A Commuter’s Guide to Comfortable & Fashionable Footwear

What you wear on your feet makes a final statement about you. 

They explain, without words, what your personality is like, what kind of day it is, where you are going and what you are going to do.  As a commuter this year, I consider a lot with my shoes. I walk or sometimes even run to the train station. As a student on a large city campus, I walk on pavement, concrete and other hard surfaces outside to get from one class to the next. I hate waiting for the long elevator lines which means I have to walk up and down several staircases! The shoes on my feet have an impact on my mood for the day.

Let’s be clear, there is a lot of walking a commuter student has to do everyday. Stiletto heels are not the ideal shoe to wear to class, but that doesn’t mean you can’t dress up a cute outfit or have to dress like you are prepared to hike up a mountain.

Improper footwear can lead to problems like bunions and excruciating joint pain. This happens with footwear that has no support, like flip-flops. Some have an arch, but still are not okay for a commuter, as flip-flops are too open and give no protection to that open foot. Since they are so flat and thin, they give little to no shock absorption. This also goes for slippers or leisure footwear, too! Ballet flats are cute and comfy alternatives to wearing a heel, but they can be doing more damage than you think since they are like flip-flops. I have prepared a list of some of my favorite shoes that are both comfortable and fashionable.

Just because I want to be comfortable does not mean I am passing on the height. I am under five feet tall so these block heels are my favorite for dressing up my outfits. They give me about two more inches and are more comfortable than a regular heel. Since they are thicker, there is more surface area for the weight of the body to distribute itself which is better on the body. Also, you can’t run to class to be on time for your presentation on skinny sticks. If you can run in them, well, that is impressive.

Wedges can be really boring sometimes but we’re really going for comfort this time. I love my wedges because they not only give me four inches, but they are so strappy. It’s important to have formal taller footwear (heels, wedges, etc.) with straps or laces to support the ankle. Like with any taller shoe, they can start to hurt after some time. Massaging and treating your feet when you get home from a commute with a formal shoe on -- with an ice pack and heating pad just to be safe -- definitely helps.

When the weather starts to get colder as we move into into pumpkin-spice-season, slide into cute wedge ankle booties. These are great for almost any occasion, from just a normal lecture class to a formal presentation in front of classmates. I even wear them to work at a hotel. For closed shoes and boots like these, the key to comfort is space. Always shop for shoes that have room and are not too tight. I like to buy pairs that are actually a little larger than my actual size.

Sperrys are comfy and semi-formal. I know there is a whole guide for semi-formal and formal sneakers, but in my opinion, these can be worn with anything. Maybe not with a gown, but you get the idea. I have even worn these to my desk at the hotel as well! These are by far one of my favorite pair of sneakers to wear out because of their comfort. They are stable and have an arch. Popular shoes like Adidas Superstars and Converse have no arch or support. If you are a huge fan of the basic Adidas Superstar shoes like me, purchase insoles to put inside.

These sneakers are awesome! They not only have arch support and are fashionable, but they also have support for the ankle. Always get sneakers that have a stable arch and ankle support. To get a great workout from your Zumba class without immense pain afterwards, it’s important to know when to get rid of your sneakers. Some sources say to replace them every six months. I don’t really follow this rule, but make sure that you have sneakers that are not worn as that can cause some discomfort too.

I know this is a lot of new advice and information. You aren’t sure whether to throw away your shoes and replace them. But don’t worry -- you don't have to. Next time you go shopping, now you know the right questions to ask yourself. Reflecting on my past month at Temple University, once I took these tips into consideration, commuting has gotten easier and my feet are happier and yours should be too.