Living in the image-conscious, pedestrian city of New York means I usually walk or take the subway, and figuring out how to
make dress shoes more comfortable has become a matter of survival. Commuting in heels is a power move: You appear to be both extremely well-dressed in a Devil Wears Prada sort of way, and mysteriously impervious to pain in an intimidating X-Men sort of way.
If you're on your feet all day at work – or perhaps, like me, you live in a walking city –
comfortable dress shoes are actually imperative for your overall foot health. Similarly, if you are attending an hours-long event like a conference or wedding, you want to be fully present for the occasion – not distracted by pinched toes or a new blister. It's hard to be your best self or have your best time when your feet hurt. What's more, if you have foot or joint problems, additional insoles or gel pads might be vital to get through the day in any kind of footwear.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, the products on this list are sure to go a long way in transforming your dress shoes into something that feels infinitely more manageable, maybe even downright luxurious. From toe separators and heel pads to a leather stretching spray and therapeutic foot cream, the innovative products below can help you stay on your feet long after midnight.
These Medical-Grade Adhesive Gel Squares That Soothe And Protect
These small, hypoallergenic
hydrogel patches cool on contact and take the sting out of blisters and other raw spots, all while providing a thin layer of protection so those areas can heal. The Spenco patches take up just one square inch and go on completely clear so they fly under the radar. They're made from 80% purified water, and are non-medicated and latex-free for universal use.
A Pair Of Ultra-Thin Gel Insoles That Won't Crowd Tight Shoes
thin gel insoles were designed specifically to provide support and cushioning, without taking up precious space inside your dress shoes. This pair is up to 30% thinner than regular gel insoles and features Dr. Scholl's iconic massaging gel. One reviewer noted: "12 hours on my feet in dress shoes with no pain afterward."
This Conditioning Spray That Can Soften & Stretch Tight Fitting Shoes
truly custom fit, a shoe-stretching spray makes it easy to target tightness. This one is perfect for leather, suede, canvas, or linen because it won't stain or fade natural materials. It's so effective, one shopper used it on a pair of horseback riding boots: "I was worried about spraying my high end boots but had little to lose at this point...The fit was PERFECT!"
An Easy-To-Use Shoe Stretcher For Bigger Fit Adjustments
If you have wide feet or bunions, this classic
shoe stretcher is for you. It will increase the all-over width or length of a shoe, and this one can also address fit issues along the instep or the side of the toe box. With each purchase comes two shoe stretchers, eight bunion plugs, two heighten pads, a shoe horn, and a waterproof shoe bag. "These things work great," one shopper reported. "100% better than before!"
These Molded Cushions That Prevent Feet From Sliding Forward
ball-of-foot pads make a genius impact-absorbing cushion for high heels. The molded shape keeps your feet from sliding forward, so more of your sole is supported to relieve pressure on your toes for a comfortable wear. Cushy polyurethane gel is layered underneath nubby sweat-wicking fabric to keep your feet clean and dry no matter how long you're in those power shoes. With a 4.6-star Amazon rating after more than 1,900 reviews, you know these little pads are a game-changer.
This Set Of Adhesive Heel Grips To Avoid Blisters
heel grips stick in your shoes and keep them from sliding off the back of your foot. They also work to reduce the friction between your shoes and feet to avoid pain and blisters. It's smart to have a selection of colors on-hand, so you can match them precisely when you find the perfect pair of shoes that's just a little too big. "Insert these bad boys and I can wear the shoes ALL DAY with no discomfort. Buying more and putting these on all my shoes!" one shopper raved. Available colors: 10 colors
These Blister Relief Plasters That Treat And Protect
blister plasters help absorb moisture while cushioning tender skin so it can heal. These have a honeycomb structure for added protection and breathability, and each pack comes with five plasters that are easy to stash in your purse or backpack. One reviewer noted, "[...] Bandaids were useless and then I found these. Unbelievable. Thick, stays on for at least 2 days. No more blisters, guaranteed!"
A Gel Insole That Makes High Heels More Comfortable
This 3/4-length cushioning gel
insoles for heels were designed with targeted arch support to shift pressure off the forefoot. Amazon reviews call these "the secret to wearing heels," adding, "I couldn't believe how comfortable these were and how they properly shifted the weight in my feet. I had no pain and could walk like a boss."
Some Adhesive Sole Grips For Extra Traction
Dress shoes often have smooth (and slippery) soles right out of the box that set you up for slips. That's why these nifty
sole grip pads are lifesavers. With up to 1,300 tiny grips per piece, they give you extra traction, but at less than 2 millimeters thick, you'll hardly notice them. They're also water-resistant and remove easily without damaging your shoes. Available colors: 2 colors
A No-Show Gel Insole For Arch Support
arch support pads provide much-needed support to dress shoe insoles, which aren't typically molded to fit the foot like our beloved sneakers. They help remedy a variety of complaints, including flat feet, narrow feet, and plantar fasciitis. Their damage-free adhesive allows you to transfer them to different pairs of shoes, and the translucent Technogel is discreet enough to fly under the radar – even in your strappiest sandals.
These Adhesive Silicone Strips That Keep Slingbacks From Slipping
Thin adhesive silicone strips keep slingbacks and
sandal straps in place to prevent blisters and rubbing (or accidentally walking out of your shoes). "Tiny item, big result," one shopper said. Another added, "They were super easy to apply, and once I tried my shoes back on - perfect!" Available colors: 2 colors
This Toe Separator That's Great For Bunions
Even the comfiest shoe can be painful if you don't address the underlying cause. A pack of
toe separators help bring all ten back into alignment, and even people who don't "need" them for things like bunions or hammertoes can still benefit: the design helps mitigate the everyday wear of your foot conforming itself to the shape of your shoes. These soft gel separators are washable, latex-free, and hypoallergenic.
These Inserts For Shoes That Are Too Big
memory foam shoe inserts fills in extra space in your shoes for a secure fit that prevents heel slippage. They're especially good for anyone who experiences sizing issues due to swelling, narrow feet, wearing two different sizes, or who bought the last killer pair of heels in a store despite knowing full well that they were too big.
A Set Of Heel Caps For On-The-Go Repairs
heel caps are a smart addition to keep in your purse or at your desk for last-minute repairs (because you never lose heel tips when it's convenient). These slip neatly over stilettos to patch you up and eliminate both clicking and slipping until you can get to a cobbler. They are offered in different sizes to accommodate different heels, and you can purchase these in black or taupe to blend in with the original cap. Available colors: 2 colors Available sizes: XS - L
This Seriously Effective Foot Peel With A Cult Following
Calluses are how your body protects itself but, over time, that tough skin can build up and become uncomfortable. This easy-to-use
foot peel relies on papaya enzymes and lactic acid to gently yet oh-so-effectively dissolve the bonds between dead skin cells, and does so with the help of some pretty cool, leak-proof booties. Wear them for 60-90 minutes and healing process is underway. "Freaking unbelievable!" one shopper exclaimed."
A Small Toe Bunion Guard To Relieve Pressure And Rubbing
Bunions, whether they're on the pinky toe or big toe, can create uncomfortable pressure and friction, especially when wearing dress shoes (which might be the culprit for having them in the first place!). These
seamless bunion guards slip easily over the fifth toe to provide targeted cushioning where you need it. The thin, Latex-free "smart gel" won't irritate raw skin and fits easily inside your shoes. They're also available for the big toe if you have bunions on that side, and you can even pick it up in a multipack so you always have a spare.
A Set Of Eco-Friendly Natural Shoe Deodorizers
There's comfortable, and then there's
comforting. Foot odor is a fact of life, but with this set of 12 shoe deodorizers — made from linen, sustainable bamboo, and detoxifying charcoal — you can eliminate it naturally. The charcoal bags are made with all-natural materials and can also be used for places like dresser drawers or gym bags. Plus, they "recharge" when you set them out in the sun. It couldn't be easier.
A Pair Of Moisturizing Heel Socks To Give Cracked Heels Some TLC
moisturizing spa socks help mend dry, cracked, or irritated heels thanks to their hydrating gel pads and toeless compression fit. You can pair them with your favorite moisturizer or balm for best results. The best part is that they're washable and reusable. "With or without lotion/cream rubbed into your heels before using, these gems work well," one shopper said. Available colors: 12 colors Available sizes: 2 sizes
These Clear High Heel Protectors That Help You Walk On Grass
Outdoor parties are so much fun... In flats. This
Shark Tank-famous invention slips over high heels to widen the base and provide enhanced stability on turf. You can wear these clear heel protectors on or off the lawn – anywhere you need a little extra balance – thanks to their translucent materials that won't distract from your shoes and comes in three different sizes to accommodate most standard high heels.
These No-Show Socks That Won't Slide Down
low-cut socks are discreet under dress shoes like oxfords or loafers and create an essential barrier between your foot and your shoe, protecting your skin from chafing while wicking away sweat to curtail odor or athlete's foot. These have silicone heel grips to prevent sliding, and for just $13, you can pick up nearly a week's supply for a song. Available colors: 5 colors Available sizes: 3 sizes
These Ultra Low-Cut Socks That Are Ideal For Ballet Flats
These incredibly low-cut,
no-show socks are invisible under ballet flats and high heels but still keep your feet dry and comfortable. These have silicone and gel grips on the heel to keep them from sliding down when you walk, and shoppers report that the 80% cotton blend is both soft and surprisingly thick. Available colors: 7 options Available sizes: 1 size fits most
The Coziest Sheepskin Insoles For Frigid Days
For when you want to go
all out, a pair of sheepskin insoles with a double layer of foam will make your dress shoes feel like hotel slippers. These are especially good for cold climates, because the sheepskin provides extra (hidden and fluffy!) insulation on chilly nights. "Warm and comfortable. The padded sole is great!" one Amazon review noted. "Definitely an upgrade to my shoes," another wrote.
A Deeply Moisturizing Foot Cream That's Also Anti-Fungal
foot cream with organic coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax offers intensive moisture and repair, while the blend of ten essential oils are naturally anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory to protect against athlete's foot and soothe achy feet. It goes on like an oily balm so it soaks in deeply, and the all-natural ingredient list is something you can feel good about putting on your skin day after day. Bustle may receive a portion of sales from products purchased from this article, which was created independently of Bustle's editorial and sales departments.