Not Martha

seeking shoe advice

I have a question for those of you with sensitive feet — will these Privo Acacia shoes rub the back of my heels raw? I find the Privo flats to be cute but I’m afraid of spending $80 only to suffer.

· comments [75] · 05-27-2008 · categories:shopping ·

75 responses so far ↓

  • 1 s.s. // May 27, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    They are so, so cute, and the footbed was incredibly comfortable, but just after a couple of hours my heels were torn up, and in that way that means you can’t wear the shoes for over a week and then when you do attempt it again, the same process repeats…. I returned them.

  • 2 Laurel // May 27, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    I have a pair of Privos that are similar (, and they’ve been super comfortable since day one, when I used them to walk the half hour home from work and they were great. (In contrast, the other pair of shoes I bought the same day made both ankles bleed when I walked home in them three days later.)

  • 3 janet // May 27, 2008 at 5:08 pm

    My Privo Comice’s (v similar shape) tend to rub the bottom of my Achilles tendon/above my heels. Sad but true. I still love them but I guess I’m used to shoe pain.

  • 4 suzer // May 27, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    I have a different but similar pair of Privos, and they do not rub my heels, but after less than a year, I step out of them – I normally wear a 6.5, and these fit fine for a couple of months, but now they’ve stretched to the point where they are too loose. A 6 would have been too tight on arrival.

  • 5 BethanyWD // May 27, 2008 at 5:10 pm

    I have these:

    That I purchased about 2 weeks ago. Honestly, I gave myself a big ole blister the first day of wearing them (just on my right foot, though). I then bought these:

    ..and now can wear them no problem. I just wore them for 5 days straight on vacation and through airports! I think if I would have put the inserts in before I wore them, I wouldn’t off had such an issue. The shoes are very, very comfortable and very light.

  • 6 Billie // May 27, 2008 at 5:11 pm

    Those are really cute…I find that my heels are prone to the skin rubbing when I buy new flats, so I put a strip of duct tape on the back of my heels while I’m breaking them in. Generally I wear them around the house for a few days before I wear them outside, there is nothing worse than being away from home with uncomfortable shoes.

  • 7 melissa // May 27, 2008 at 5:15 pm

    Dunno how those privos would work for you, but I bought a different pair that rub my EXTREMELY sensitive feet. I wore the Keens at the following link right out of the box for a full day (and nearly every day since) without a single rub spot or sore spot and they seem to help my plantar fascitis, too. Good luck!

  • 8 heidi // May 27, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    I have these shoes in the tan color. They run huge, so try them on before you get them to find the right size. The do rub me a small amount on the heel, but really only after three days of wearing them straight barefoot. Its pretty minimal. The good news is they are SUPER comfortable and supportive. The insole also comes out so you can wash it or whatever. I really love these shoes, they are totally worth the price.

  • 9 eleise // May 27, 2008 at 5:20 pm

    I have similar Privos (without the strappy thing across the top) and they did rub initially. Then I got used to them and now they are the most comfortable shoes I own. The footbed is ultra springy and spongey. Super comfy. Unfortunately, blisters then bliss.

  • 10 Marcie // May 27, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I LOVE privos. I have a pair that are awesome. Likewise, I have a pair of Clarks (made by the same company) that rubbed by heals. A little hint, place the sole of the shoe perpendicular to a hard surface and hammer the heal a little to stretch it. It won’t rub anymore.

  • 11 N // May 27, 2008 at 5:38 pm

    Have 2 pairs of different Privos and yes, they do rub my heels and cause blisters. I’m guessing it might be different for everyone, but I still like mine, and simply don’t wear them if I know I’ll be walking alot.

    I’d try them on at the store..maybe at the end of the season if you want to wait. I actually got mine for about $20.

  • 12 Patty Smith // May 27, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I own 4 pair of Privos, including a pair almost identical in style to the ones you’re interested in. I have pretty sensitive feet but have never had a blister/rubbing problem with the Privos.
    I have however had an odor problem with them if I wear them without socks or footies. I love how versatile they are too. I wear them with jeans, skirts, capris…

  • 13 claire // May 27, 2008 at 5:46 pm

    I have a similar pair of Privos and they do rub my heels. I have never been able to wear them comfortably in the 2 years I have had them.

  • 14 Andrea // May 27, 2008 at 5:53 pm

    I have a pair of Privos very similar to those and have never experienced rubbing with them. I bought them right before I went to Europe for 4 months to study and I wore them pretty much every day without ever getting a blister or any injury from them. Pretty much they are the best shoes I have ever bought.

  • 15 LA Blogger Gal // May 27, 2008 at 6:00 pm

    I have the Privo Comice which is similar to that pair. At first they rubbed my achilles raw. Once I broke them in with socks, they’re fine. They’re more comfortable to me now than sneakers. And they’re great for travel since they just slip on and off.

    If you want to try them for less, you can probably find a pair at the Nordstrom clearance rack, or at your local Clarks’ outlet store. I just picked up another pair of the Comice (this time in solid leather) at the Clarks’ outlet this weekend for half the price.

  • 16 shawnna // May 27, 2008 at 6:03 pm

    I have picky feet. It usually takes me a month of off and on wear until my feet get used to a new pair of shoes. i purchased my Privo’s a month before a big trip, broke them in. On the last day of 7 days straight walking, the shoes did something funky to my akilies tendon and could no longer wear the shoes. It then took me 5 months of off and on wear at home, but I’m now able to wear the shoes every day without issue.

  • 17 Elizabeth // May 27, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I have a pair of Privos and they rub the back of my feet horribly. I really can’t wear them, basically. I’m going to try Marcie’s suggestion though.

  • 18 monica // May 27, 2008 at 6:24 pm

    i find privos & clarks in general don’t fit me well. they rub in the back as well as come up too high on my ankle :(

    my mom has a pair of privos and LOVES them! no problems, although she probably did break them in with socks so maybe that’s the key?

  • 19 Lydia // May 27, 2008 at 6:26 pm

    I have a similar pair, and they were horrible at first (blisters after 15 minutes), but now they’re comfy. I second the break-them-in-with-socks idea.

  • 20 Cindy // May 27, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I have a pair of brown Sketchers very similar to these and they are the best shoes ever!

  • 21 allie // May 27, 2008 at 6:36 pm

    I have these Privos:

    They are my favorite shoes — incredibly comfortable, great for all seasons, etc.

    I seem to remember them rubbing me in the beginning, but they don’t anymore.

  • 22 megan // May 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Thanks so much for all the feedback. I have a pair that I ordered, and walking up and down my hallway I suspect they’ll do a number on my heel. I think I’ll return them and only buy a pair if I can find them on sale.

    I hear such good things about Keens but they don’t seem to fit my feet, they feel too large inside.

  • 23 Robin // May 27, 2008 at 7:01 pm

    Do you know what the store’s return policy is? I know, for example, that Rockport will take returns for any reason, including uncomfortable shoes after a few wearings. Maybe Clarks/Privo is the same?

  • 24 Kari // May 27, 2008 at 7:20 pm

    What about cushions? I LOVE foot petals and they make a version for heel-rubbing too!

  • 25 susaninfrance // May 27, 2008 at 7:22 pm

    i have black keens that look very similar and wore them out of the box to take a long flight and they were amazingly confortable…i know it was not smart to do that but they felt like slippers right away. from zappos.

  • 26 Carolyn J. // May 27, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    You have given so much advice over the years – now I am happy to pass something on to you in return.

    These have a moleskin-like texture that holds the heel of the shoe in place against your skin. They’ve saved my poor feet from ballet flat torture.

  • 27 megan // May 27, 2008 at 7:40 pm

    Carolyn and Kari – Of course! I wonder if that would solve the problem. I’m so horribly undecided now.

  • 28 Elizabeth // May 27, 2008 at 7:51 pm

    I have some just like the ones in the picture. They gave me some pretty bad blisters on my Achilles tendons, so I bought these:
    They lifted my heel up just enough so that my tendon wouldn’t have any more friction and now they are sooooo comfortable. I can walk for miles and miles with a bad ankle in them.

  • 29 mia // May 27, 2008 at 7:58 pm

    my heels are sensitive too, which is why I always have to break them in by wearing bandages. I get the big ones (2×3 inches?) and use them for the first few wears. That way you can find out where the shoes hit your feet and are uncomfortable but without blisters or scrapes!

    I recently bought a similiar looking pair of shoes but a different brand (because I am cheap, um…er frugal) and they were SUPER comfy almost right out of the box, I just had to wear the bandaids on the back ’til they broke in. I took them out of the box and wore them through Manhattan with no problem.

  • 30 Cassy // May 27, 2008 at 8:02 pm

    I love mine, but I bought them for $9.97 at Nordstrom’s Last Chance in Phoenix. You might try looking at The Rack for a better deal than $80.

  • 31 allison // May 27, 2008 at 8:04 pm

    I love that the first bullet point on Carolyn’s amazon link refers to the product as ‘hell liners.’ Best.

    Anyway, I adore both of my Privos (with a similar heel) and have never had rub issues with them. This despite having heel/back-of-foot rub shtuff with other shoes. If you can buy them at a place with a great return policy, I say go for it. You don’t want to risk missing out on the divine footbed comfort of the Privo shoe.

    ALSO, I forgot to mention that both of my privos are a half-size smaller than what I usually wear. They run big.

  • 32 sprizee // May 27, 2008 at 8:08 pm

    I’ve seen Privo at DSW before. Maybe go check them out in person first?

  • 33 Laura // May 27, 2008 at 8:41 pm you can return them if they don’t fit right. But usually, whatever I am worried about with a shoe turns out to be a problem…I would be sure of a walk and wear return policy. Good luck, they are cute!

  • 34 katy // May 27, 2008 at 9:09 pm

    I would say buy them and wear them around the house for a little while and see how they do. you should be able to tell in ~30 minutes of walking in your kitchen if they’re going to drive you crazy. Also, if you purchase at nordstrom, they have a very generous return policy, and you could go to the store & show your blisters as evidence to get your $ back.

  • 35 Nell // May 27, 2008 at 10:07 pm


  • 36 Allison Wilson // May 27, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    I have a pair of Privos and find them overall very comfortable, except for the fact that they rub my pinky toes to sad little blistery nubs. I still wear them all the time, but I put moleskin over my toes before those shoes go on.

  • 37 Laura // May 28, 2008 at 4:58 am

    I have the same issues and not only do I have heel liners in just about all my shoes that can take them, I also put a little Body Glide on any part of my heel or foot that rubs against the shoe and that really does the trick. The Band Aid Blister Block is probably the same idea (I haven’t tried it so I can’t personally endorse it)

  • 38 Victoria // May 28, 2008 at 5:03 am

    whenever i have good but new pair of shoes that bothers my heels in that way, i cover the spot in bandaids until i break in the shoes. works like a charm. unless a pair of shoes is custom made it’s bound to rub some part of your foot.

  • 39 Stacey Ball // May 28, 2008 at 5:21 am

    I had a pair that did rub for the first couple wears. No blisters, just a rub on the back of the achiles tendon. You can try putting Glide on the back of your heel and that helps a ton with the new shoes!!

  • 40 Katie // May 28, 2008 at 6:38 am

    I just tried on some Privos at Nordstroms but was also worried about the heel issue. I ended up buying a pair of Merrill Zodiac Solstice – incredibly comfortable! Zappos doesn’t carry them yet but Amazon does. Oh, and I also bought some Hue sock liners to wear while breaking in new shoes. My other go-to brand for my wimpy feet is Naot – pricey but worth it in my opinion.

  • 41 Kate // May 28, 2008 at 7:02 am

    I have tons of cute shoes that don’t fit quite right because of my size 8 Wide feet (i’m apparently part duck). BODY GLIDE friction preventing stick is the best thing I ever ever ever bought. I put it anywhere a shoe rubs and I never get blisters now.

  • 42 Ailidh // May 28, 2008 at 7:11 am

    I have a pair of privos from last year, and they tear my feet to shreds, every time. That said, it seems like I have very irritable heel-skin…. I hope you don’t have to suffer.

  • 43 Auntie Fafa // May 28, 2008 at 7:28 am

    I have another version of this shoe – and yes, they will rub the back of your heels raw. I can only wear my shoes like this with socks that cover that part and pants (because capris would look ridiculous).

    Buuuut…If you order from Nordstrom (or maybe even Zappos or, you can return them if they suck.

  • 44 Domestic Chicky // May 28, 2008 at 7:30 am

    I have similar issues with shoes like that – short of wearing those big band aids on my heels for the first few wearings, I tried Band Aids blister block (the stick, not the bandages) – works like a dream! No blisters yet this year!

  • 45 cindy // May 28, 2008 at 7:58 am

    I just bought a pair of Privo Comice from Piperlime (on sale and I had a coupon). Was actually going to where them out today but I’m stuck at home sick. I second the heel liners – I use the gel-type (from DSW) on a pair of Mizrahi from Target flats. Good to know the liners are removable – if you get stinky feet ;)

  • 46 Mary T. // May 28, 2008 at 8:18 am

    I’ve seen similar styles to this on sale right now at REI (again with the REI). I just bought an on-sale pair of Keen sort-of Chuck Taylor-esque shoes and love them. Guess what: also bought those Gap jeans last night that you promoted! They should be paying you.

  • 47 greta // May 28, 2008 at 9:11 am

    i have a pair of different privos that practically took off my ankle the first time i wore them (foolishly, without socks) for a two-block walk. they do seem to be better now, but i still don’t love them as much as i thought i would. i would definitely wait until they’re on sale, i don’t think they’re worth the $80.

  • 48 Raquel // May 28, 2008 at 9:16 am

    Check out the new Keens first. I have the Sienna Ballerina in mineral and LOVE them. THey also have really cool mary janes and slides. Personally, after wearing both Privos and Keens, I think the Keens are better made for the same money.

  • 49 Kate // May 28, 2008 at 9:53 am

    If they do, use these:

    They have them in single pair packs at Target

  • 50 Alison // May 28, 2008 at 10:14 am

    I have a similar pair (

    Looks like they share a basic construction. The first time I wore them out I got a giant blister on the side of my heel and it rubbed the backs raw. The culprit wasn’t the sides of the heel, but the fact that the sole is so, so, so cushy. It needed to be squashed down. So once I actually broke them in by wearing them around the house with socks they were super comfortable and I haven’t had any problems with them since. I took them to London last summer and wore them the entire week, and now that the weather is nice I walk to work in them — they have become my default warm-weather “going for a walk” shoe.

  • 51 you'll probably delete me barrie // May 28, 2008 at 10:29 am

    i stopped buying new balance sneakers for the same reason. not worth the money for the pain. there are too many shoes out there. you’ll find yours.

  • 52 Suzi // May 28, 2008 at 10:33 am

    Interesting that almost every had a heel rub problem with the privos. They are cute.

    I love Zappos. They are amazingly quick with delivery – sometimes faster that you think. Free returns help too.

  • 53 Ansley // May 28, 2008 at 11:51 am

    They have great arch support, but I do not like the irritating dots on the footbed. I had to get rid of them.

  • 54 Joanna Schmidt // May 28, 2008 at 12:46 pm

    Those are really cute. I’d get them, but who knows how your feet will fit the Cinderella shoe. Maybe a band-id or two to get used to it…

  • 55 Emily // May 28, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    I don’t know about the Privos, but the Michelle K’s are really really comfortable –

  • 56 kat // May 28, 2008 at 2:35 pm

    I have the most sensitive feet especially with anything I don’t wear socks with & I adore these shoes. I can wear them all day & then wear them again the next day which is unheard of for me. They do seem to run a little big but the guy at the Clark’s store put an insert in them for me & it made a huge difference!

  • 57 Kristine // May 28, 2008 at 5:56 pm

    I have VERY picky feet. Most shoes, when worn without socks, end up tearing apart the backs of my feet. Painful to say the least.

    I bought these recently I have the brown ones but I’m actually thinking about buying the black ones too cause I’ve been wearing them all over Chicago for weeks now and no heel injuries!

  • 58 chez shoes // May 28, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    I find both Privo and Clarks to be unkind to my sensitive feet.

    I recommend a trip to REI – there’s a similar style of Keens that runs narrower than most, and they’e super comfy. There’s also a brand REI carries called Ahnu that don’t work on my wide stubby feet, but a friend with narrower feet swears by them – comfy out of the box, she said, with no sensitive spots.

  • 59 leslie // May 28, 2008 at 6:27 pm

    ABSOLUTELY try the blister block from bandaid. you can pick it up from most big drugstores, target, etc.

  • 60 Pleasant Girl // May 28, 2008 at 10:04 pm

    Everytime I buy a new pair of shoes, I pick-up a pair of (Heart) My Heels. Easy to apply and a good price point too!

  • 61 missy // May 29, 2008 at 5:49 am

    I have a similar pair of Privos and have had no problems with rubbing or blistering.

    Back in the day when I was a competitive runner, I used to have to tape the heck out of my ankles and would get terrible gigantic blisters on my feet(even with pre-wrap). My dad got me a bottle of NuSkin, which you just paint right over the blister or sore spot- no more pain, and the skin heals faster.

  • 62 Lisa // May 29, 2008 at 5:53 am

    I don’t know about this exact pair, but Privos are so DARN comfie. I’ve had 2 pairs now and neither pair has rubbed anything. They are so so so comfie.

  • 63 Winnie // May 29, 2008 at 6:16 am

    I have two pairs of Privos in a similar shape/style that I wear all the time. I even bought a replacement pair when I found them on clearance. They are my all time favorite walking shoes– they are sooo comfy and do not give me any sort of issues. These are the only shoes that I’ve found to be blister free out of the box (except for Keds).

    I think you’ve said you have narrow feet, so that might be an issue. My feet are small but a bit wide, and I think their boxier toe shape makes them work for me.

    If there’s a Clarks outlet near you they carry the Privo brand.

  • 64 DR // May 29, 2008 at 6:25 am

    I have these in orange, and they did start rubbing on one heal about three months after I got them. But they are so easy to wear, and the footbed is so, so comfy that I just soldier through it. My thinking is that my foot will adapt.

  • 65 leggynic // May 29, 2008 at 9:09 am

    I too have the Privo Comice that’s very similar. I bought and wore them for my trip to Europe this fall. I loved them. The first day or so I did have some rubbing but no blisters.

    Have you tried the Band-Aid Blister Block stick? It looks like a little deodorant stick but its this gel stuff that cuts down the friction. Great purse size.

  • 66 Jen // May 29, 2008 at 10:13 am

    For slip on shoes, I would get the foot petals heel liners instead of the Dr. Scholl’s ones: I find the latter too thick for a shoe and it messes with the sizing. However, the thicker Dr. Scholl’s ones are what I have in a pair of stiff boots where my heel was slipping.

    I love my Keens, but yeah, they are big inside. I’ve added insoles to take up some of the space, especially depth, and now they’re so comfy I rarely wear my other shoes.

  • 67 laureg // May 29, 2008 at 10:55 am

    The backs of my feet are so sensitive that almost every pair of shoes gives me blisters, if not worse. I have found these's%c2%ae+For+Her%e2%84%a2+Heel+Liners to be a lifesaver (they also have a foam version that works really well). I apply the whole thing up at the top of the back of the shoe, or conversely, I’ll cut them up into little pads and place them where I need them. There’s also some padded moleskin stuff that works really well, too, and each of these these products have really sticky adhesive that makes sure your paddings stay in place. These products have allowed me to wear a lot of shoes that I otherwise would have had to pass up. Hope this helps!

  • 68 tammy b // May 29, 2008 at 4:22 pm

    i’ve got the mesas, and it’s right under the ankle and the achilles tendon that they got on me

  • 69 wadiefong // May 31, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    If you really want comfy shoes for sensitive feet and odor prevention, consider getting a pair of Keens!|AgeGroupID=1&attribute_value_string|Brand%20Name=Keen&brand_category|0=BrandCategories~brand_root&brand_category|123038=_sale_shoes_~brand_0

    I actually have these

    There are more “stylish” versions. But, I’ve had my toes run over by shopping carts, taken them on hikes, and even run some serious mileage on the trails with them. They have super cushioning. A little dorky looking with the toe bumpers, but they are the best shoes to knock around with :-)

  • 70 wadiefong // May 31, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    oop, forgot to mention that the non-leather ones are better (my other pair)…

    very easy to wash! Black ones are nice :-)

  • 71 Alex // May 31, 2008 at 7:30 pm

    AHNU! Yes, I’ll second the rec for Ahnu shoes. I bought my first pair at REI Seattle and they rubbed my heels so much for a week and then poof, became the best shoes ever. Wore them in Europe for a month solid, even jumping across flooded fields in the Netherlands.

    When the fabrication did start to break down a few months later (suspiciously), I emailed their headquarters in the Bay Area and got the nicest response. UPS label via email and then a brand new pair to replace them. And, to apologize for the defect, they offered me a crazy 75% coupon for my next pair from them. Made in China (and supposedly fairly sourced); run by very very nice folks in Alameda.

  • 72 LANDS END FAN // Jun 2, 2008 at 3:18 am

    I LOVE Lands End shoes! Most of the their sport shoes are lined in the sensitive areas with a cushy neoprene like material… NO BLISTERS! Most of the big name brand shoes just rub and rip my feet to shreds… athough I have had some luck with Adidas.

  • 73 Amanda // Jun 2, 2008 at 6:29 am

    I tried these on last weekend b/c I was looking for some good walking shoes for a European trip I’m taking in September.

    They are a little orthopedic looking. Nike, however, makes a Mary Jane in the “free” style that are very cute and Sketchers also, surprisingly makes comfortable fashion sneakers that do well with much walking.

  • 74 Deb P // Jun 7, 2008 at 8:38 am

    I own a pair of Privo and they have saved my life on these cobbled streets in Europe. I bought them at Nordstrom before moving from the States. I would recommend this brand and that you buy them at Nordstrom because of their fabulous return policy. Hope you have a Nords near you. When I need another pair of walking shoes, I’m going with Privo. Just fyi, when I’m out in them, I actually forget I’m wearing shoes (a really good sign). I should also mention that I have horrible, hard to fit, tortured, walked enough miles in my life to go round the globe a few times, wide, bunionized, in desperate need of a pedicure, feet. Bad visual huh? I feel sorry for next person who gives me a pedicure- they’ll probably run away crying. Wah!

  • 75 Melissa // Jun 9, 2008 at 7:52 pm

    It sounds silly, but if you put a band-aid on your heel, where the shoe rubs, it’ll protect it and then you don’t get the oh so fun rubbed completely raw, limping around experience.
    I do that with all my flats until they stretch out some and I’ve worn them enough that they stop rubbing.

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