Welcome back, comfort heel enthusiasts! This is a sequel to my previous post where I compare shoes advertised as "comfort heels". The next chapter in our foot-friendly fashion quest is comparing the INEZ slingback pump and the Antonia Saint NY stiletto.
Disclaimer The products mentioned in this blog post were purchased by me for an honest review and my own opinion, with no compensation from the brands discussed.
This brand has a wide variety of heels, sandals, and boots, touting "comfort by design" as its tagline. I will be reviewing the Mia model in Silver Woven. The comfort feature is a "proprietary plush insole with arch support". The heel height is 2.8", no hidden platform. I bought the standard width in a size 9.5 (this is a half-size down for me) for $220 (regular price $258, I found a coupon code!)
The reason I chose this style is because it resembles a Stuart Weitzman shoe I was considering initially for this occasion, but INEZ is 1/3 of the price (and I assumed, more comfortable).
I was able to do a field test and wore these shoes to a holiday party that involved a lot of walking, standing, and hours of dancing. I can confidently say: these are not comfort shoes, but they're cute! Let's get into the details.
- Classy packaging, includes a dust bag and extra heel tips
- Strap worked great, even without an adjustable buckle (it was scratchy on one side when I first put the shoes on, but I didn't have any irritation after wearing it to the party)
- Excellent arch support, as promised
- High price for a textile upper
- Upper became distorted after one wear
- No other (effective) comfort features besides the arch support
- Bruised several toenails, which I've never had happen with this type of shoe (I'll spare you photos of that)
Easy to both return and exchange for a bigger size using the intuitive web portal. 30 day window for returns/exchanges.
Note: I also purchased Diana in Black Suede, but returned them. They are beautiful shoes, but the higher heel was very uncomfortable — even for short amounts of time.
Antonia Saint NY (ASNY)
Post-purchase, I went down the Google rabbit hole to see the experience of my fellow shoppers, and I must admit, a smidge of nervousness crept in 😬 It seems the brand got its start by crowdfunding a custom high heel insole that's fit to the wearer's foot via a phone app. Alas, the delivery of that promise was fashionably late (for those that did receive the custom insoles). Since then, the company has pivoted to selling ready-to-wear shoes. Yet the online buzz was strangely silent about that product line, so I felt it was timely to make this post.
ASNY offers a wide variety of styles including booties, sandals, sneakers, heels, and flats. They offer a patented inner construction that "feels soft like a sneaker".
I bought the Sweetheart Stiletto in Black Ultrasuede, standard (B) width, size 10 for $198. This style has a 3.5" heel.
- I like the look of the textured heel (ASNY says it's Ballistic Nylon, which is resistant to nicks — I am definitely prone to scuffing the heel, so I'm excited for that)
- Pleasantly surprised with the inside of the shoe — it is very supportive and cradles the foot nicely
- I don't know if there's an internal platform, but it's true it doesn't feel like a 3.5" heel
- Flattering design, love the shape and height of the vamp
- The cushion at the back of the heel is a fantastic design feature! I wish more shoes had this, so the heel didn't slip off
- I wish they had more colors/materials to choose from
- The suede attracts dust and cat hair like a magnet (why do both brands have so many suede options? Is it because it starts to look like crap so quickly, you have to buy more shoes?)
Similar kind of easy exchange/return portal as INEZ. Shorter return window for full refund/exchange (14 days), but still 30 days to return/exchange for store credit.
Note: I also purchased Sweetheart Block Heel in Neutral, tried to exchange them because the 9.5 was a half-size too small , but my size was out of stock when I returned them.
Antonia Saint NY wins this showdown! I was expecting these to be gimmicky and have useless padding, but I have never encountered heels that support the foot quite like these. I will be on the lookout for sales to purchase more. I hope they expand their product line; I would have worn them to my holiday party if they had a non-wedding color that matched my dress.
ASNY also sells the insole ($48) that you can add to shoes separately, but considering the shoe has so many other features that made them "worth it" (like the back-of-the-heel padding and padding at the top of the shoe), I'm not chomping at the bit to try it.
Unfortunately INEZ is not really a comfort shoe. Besides the arch support, the padding is too stiff to provide any amount of comfort. They are sufficient as a special-occasion shoe, but I don't see much value in them as a comfortable every-day shoe that's worth the price.
Is there a comfort heel brand you've wanted to try but don't want to take a risk on the unknown? Drop me a comment below and I'll check it out!
Until next time, stay comfortable, friends!