Courtesy of Allbirds

We tried three shoes that boast comfort and style—and our soles are smiling

Nena Farrell, Kelsey Maloney, and Jessica Mordo  – December 11, 2018 | Updated October 23, 2019

Whoever says beauty necessitates pain hasn’t picked up a pair of walking shoes lately. Some of the coolest new kids on the block are known for their winning combination of comfort and style, and even add a touch of sustainability. We gave three of these shoes a try, and it’s safe to say that this is a trend we hope sticks around.

Courtesy of Rothy’s

Rothy’s Slip-On Sneaker, $125

Since launching in 2016, Rothy’s exemplifies the marriage of sustainability and style. Their women’s shoes are made from 100% post-consumer water bottles. The sustainable materials are not only in the upper knitting but continue into the insoles, which contain recycled foam. The rubber soles are carbon-free; even the adhesives used are non-toxic and vegan. To top it off, each pair of shoes comes in biodegradable packaging.  

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Rothy’s has a few specific designs that come in a variety of colors. “The Sneaker” is a favorite of ours since it’s flexible and soft. The breathable material encourages air circulation, making these slip-on shoes easy to wear in warmer temperatures. The Sneaker runs on the snug side, so grab them in a half size larger to help keep blisters at bay. After a dusty hike or rainy day, throw the shoes into a washing machine to get them looking new again.

Courtesy of Allbirds

Allbirds Tree Loungers, $95

Allbirds became famous after their launch in 2016 for their ultra-comfortable, all-wool running shoe. But the brand didn’t stop there—their latest line, Tree, uses eucalyptus tree fiber to sustainably make a breathable knit fabric that has a smooth finish and cooling feel. The wool they’re famous for is still part of the design, too, in the form of a merino-lined insole. The Tree line has four different designs: Runner, Skipper, Lounger, and the new high-top Toppers. Allbird’s Tree Loungers caught our eye for the variety of colors, like Marine Blue and Kauri Coffee, and the slip-on style looks polished whether you’re headed to a day at the office or running errands around town.

Courtesy of New Balance

Fresh Foam Cruz v2 Nubuck, $59.99

This lightweight walking shoe by longtime reliable sneaker brand New Balance scores high on style and comfort. The foam sole provides hours of plush cushioning that will keep you going on a commute, long stroll, or busy day of running errands. While the heel might seem soft to the touch, it provides a surprising amount of support. And finally, a lace-up style that’s super easy to slip on, without having to loosen up the laces all that much. The semi-breathable knit covering keeps your feet from suffocating, and the nubuck saddle adds some serious flair. The shoe comes in a variety of color palettes, but we instantly swooned over the Wild Indigo with Deep Cosmic Sky for a surprisingly versatile hue that looks just as great with denim as it does with yoga pants. The price point is extra nice, too.