These Podiatrist-Approved Booties Are the Only 3-Inch Heels I Can Walk in

PureWow editors select every item that appears on this page, and the company may earn compensation through affiliate links within the story. All prices are accurate upon date of publish. You can learn more about the affiliate process here.

vionic harper bootie

I have an admission: I used to be a Heels Person. As in, you’d very rarely see me in shoes that didn’t add at least three-plus inches of height to my 5’2” frame. That would be the case whether my day required walking fifty steps or 10 miles. Just as Victoria Beckham once said, “I just can't concentrate in flats.”

I always joked that one day my feet would pay the price and just like Posh Spice did in 2016, I’ve since retired my love of sky-high shoes. My decision has everything to do with developing super painful bunions that have led to arthritis and other fun issues that I won’t get into. Suffice it to say, I’m rather friendly with my podiatrist these days and she’s helped me transition from towering knee-high boots and stilettos to a more sensible collection of flat fall boots and sneakers. But that’s not to say that I don’t dream of wearing heels every now and then.

Which is why I was so excited to discover Vionic’s Harper Block Heel Bootie ($180) at a virtual event the brand put on last month. Between the trendy square toe and chunky heel—plus the faux croc detail—these were the kind of shoes I knew would become a staple in my closet. So long as they didn’t hurt my feet.

Luckily, Vionic is not only a podiatrist-approved brand, but it was founded by a foot doctor. The brand’s all about creating shoes that maintain stability and support, specially engineering each design to keep your foot in its natural alignment. At the virtual event, the brand mentioned that the Harper Booties were primed to become a best seller, cementing my desire to try them for myself. Who cares if they’re inches taller than any shoe in my current rotation?

I opted for the simple black croc colorway (which looks like it would cost much more than $180) and slipped them on as soon as they arrived. My first thought? My podiatrist would love these.

The Harper booties come with a molded and cushioned footbed, which felt pretty similar to the orthotics my podiatrist made for me. The boot cradled my arch and supported the area right under the balls of my toes. In fact, the cushioned insole feels so different than those found in other shoes that Vionic added a little disclaimer on Nordstrom’s site: “We recommend wearing new Vionic footwear for limited hours in the first few days of use to allow feet to adjust to a new level of orthotic comfort and support.”

So, I spent a few hours wearing the Harper boots while walking around my apartment—on the carpet, just in case I wanted to return them. I found that the not-too-flexible sole still made it easy to walk in the three-inch block heel and after a while, I felt confident enough to wear them out. With a half-mile walk to and from my fave outdoor wine bar, I’m pleased to say that I developed not a single blister and didn’t feel even a second of pain in my big toes. As for the supportive footbed? I didn’t find it irritating in the least.

I’m now using any excuse I can get to wear these booties. Runs to the grocery store? You bet. Going on a neighborhood walk? Why not? Doing laundry across the hall? Embarrassingly, yes. Anyways, if you see me this fall and winter, don’t be surprised if the Harper Booties are on my feet.

dena silver headshot

Fashion Editor

From 2019-2021 Dena Silver held the role of Fashion Editor covering product recommendations, trends, and what you should be shopping this season.