Sunday, April 24, 2016

How to Find Dress Shoes for Runners

How do you find dress shoes that don't hurt? This is a puzzle I've been trying to solve, and I'm finally cracking the code.

I wear athletic shoes or oofos whenever I can, but they don't go with my work clothes. Especially when I'm giving a presentation or attending a board meeting.

I need shoes that look professional, don't squish my neuroma-plagued toes, and give my arches some support.

This is easier said than done. But I am determined to find those elusive "Cinderella" perfect-fit shoes!

Three Things I've Learned

1. Zappos is Great has been my best ally in my search for the perfect shoes. Here is why:
  • You can search by shoe size. It is amazing how many sites don't have this option. I have tiny feet; many manufacturers don't make shoes in my size. If I can't search your site by size, I'm not shopping there.
  • You can apply filters. Filtering shoes by gender, style, purpose, color (and more!) helps you find available options that match your specifications quickly.
  • Free shipping and returns. This needs no explanation. 
  • Free one-day shipping. This is a Zappos VIP perk. Order by 1 pm PST, get your order the next business day.
  • Huge selection. Almost every brand I've been curious about has been available at Zappos. Not every style, color, or size is in stock, but there is more than enough for me to work with.
(this is not a sponsored post for just truly appreciate them)

2. Sizing is Inconsistent

What size is my foot? I usually wear a 5 medium in "street" shoes (as opposed to a 6 wide in "running" shoes). Sometimes I wear a 4.5. Size depends on the manufacturer and the shoe.

Many of the shoes I am considering in my quest have European sizing. I have bought several pairs of shoes in size 35. Three different manufacturers all have different conversions guides for a 35:
  • 35 = 5 to 5.5
  • 35 = 4.5 to 5
  • 35 = 4
This makes identifying the size that is most likely to fit especially challenging. Which is why I really appreciate those Zappos free returns.

3. Functional Shoes Don't Have to be Ugly

I've been pretty impressed by the stylish options that are available. I've tried search terms like:
  • shoes for bunions
  • wide toe box
  • orthopedic shoes
Don't get me wrong...there are some *ahem* unfashionable shoes out there. But there are some surprisingly attractive ones, too.

Shoe Reviews 

Over the next few weeks, I'll be reviewing shoes that I've tried. So far I have tried:

Other brands on my radar include:
  • Mephisto (click for review)
  • Munro (click for review)
  • Abeo
  • Lifestride
  • Tahari
  • Dansko
  • Softspots
  • Born 
  • Clarks
  • Cobb Hill
  • Ecco
  • Taos
Click to Share:

  • What shoes do you wear when you want to look dressed up?
  • Are there shoes you used to wear that now hurt your feet?
  • What brand of dress shoes is your favorite?
  • Where do you shop for dress shoes?
Fun Fact!
My first Zappos purchase was February, 2010.
I bought Robeez for my 1 year-old son.
image source:


  1. Been through this too. I buy AGL attilio giusti leombruni shoes for my best work events (usually on sale at Nordstrom). They cost a lot but last a long time and I have wondered all over in them on work travel overseas. Also like some clarks shoes.

    1. Thank you for the recommendation, Debbie! That is a new brand to me and I will check it out. I have accepted that I will probably be spending a lot for these shoes, and that it will be worth it!