Great shoes that won’t break your ankle

I know, I know, the five-inch spike heels are gorgeous…in theory. In reality, very few people can walk in those, and even at 28, I’m looking at them and thinking, “My poor feet are too old for that!” I can wear heels, if I add enough padding under the ball of my foot, but I’m usually a lot more comfortable in low-heeled or flat shoes. So here are a few really cute choices that won’t cause you an epic faceplant moment. (Not guaranteeing that you won’t fall on your face–I’ve joked for years that it would have been a sad, sick joke if my parents had named me Grace–but if you do, it won’t be the shoes’ fault.) Please note that the styles here are for inspiration, and that nobody’s expecting you to go out and drop a mortgage payment on a single pair of shoes if, like me, you don’t have that kind of money just lying around.

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D’Orsay flats are huge for this spring, and it’s a good thing, because the d’Orsay cut (with the toe done as one piece and the back that comes up towards the ankle) has traditionally been related to very awkward high heels. (In fact, a d’Orsay high heel is number one on my “I love it, but I’d break my neck if I tried to wear it” list.) The pointed toe on this pair by Eileen Fisher ($195, Dillard’s) makes them great for peeking out from under a pair of boot-leg jeans, while the ankle strap makes them unique compared to the hundreds of d’Orsay flats available this season.

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Here in the Charlotte area, we’re getting the first tentative hints of an attempt at spring. It’s coming early this year–usually I joke that our seasons are summer, winter, April, and October–but it’s still not warm enough for these. Once spring is actually here, though, these smoking slippers from Tory Burch ($285, Neiman Marcus) will be great for lightening up a work outfit.

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This Steve Madden bootie ($159, Nordstrom) would be good with jeans, but it’s also an unexpected touch paired with a short dress for a night out. The strap detail keeps it from looking too much like a cowboy boot.

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You can get a cute, pointed-toe skimmer flat anywhere. But what I love about this pair by Loeffler Randall ($325, Piperlime) is the wavy detailing at the opening, as well as the fantastic shade of pink.

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I love the way these oxfords (kate spade new york, $278, Zappos Couture) blend the classic menswear styling of an oxford with the cutout detail that gives a touch of femininity. Wear these with a blouse and crisply creased trousers for work.

Towering heels are sexy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get a great pair of shoes that leave your feet firmly planted on the ground. Sensible doesn’t have to mean ugly!

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