Recently, on day long tour of York, I wore killer Spanish loafers. They were sharp, shiny and, pointy -toed. Also very flat.
A few hours later, after the shops, museums and the fabulous York Minster, not only were my feet burning from pounding the pavements on those flat leather soles, but my back and my hips were none too happy either.
Leave the ballet flats and leather soles at home. Ditto the stillettos. Instead, look for shoes that are city smart but pamper your feet.
We like these a lot.
01 of 10
English-made Hotter Shoes has been around for more than 50 years but are only recently making a splash in the fashion and comfort shoes stakes. At their Lancashire factory, they make sandals, slip-ons, Mary Janes and rather quirkly high heels. We like this model, called Bliss, with a diagonal, velcro-fitted strap and a well cushioned heel. One of the characteristics of this brand is the very generous toe box on all of their closed toe models. You can buy them online but if you're visiting the UK and like very comfortable shoes that change seasonally, look for their shops. There are about 100 around the country and quite a few are in popular tourist destinations. I guess their marketing team has worked out just where you'll be when you need some new comfy shoes.
02 of 10
Well I did say I liked Mary Janes. Every year they make a come back and they also seem to be sneaking back in style so it was only a matter of time before someone decided to make them ultra-comfy for walking. Arcopedico makes totally comfortable travel shoes in Portugal and these are set to become classics. They are anatomically designed and feature Arcopedico's patented "Foot Mattress" for all day support. Dreamy for your feet. They're smart enough to wear with skirts and all but the glitziest outfits and they come in red plus lots of sophisticated neutral colors, like pewter, black, navy and cafe. This year there are three pretty florals too.
03 of 10
Let's be honest here: Ballet flats are not the greatest shoes for walking around and sight-seeing. Without arch support, they can lead to really painful feet after several hours. But Danish shoe company ECCO has made a name in the past few years for very comfortable walking shoes and sandals. Lately, they've branched out into smarter looking shoes, like these descriptively named Pointy Ballerinas. They come in Nubuck or leather and in a handful of yummy colors - blue, red, taupe, saffron, black. They promise all of ECCO's cushiony comfort in a sligthtly dressy, urban shape. We're not 100 per cent convinced you'll really want to put in a full day of sightseeing in these, but as a spare pair to change into to ease your sore tootsies, these could fit the bill.
04 of 10
Sometimes you just need a pair of trim little pumps. If you are going to spend your day shopping in smart shops - on London's Bond Street, say - followed by a smart dinner and then theatre to follow, you don't want to shuffle around in a pair of flatties, no matter how cute and comfortable they are. Leave it to those clever comfort techies at Hush Puppies to come up with a low-rise basic dress pump with just enough curvy lift for comfort and style. Lightweight and with all-over cushioning, it has a latex foam padded footbed with extra cushioning in front to soften the impact on the ball of the foot. All kinds of colors - including lovely prints, metallic gold and lots of solids. This is a wear all day kind of shoe.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
A higher heel can, surprisingly, make shoes easier to walk in for many women. We aren't talking stilettos here - but a modest (and sturdy) 1 1/2 to 2 inch heel. They also make them more versatile for urban travel - stylish enough to go from day to night. This shoe has a shock absorbing outer sole and the cushioning of a foam insole and a contoured footbed. The cross-over straps are comfortably stretchy. And the whole package is pretty enough to wear out to drinks and dinner yet relaxed enough to team with trousers. This one is definitely an enduring classic that comes in lots of neutrals, including a dove grey and pearl white.
06 of 10
We all know that Hush Puppies are supposed to be comfortable but these aptly-named Epic Mary Janes surprise with their city-trim style. There's all the usual Hush Puppies science behind them - cushioning, soft leather uppers, removable and cushiony soft suede insoles. But here's the bottom line - from the minute you put them on, they feel fabulous. And, the constructuction of these shoes makes them real winners for sightseeing and travel.
07 of 10
We've been a fans of Clarks sandals and flats for years for the way they are comfortable from the off - usually with no breaking-in required. The latest crop of Clarks sandals are true to form, well-padded and cushioned, with Velcro straps so you can customize the fit. They come in a useful range of colors - black, tan and a metallic pewter that's nice against bare skin in warmer weather. We particularly like the the extra cushioned pad that protects the Achilles tendon - a sore spot if ever there was one for tired feet.
08 of 10
If it looks like there are a lot of strappy little flats and Mary Janes on our list this season, that's because they make such great travel shoes. They have just the right profile for hiding loads of cushioning, inside and out. They're casual enough for jeans and trousers but they're also smart enough to team with a skirt.
These, by Clarks, incorporate Wave, the company's patented curved EVA sole. The idea is that feet roll smoothly over each step for low stress and top comfort. They also have removable orthofoam inserts that mold to your feet for extra cushioning. They even come with an endorsement from the American Podiatric Medical Association. Who can argue with that. Only shortcoming? In 2017, we can only find them in black or brown.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
09 of 10
Portugese hand-made Arcopedico Shoes always look like classics while they conceal double arch supports, removable orthotics and other shock absorbing features. These deceptively simple flats offer lightweight comfort with good support. They may not be eye candy but you will not forget how delicious your feet feel when you wear them. And you can kick them off at airport security with ease. Winners.
10 of 10
If you love flats but really hate spending a whole day standing up in them, these, invented by an Australian podiatrist might change your mind. The feature what their inventor calls Orthaheel technology. Basically, it is a removable orthotic that provides extra support and cushioning to relieve heel pain. The elasticized top line hugs your foot for a custom fit - so no worries about walking right out of them, as often happens with flatties. They promise to improve body alignment, posture and walking gait. And they're pretty cute too. They come in bronze or pewter lizard.