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Ask the Strategist: What Are the Most Comfortable Flats Under $200?

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In our advice column, Ask the Strategist, we take your most burning shopping questions and scour friends, call up experts, and draw from personal experience to answer them. As always, please comment with one of your own — we’re here to help.

Question: I really need some new black flats. Can you guys do a roundup of ones that have some support and aren’t $200?

We most definitely can. We decided to focus on the support and comfort part here because you can find cute black flats pretty much anywhere, but the issue is that they’ll give you blisters or be uncomfortable, and you’ll just want to throw them out and curse yourself for ever buying them after, like, three days of commuting.

Anyway, I posed the question to Indya Brown, a market editor over at the Cut who provided some very surprising answers: Aerosoles, Dr. Scholl’s, and a start-up called Rothy’s. But hold up. Can you even believe this respectable fashion person would dare suggest Aerosoles? Dr. Scholl’s? Is this grandmothers’ hour? I couldn’t believe it, but she said that Dr Scholl’s is “trying to be less old-people-oriented,” and she admitted to wearing Aerosoles just yesterday (!) so we gave them a look.


Aerosoles Push Ups

Let’s start here with a pair of very presentable-looking loafers.

Aersoles Fable Ballet Flat

A classic scrunchy-ballet-flat look, but this one won’t feel like you’re walking barefoot on concrete.

Aerosoles Girlfriend Slip-on Loafer

Get these slip-ons in “Black Snake” for some texture.

Betunia Smoking Slipper Loafer

Something between a ballet flat and a loafer, in a more casual leather.

Dr. Scholl’s

Dr. Scholl’s Exact

The patent-leather strap on this mule adds a little touch of fancy. There’s also a colder-weather-appropriate suede mule, and both have memory foam insoles for added cushioning.

Dr. Scholl’s Eden Mule
Dr. Scholl’s ‘Ashah’ Pointed Toe Flat

If you told people these were from Everlane, I don’t think anyone would know the difference. And they have memory foam. And here they are in snakeskin, too.

Friendly 2 Flat

Can’t go wrong with some simple, rounded black flats.


The Flat

Indya also introduced me to Rothy’s, a San Francisco–based start-up founded with the goal of making a women’s shoe that has the ease and comfort of a sneaker, but the looks of a “feminine flat.” They make four styles of flats — one round toe, one pointed — and each comes in lots of colors, are recyclable, machine-washable, moisture-free, and claim to use a “blister-free seamless knit.” Everything about it is very Silicon Valley. I haven’t worn them to verify all of these claims, but Indya has a pair, and she approves.

And a few more …

Cole Haan Original Grand WTIP Oxford

Otherwise, I also found a pair of Cole Haan oxfords and a pair of all-black oxford sneakers that are probably fancy enough to pull off as flats.

Beth Loafer

Taryn Rose is another comfort-shoe designer who actually started her career as an orthopedic surgeon. Her styles are a bit more on the pricey side, but these Beth Loafers and the more casual Kristine Loafers look worth it.

Kristine Loafer
Dansko Professional

And lastly, the Dansko, which are fugly, but also notoriously super comfortable.

Ask the Strategist: The Most Comfortable Flats Under $200