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How Can Dress Shoes Be More Comfortable?

Updated on June 1, 2012

I have a confession: I am a man who loves shoes! My wife and her friends love to make jokes about how I have more pairs of shoes than they do. To be honest, they’re probably right. My closet is stacked full of shoe boxes housing multiple pairs of oxfords, loafers, wingtips, cowboy boots and shiny tuxedo shoes. Though I pride myself on having “a shoe for every occasion,” I especially love dress shoes—the fancier the better. I dress formally a lot of the time, both at the office and when I take my wife out ballroom dancing. I take good care of my shoes so that they really shine and catch peoples’ eyes.

The only problem is that sometimes dress shoes aren’t as comfortable as you’d like them to be. When I was a bit younger, it didn’t really bother me. Sure, they didn’t always feel great but I would just “suck it up” and endure. I would listen to my wife complain about the heels she wears to her office and think to myself, “I’m sure glad I don’t have to wear high heels!” But lately I started feeling a lot of pain when I walk.

I ended up going to see a podiatrist (foot specialist), and he told me that I was suffering from plantar fasciitis. This means that the thick tissue at the bottom of my feet was getting inflamed. He noticed I was wearing a favorite pair of leather shoes and he mentioned that my footwear might actually be causing my pain.

He suggested I wear orthopedic shoes. I told him that there was no way I was willing to discard all of my shoes. I needed a solution that could work with the footwear I already have. He brought up the idea of trying an orthotic insert that could fit into my dress shoes. He told me to avoid using gel insoles, because they wouldn’t actually help treat my plantar fasciitis.

I did some research and found that several companies like Orthera offer ready-made orthotics. I purchased a couple of orthotic inserts at Costco and found that they did an excellent job of stabilizing my heel. The inserts helped to alleviate my plantar fasciitis. Overall, they made my dress shoes actually feel more comfortable.

My wife was intrigued and she decided to buy some orthotic inserts for herself. She told me that they really cut down on the pain she felt when wearing heels. One problem that she had been having was that sometimes there was extra space in the heels. Her feet would slide around in them and it would give her blisters. The orthotic inserts helped to keep her feet stable and supported her arches. She hasn’t gotten any blisters since.

The best part about the orthotic inserts is that they can easily be switched from one pair of shoes to another. It takes all of 20 seconds to make the switch. This is important for a guy like me who has more pairs of shoes than, until now, he cared to admit.


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      Global Foodie 2 years ago

      Great article, I was looking around to see if anything new has come on the market and found this article. I just bought a new pair of slip on loafers from cole haan and am now going to buy my 3rd pair of dress orthotics from orthera. . I find that these orthotics work in almost any high fashion, designer slim line shoe. I like low profile shoes and these work great. I second the recommendation.

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      Nick 4 years ago

      Have you discovered Bared Footwear yet? They design shoes with removable arch support orthotics without looking like most 'daggy' comfort/ orthotic shoes.