by Jonathan Vatner | September 01, 2006

Geox GretaWithout comfortable shoes, a sure-footed planner is a sore-footed planner. It’s not always easy, however, to find pain-free footwear that can be worn in a business environment without raising eyebrows. Check out these models.

Clark’s are a tried-and-true brand that has produced generations’ worth of comfy shoes. Plus, they’re an excellent value. For men, try the Code ($94), a simple, lightweight loafer that can be worn in most business situations. The Lancer ($79) is a conservative but attractive women’s shoe with a slightly raised heel; 11/2 inches is just enough to add height without crushing toes. (800) 624-7463;

The Danish company ECCO claims its shoes fit the whole foot but leave the toes free to wiggle. A good men’s option is the Century Bicycle Toe Slip-On ($170); for women, try the traditional but chic Kansas Buckle ($130). (800) 886-3226;

GEOX soles have tiny holes to allow feet to breathe, plus a special insole that wicks off perspiration. Women might prefer the Greta ($145; above), an attractive, standard style. The Cuoio Quick ($210) is a similarly functional men’s shoe. (877) 862-2681;

Masai Barefoot Technology was invented when a Swiss engineer realized the Masai people in East Africa hadn’t heard of back pain -- and never wore shoes. MBT shoes replicate the foot’s natural position, improving posture and circulation as a result. The Black Casual shoe ($245) can be worn in business-casual settings by either gender.