20 minutes to get there on time. The first time I walked in these, I literally ran for 20 minutes. And it was shockingly comfortable. These barely felt like heels. They almost felt like flats. And zero damage or irritation to the back of my foot and my toes felt just fine. Seriously comfy and I am someone who HATES wearing high heels, especially after multiple ankle injuries. I can see myself wearing these several times a week all day to work at least!" —Amazon Customer

    "Wore these for the first time today to work. I'm a teacher and am on my feet a ton. They were amazingly comfortable. Great heel height and comfy insole. Nice job, Clarks!" —English Teacher

    Get them on Amazon for $38.48+ (most around $55; available in four colors and sizes 5–12, including most half sizes, and four colors).

    12. Some bright white Tommy Hilfiger sneakers — according to reviewers, they're easy to clean so they genuinely, actually stay white, which is the complete opposite of those canvas shoes that turned grey far too quickly.


    They're made from all synthetic materials, which is the same thing that made the difference for the (now mostly sold out, otherwise they'd be here instead) BuzzFeed Reviews pick for the best everyday sneaker on a budget, New Look lace ups ($24 at Asos) — it meant that the shoes resisted dirt *and* that any stains that did stick could be easily taken care of with some white toothpaste and a few gentle scrubs with a toothbrush. Based on the reviews for these Tommy Hilfigers, it seems like they have some of the same superpowers.

    Promising review: "I've been looking for a pair of plain white sneakers to wear with long summer maxi dresses, and these are perfect! They look really nice and are super comfortable. The quality is outstanding!! They are easy to clean, and comfy enough for extended wear (all day long). These elevate your fashion look from a basic tennis shoe to a designer shoe, and with the added comfort, they are my favorite pair of sneakers in my closet. Great item!" —Cassie

    Get them on Amazon for $41.30 (available in sizes 5–11, including half sizes, and one other color: a sparkly silver).

    13. A pair of classic L.L. Bean duck boots because they — unlike your last pair of snow boots that sprang a leak in February — have everything you need to stay cozy through many years of winters.

    L. L. Bean /

    That's: a durable molded rubber bottom molded specifically to shed moisture and give you traction in slippery snow, thick and soft cotton flannel lining for warmth, and a full-grain water-resistant leather upper (sourced from the U.S.!) to protect even your ankles from Jack Frost's bite. Y'all, these sell out for a while pretty much every single fall/winter, and for good reason.

    Promising reviews: "I wear my boots primarily commuting in Boston, which means I encounter rain, snow, ice, and puddles daily from December until...May? I walk a mile each way, and these boots are warm and amazingly comfortable given the protection they provide. The tumbled leather meant these boots were soft from day one, no blisters or breaking in the leather. The flannel lining makes them warmer, with the added benefit of being really cute. The foot bed provides enough stability and cushion for walking. I am so very glad I managed to get a pair of these boots." —KKeegan

    "I couldn't be happier with them. The leather is soft and I did not need to break them in. I really like that the lip of the boot is NOT sewed on so it is easier to get your foot in and out. The boots are also very warm." —jkumz

    Get them from L. L. Bean for $159: the women's (available in sizes 6–11 and only one color at the moment, the classic brown) or the men's (available in sizes 7–14 and the same classic brown).

    You, every single time you pull one of these pairs out of your closet and get to wear them:


    Want more? Check out the best places to buy shoes online, or the best shoes for wide feet if you need a little extra room.

    Shopping for something specific? Check out BuzzFeed Reviews to find the best things for every budget!


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