16 Pairs Of Flats That Are Just As Good As Heels, No Matter How Fancy You're Supposed To Be

With the rise of normcore fashion and menswear trends, it's become more and more acceptable for women to switch out their uncomfortably high heels for a pair of flats. Now, instead of awkwardly standing on one foot to switch into heels before entering the office, many women are confidently going to work in stylish (and comfortable) flats. The right pair of flats can easily look professional and put-together for the workplace or a date, and even sneakers are no longer relegated to the treadmill. With so many studies warning us about the long-term risks of wearing heels (not to mention the short-term pain and dangers of falling), it just makes sense to opt for flats whenever possible.

A world in which women are comfortable, pain-free, and able to move around with ease should be the norm. If for you, that means wearing heels, then go for it! But if you'd like to give your feet a little break now and then, consider investing in a few versatile pairs of flats. Click through to see 16 different pairs of heels with options for everyone's budget, whether you're looking to save or to splurge.

by Kelly Dougher


Instead of the usual black pumps, wear loafers to work when you have an important meeting. Paired with sleek tuxedo pants, a crisp white button-down with the sleeves pushed up, and an oversized watch, you’ll look very Jenna Lyons-esque in that effortlessly nerdy-chic way.

As long as you pick the right pair, they can make any outfit look sharp and professional. Avoid unstructured, plush loafers that bring to mind old men in bathrobes. On the other end of the spectrum, steer away from overly cutesy styles with kitten faces on them if you’re planning to wear them to work.

Left: H&M Loafers, h&, $15

Right: Salvatore Ferragamo Scotty Patent Leather Loafers,, $550


If you need a little bit more warmth during your wintery commute to work, consider another popular menswear trend: oxfords. While loafers usually look better sans bulky socks, oxfords cover up your feet entirely, leaving you free to layer as many socks as your heart desires. Whether you go for a classic black or tan pair, or opt for a pair that makes a statement with a small pop of neon or some leopard print, oxfords lend a bit of gravity to any outfit.

Pair your oxfords with black tights or chunky knee-high socks, then add a collared shirt dress and a cardigan for warmth. It’s the perfect cold weather outfit, whether you’re going to work or getting coffee with friends.

Left: Aldo Bust Oxford,, $30

Right: 3.1 Philip Lim Hacienda Leopard Print Oxford,, $247


Sneakers aren't just for working out anymore. Plenty of bloggers and off-duty models have been elevating their kicks with stylish ensembles, looking both cute and comfortable as they dash around fashion week.

Trying wearing your Converse or Nikes or whatever with a chic, all-black outfit to get that model-off-duty vibe. Leather leggings, a sheer black t-shirt, and a smart black blazer or coat will make for an outfit sleek enough to wear with sneakers (without anyone thinking you just stepped off the treadmill).

Left: Nike Air Pegasus ‘83,, $80

Right: Comme des Garcons High Top Canvas Sneakers,, $105

Knee-High Boots

Flat knee-high boots are a winter must-have, whether you live in the country or the city. Your feet and legs will be warm and you won’t have to worry about slipping on ice while wearing heels.

Dress them up for work with tights and a silk patterned dress with a bow for a ’70s vibe, and dress them down with skinny jeans and an oversized sweater for weekends.

Left: Apple Picking in Albany Boot,, $65

Right: Teresa Riding Boots,, $346

Mid-Calf Boots

Everyone needs a pair of black biker boots. They toughen up every outfit, whether it’s black skinny jeans or a pink miniskirt. Wear them to a concert or music festival and you won’t have to worry about getting mud in your shoes or having people jump on your toes.

Left: Acarerien Flat Boots,, $45

Right: Alexander McQueen Buckled Biker Boot,, $489

Ankle Boots

Ankle boots are another wardrobe necessity. They have more of an understated cool, and helpfully allow you to show off your legs while still keeping your feet and ankles warm.

Wear them for a night out with a white lace dress and a black leather jacket for a tough but sweet boho look. In these comfy boots, you’ll be prepared for whatever the night brings.

Left: Asos Chelsea Boots in Leather,, $85

Right: Saint Laurent Black Leather Double Buckle Studded Boots,, $738

Ballet Flats

Ah, the classic ballet flat. They’ve been waning in popularity lately as the menswear trend took over our wardrobes, but they will always be waiting patiently in the back of the closet, never going completely out of style. You can wear these instead of heels to work, to a baby shower, to do errands, on a date… You get the idea. They’re versatile, easy to dress up or down, and make an outfit look both chic and approachable in a way that heels can’t.

For weekends, pair them with thick leggings and a chunky sweater that reaches the knees, plus some delicate jewelry. To make them work-appropriate, try wearing them with a turtleneck, wide-legged belted trousers, and a camel trench coat.

Left: Gap Classic Leather Ballet Flats,, $40

Right: London Sole Henrietta Patent Leather Ballet Flats,, $205

T-Strap Flats

If you need a fancier footwear option, however, simple ballet flats won’t do. Pointed T-strap flats can easily take the place of stilettos when styled appropriately. Play up the retro vibe with a Peter Pan collar for the office, or even wear them to your wedding.

Left: Forever 21 Pointed T-Strap Flats,, $23

Right: Valentino Noir Rockstud Cage Ballerina Flat,, $995