Best 3 inch work heels

The 3 inch work pump category is turbo-competitive: in fact, searches show that 3 inches is the most popular height for black work high heels going around.

Below I list my top standout heels in the 3 inch work pump category for 2018. Be sure to scroll down and check out these great shoes.

WINNER: Juliana by Cole Haan

Cole Haan Juliana Pump

Despite all the competition in the 3 inch category, one heel is clearly out in front: Juliana by Cole Haan.

The classic silhouette of this shoe is pretty and professional, but it’s not just looks that have this pump at the top of reviewers’ lists of favorites. The real bargaining point is that Juliana is as comfortable as it is stylish.

Reviewers rave about Juliana‘s leather being soft to the touch and about the shoe’s flexible outsole. Leather uppers, leather lining and a padded leather footbed are also reasons that make Juliana a great choice for the office.

Cole Hann is a brand with a proud history of comfort. It used to be owned by Nike and even used Nike Air technology in some of its most popular heels.

However Nike sold off Cole Haan back in 2012, meaning that the Nike Air soles are no longer used. This caused some concern for comfort-lovers at the time. But reviewers today are clear that Cole Haan has lost none of its reputation for comfort as well as style.

Some of those reviewers have gushed that Juliana is the “perfect pump” and the “best heel ever” and that they “wear them almost everyday to work”. However my favorite comment comes from Julie R who in January 2017 summed everything up by saying:

They are just the right height so that you look classy, but they are work appropriate AND comfy enough to wear all day! Hallelujah, this is a miracle! My search for the perfect pump is over!

I also love this comment from a reviewer back when this pump was first introduced in 2015:

Absolutely the most comfortable pumps I have ever worn. The first time I wore them I walked about a half a mile on cobble stone streets and unstable pavement. They were very easy to walk in and never pinched my feet. The leather is very soft and they are true to size.

Price Introduced Heel Height Leather
 $$  2015 3 inches, measured on a size 8.5C  Yes

Juliana by Cole Haan was available in November 2017 for under $150.

Click here to see if this great price is still available.

RUNNER UP: Natalie by Naturalizer

Natalie by Naturalizer

No sooner had I declared that Juliana by Cole Haan was the best 3 inch work pump of 2018 than a new entrant came into the category and its already threatening to knock the Cole Hann contender from first place.

Natalie by Naturalizer is a completely different pump to Juliana, but it is definitely one to watch. The shoe is rapidly positioning itself as an equally comfortable but more budget-friendly 3 inch work pump alternative.

Already Natalie has over 40 reviews on Zappos with a high number of 5 star ratings. Customers are saying things like “very attractive” and (my favorite!) “shockingly comfortable” about this heel.

Like all the work pumps I’ve reviewed so far, comfort is the key to high ratings. Natalie has uses a 5 point system to focus on this, which it calls “N5 Contour technology”.

I have done some research on N5 Contour technology and it is basically a 5 point plan for making comfortable heels. The short-version of those 5 points can be summed up like this:

  • CUSHIONING – Natalie has double-density cushioning in the whole sockliner, plus added cushioning in the heel, arch and ball of foot.
  • BREATHABILITY – the heel has microfiber linings with Agion, which inhibits the growth of bacteria (ew!) and stops odors and other yuckies. The aim is to be soft and breathable.
  • BALANCE – the insole and molded arch support are crafted to allow for maximum contact with you foot. This helps with balance and stability.
  • FLEXIBILITY – Naturalizer uses flexible materials inside and out which bend and move with the wearer’s foot.
  • LIGHTWEIGHT – all materials are streamlined to be as light as possible without compromising comfort.

Natalie is still the runner up for 2018, but this pump is definitely a great alternative in the 3 inch category.

Some of the other things to like about Natalie is that it comes in over 10 different colors and it is cheaper than the Cole Haan pump, costing under $100 for a pair.

Price Introduced Heel Height Leather
 $ 2016  3 inches, measured on a size 7.5B  yes

Click here to see more pictures and to check out the full range of colors for this pump