Shoes - comfort = dowdy?

Y'all know my foot woes - bunions, narrow heel but wide forefoot and most importantly, PF(which is slowly getting better but definitely still evident).

I have recently purchased three items from Vionic that have been foot savers - house slippers (no more bare feet on hardwood floors for me), walking shoe and black sandals. What's great about the brand for me is the arch is in exactly the right place and high enough for stellar support. The shoes accommodate my custom orthotics but honestly, their footbed is almost identical to my orthotic.

I am finding no longer being able to wear funky and edgier footwear is cramping my style. But I need to get my head around it because I have no desire to return to the horrendous pain I was having in my feet.

I have recently ordered and received two more pairs of Vionic shoes as once Fall arrives, sandals will be put away and I'll need to return to "real" shoes. I'm also looking at ordering and trying a pair of Vionic black booties since I'm not sure my lovely patent Ara booties will still work for me.

The pics below are the two I've received - first up are the ballet flats. I need to go up half a size as they are a bit too snug. The second pair is a heeled wedge that fits perfectly out of the box.

So my question to all of you is - can these look stylish with my wardrobe while not being trendy? Or should I keep on looking?

This post is also published in the youlookfab forum. You can read and reply to it in either place. All replies will appear in both places.


  • Sara L. replied 5 years ago

    I like both pairs.  They're not super trendy but they're not dowdy either.  I think comfort is more important than trendy and these sound like they're perfect for your feet.

  • Thirkellgirl replied 5 years ago

    I don't think they're dowdy. I'm with you, comfort is absolutely more important than look for me when it comes to shoes. I especially like the flats.

  • Dee replied 5 years ago

    The black ballet flat looks like a good staple shoe - not trendy, but not frumpy by any means. I think the heel of the wedge gives it a little more interest. I can see them working with your wardrobe and comfort is worth a lot.

  • Angie replied 5 years ago

    More thumbs up from me on both styles, Shannon. Happy and healthy feet are stylish. Good rule of thumb. 

  • Word Lily replied 5 years ago

    I don't think they're dowdy at all! And comfort is important in shoes. Can you up the edge/funk in the rest of your wardrobe/accessories to compensate for the more sedate footwear? 

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    You're right of course - happy feet are much more stylish than limping feet! I guess I just have to get used to my footwear not being as much of an integral part of my style as it used to be.

    Word Lily - I think I can try and work in some edge in other ways. At least I hope so. I guess that's the million dollar question?

  • celia replied 5 years ago

    They might not be trendy but they aren't dowdy either, both are great shoes that will mesh well with your wardrobe.
    You have all the trendiness required for any outfit :)

  • Gaylene replied 5 years ago

    Comfort trumps pain, at least for me. After all, it's hard to look stylish when one is limping and one's face is contorted in pain.

    I agree with others that the shoes are more basic than trendy, but that doesn't mean you can't inject a good dose of your personal style in your haircut, handbags, eyewear, and other accessories. And, for what it's worth, I've always held to the idea that personal style comes the way one puts an outfit together instead of from any single element.

  • Maneera replied 5 years ago

    I love both those shoes. I'd wear them in a heartbeat! I especially like the wedges. They are ABSOLUTELY not dowdy.....the texture on the wedge heel adds just the right touch of detail.

    I also quite like the ballet flats. I can't believe THOSE are shoes for people with foot problems! *gasp* You should honestly see the s**t they sell in India for problematic feet! These shoes are lovely, Shannon

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    These are excellent shoes, Shannon. They look classic and simple -- not trendy, no -- but definitely not dowdy. I think you can try to "trend up" in other parts of the closet including bags. Luckily, bags do not cause foot pain and are available in a wide range of latest styles at Danier! ;)

  • Suz replied 5 years ago

    ETA, I also think this is one place where living in a climate like ours might actually be a benefit in the sense that we really can't wear the most fashionable shoes for half the year anyway! Let's face it -- we are limited to boots for one half the the year. Thank goodness there are some good looking boots and boots are often easier to wear, too! 

  • Diana replied 5 years ago

    I think they look great, maybe not trendy but classic and very sophisticated.  I would not have pegged either as a comfort shoe based on looks alone. 

    Hmm, maybe I should try Vionics.  I have a lot of the same foot issues as you except I think my feet are narrower and lower.  How high is the arch?  I have this weird problem where I need arch support but most comfort shoes have too MUCH arch support and then my foot hurts because it's forced to arch too high. 

  • annagybe replied 5 years ago

    Did you see my response to ABC a few days ago? It's about 1/2 down with links to how to style ballet flats.

  • Transcona Shannon replied 5 years ago

    Glad y'all think I can "trend" up an outfit :)

    Maneera - I'm glad that manufacturers are at least trying to make "comfort" shoes look decent. They're not great but certainly better than what used to be available.

    Diane - the arch in Vionic is very high and I suspect would be uncomfortable for anyone with a medium high arch.

    Anna - ha! Does this mean for once I'm actually on trend at the right time? Lol :)

  • MsMaven replied 5 years ago

    I have similar foot problems, but now add some arthritis and can't really wear heels--even low heels--very comfortably. 

    I had some Clarks flats a few years back that had a Vionic footbed and went on to get a couple of pairs of the Vionic thongs and hooray, I can wear them around the house and into the yard for hours a day and let my toes breathe.

    I like both shoes but the ballet shoes look like something I want to try myself. It is almost impossible for me to wear ballet shoes these days. My thanks to you for posting these, because I want to try them.

  • kerry replied 5 years ago

    I think they're both great. Awesome finds!

  • deb replied 5 years ago

    Shannon, the Vionics work great for my fee also. I say keep both.

  • SandyG replied 5 years ago

    I plunged from fabulous edgy footwear to basic, neutral shoes and my outfits suffered -- or my psyche did. It's awful to be in physical pain --and -- have emotional pain from not looking the way you want. It's taken  time but I've shifted my focus toward handbags and accessories for all my edgy touches. 

    The shoes you've selected look great. One problem solved!

  • Nebraskim replied 5 years ago

    I have the poison eye for ballet-type flats but these with the cap toe look cute and not dowdy/frumpy. To me, dowdy/frumpy occurs when you veer into the "thick soles with laces" sort of look. But I resigned myself to "comfort shoes" years ago when I decided it was more important to me to not deal with painful feet (and be able to run and walk) than to have cruel shoes. There are killer shoes style wise, and killer shoes pain wise and killer shoes comfort wise. I prefer the latter. QVC carries a lot of Vionic brand shoes, and I look at their site a lot, but have never purchased from them. I have tried on the brand and find them very comfortable.

    Editing to add that Vionic does sell their insoles separately, so rather than spring big for a pair of shoes, Diana might want to see if the insoles work in her current shoes and then go from there.

  • gradfashionista replied 5 years ago

    I think both of the styles work. They're conservative, but will go with most of your outfits.

    Just wanted to offer sympathy regarding your foot woes. I have size ee bunions, narrow heels, and extremely low volume feet due to collapsed arches, so all shoes except my Lems cause me some to degree of pain. It does severely limit what I can wear, too, if I don't want to be in pain within the first five minutes of walking.

  • shedev replied 5 years ago

    I think the shoes are cute.

  • Elle replied 5 years ago

    Both are classics and will work well with a lot of outfits.  Not dowdy at all.  Glad you have found a brand that works for your feet!

  • Thistle replied 5 years ago

    I am not the biggest fan of ballet flats, but I do like the wedges. Comfort trumps style every single time in my book. If my feet aren't happy, none of me is happy!

  • carter replied 5 years ago

    Comfortable shoes trump all for me. When I got out of the cast last year, I bought a pair of Vionic slippers. OMG. I can't wait to put them back on every night. I knew they also made sandals, but I'm thrilled to see they make real shoes as well. I really like the ballet flats. I'm off to zappos to investigate:-)

  • CocoLion replied 5 years ago

    Not dowdy and I have an extremely sensitive frump detector. They look more like a classic shoe than a comfort shoe.  Also thanks for the review now I'm going to check them out!

  • cheryle (Dianthus) replied 5 years ago

    I haven't read all the responses because I need to go for a walk :) but I particularly like the wedge pair.  I like the texture on the heels. It adds a lot of visual interest.  I like the flats too and they also have a nice combination of material.  I looked again and don't see why they can't be used in a current outfit that works for you.

    I am finding my feet are often sore too.  Boo

  • abc replied 5 years ago

    I haven't read any replies, but to be honest, when I read your title and description, I was thinking, oh no...but then I saw the pics and was like WOW, I would wear both of them myself, I don't see dowdy at all.  I really like them both.  I say thumbs up.

  • Deborah replied 5 years ago

    Shannon, on your previous post you were wearing a lovely pair of shoes with the cross over elastic (?).  As I viewed your outfit pics, it crossed my mind that these were really stylish 'comfort' shoes.  Now the 'comfort shoe' is something I have always dreaded but I was really impressed with how cool they looked on you.  I didn't make the comment I suppose because the term comfort shoe sometimes has negative associations :)  Both of these shoes above look great.  I don't even think "comfort shoe" when I look at them :)

  • donnat replied 5 years ago

    Those shoes are definately not dowdy. Both pairs are quite classic. Don't even give it a second thought. You will work them in seamlessly with your look.

  • replied 5 years ago

    I second what abc says. I'm surprised these are in the 'comfort shoe' category. Both look classic to me.

  • unfrumped replied 5 years ago

    I like the ballet flats, as I think the key to better-looking ballet's is a bit of a true heel, sturdier construction (not dowdy-heavy) and very slightly ovalish toe. The wedges look great so if they're comfortable that's a plus--I feel stable in wedges, but can't tolerate the pressure from the heel height for all-day wear, still.

    The other thing in sticking to your comfort guns is to keep gravitating toward those styles that are more inherently comfortable--Angie's post today--loafers, boots--and find some that look sharp and modern, and build some outfits around them.  The holy Grail for me is some kind of summer bootie that works with skirts, as usually they are feet-friendly.

  • jenanded replied 5 years ago


  • shevia replied 5 years ago

    Both of these shoes will support your outfits beautifully and don't look one bit dowdy to me. 

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