Age-Wise Style: The Return of the Walkable Shoe

Photo: Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images; Imaxtree (2)

InStyle’s Fashion Director Cindy Weber Cleary has been a fashion editor for the past 20+ years. Needless to say, she’s picked up some tricks along the way. Catch her column here each week for how-to tips and style secrets on her favorite, timeless styles. This week, we gave readers the chance to ask Cindy style questions on Facebook. Here, Cindy responds to one lucky reader. Head over to our Facebook page and submit an idea for Cindy’s next column!

Q. "I have always loved the look of high heels, but I am always on the run these days. Is there a comfortable, non-frumpy alternative?" ---Janice Z., 51 years old

A. For the longest time, fashion shows presented exciting but extreme footwear: 4-inch stilettos, towering platforms, elaborate, strappy concoctions that require serious concentration to get on and off. And then suddenly, the fashion tide turned starting last spring and comfortable styles ranging from Birkenstock-like slides and sneakers to sandals, pumps, and boots with a solid 2- to 3-inch heel stepped onto the runways. What a relief for the models who are able to stride instead of tiptoe! What a treat for all of us women leading fast, full and busy lives!

Personally, I never liked the look of Tevas and sport sandals for anything other than active sports. And I wouldn't attempt the round-the-clock sneaker trend (paired with everything from dressy track pants to tailoring to black tie ensembles) which so many street-style types have adopted—although I have seen a few elegant older women sporting them with chic, daytime separates, such as a trench, turtleneck, long scarf and cropped pants, successfully. I think you have to be quite tall, slim, and self-assured to pull this off.

But I love the new mid-heel sandals, loafers, pumps and boots! They work with a variety of hemlines from above the knee to mid-calf. They must, however, be worn with bare legs. Many designers and stylists chose to pair them with matching ankle socks for a "bootie" effect. In reality, I would advise against it. When the weather becomes too cool for bare legs, better to go with a tall boot or stick with pants.

Here are some of my favorite "walking shoes":



From left: Whistles, $255,; Reed Krakoff, $695,; J.Crew, $198,,



From left: 3.1 Phillip Lim, $475,; H&M, $60,; Vince, $425,,



From left: Stuart Weitzman, $385,; Marni, $710,; Tibi, $375,



From left: Rag & Bone, $775,; Zara, $119,; See by Chloe, $380,

Shop now—who knows when your feet will be this happy again! And don't forget to buy a Fitbit too (—you deserve points for all the extra steps.

Runway inspiration (at top, from left): Hermes, Boss, Valentino.

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