Both men and women face a choice when it comes to favouring comfort or style in their shoes, but the binary is arguably a lot more pronounced for women. Regardless of sex, how to value comfort and style is an important question to weigh when you’re buying new shoes and/or choosing shoes to wear that day.
Comfort or Style? That’s the Question
When favouring comfort, you get shoes that you can wear all day without any rubbing, irritation, tightness or other aspects of discomfort. It can be difficult with shoes because some types are evidently and consistently comfortable, such as sneakers or sandals, but others may feel comfortable at the moment you put them on and even for the first hour of wearing, but later on one realises that they are actually akin to wearing small prisons on one’s feet.
It’s also not an uncommon dilemma that people face that the more comfortable the shoe they are choosing to wear, the less stylish or suitable it might be for a certain occasion. There are many women who might love the idea of wearing tennis shoes to work every day, but office dress codes may dictate that this is unacceptable. Men are not isolated from this, either, with many men’s formal shoes being uncomfortable to wear for long periods — but at least they don’t have heels!
The Case for Comfort
So, the most comfortable shoes in the world are invariably the ones that lack a greater sense of style. It’s not universal, of course, with many high-end designers manufacturing sandals, flats, comfortable kitten heels and loafers, and more, but it’s still a pretty solid rule of thumb. What’s the benefit of going for comfort over style?
First of all, as the name suggests, you will enjoy greater levels of comfort. Is there anything better than the feeling you get when you slip into truly comfortable shoes? Those who swap their stilettos or Oxfords for slippers or flip flops after getting home from a long day at the office know the feeling well. What if that were your feeling for the entire day?
Second, choosing comfort over style is a better path to good foot health. It allows one to choose shoes that are also more receptive to the insertion of orthotics and similar corrective equipment that can ultimately help with leg, hip, and back pain. It’s amazing just how much pain across your body can be amplified with the improper application of footwear.
The Case for Style
To some, prioritising style over comfort is just a vain and unhelpful practice. Why would you put the health of your feet at risk just to apparently “look good” from the ankles down? Is there really a case to be made for appreciating style over comfort?
Style is about both perception and self-confidence. It’s naive of anyone to think that others won’t judge us based on what we wear, and even very specifically based on what we’re wearing on our feet. There’s nothing wrong with playing the game, making a good first impression, and thus opening up doors and opportunities that you might otherwise miss just because you can’t be bothered to put more effort into your footwear choices.
Next, and as we have mentioned, style does not cancel out comfort. If you have a serious need for more comfort in your footwear, then you can do so without compromising on aesthetic quality. It may take more time to research the kinds of shoes that can maintain style while offering space for an orthotic, for example, but that time is well spent if it means you can get the right shoes without losing the confidence that a beautiful pair of shoes gives you.