Thursday, September 18, 2014

Well-Heeled

A small shoe-disaster befell me earlier this week. We've gone from summer to (mid) fall very quickly. Sandals are so done. Y'all know that I revamped my summer shoe collection in light of foot miseries that have befallen me in the last year or two.* Well, apparently I haven't updated my fall shoe collection. Because, till Tuesday, I had but one pair of shoes that fits and doesn't cause me pain when walking long distances, and those are ancient Diesel leather sneakers.

Now that I cannot walk distances in shoes with hard bottoms (need padding for my collagen-diminished feet) and heels that are higher than the most conservative of one-inch, I don't even have a pair of fall boots that fit the bill.

This is a problem cuz I go to fancy meetings that require professional attire. And I can't wear sneakers to walk to work with said professional outfits. (That's just wrong.) Sure, I can put on work shoes when I arrive, but I spend half my time walking and I'm not going to do it looking comfortable.

If you think it's bad finding comfortable summer sandals, those which provide chic support, let me assure you that fall shoe-shopping is infinitely worse. Once you can't wear those 2 inch T straps or tall boots with a stacked heel, the options are dreadful. Dreadful. Actually, the options are basically variations on leather runners.

I went to no less than 30 shoe stores on Monday and Tuesday with the aim of finding a truly comfortable, elegant shoe with a bit of elevation (for shape) that will work with pants, skirts and dresses. I don't like black shoes. They're monolithic and they bring everything down. So some sort of neutral (that doesn't jump out) was also one of my requirements. Um, if you're prepared to spend 600 bucks (and I am not inflating this price), my list is achievable. In the 150 - 200 dollar range, I found one pair.

Please allow this to sink in. I found one pair amongst thousands of shoes available in my huge city with 8 shoe stores (of every description) on any given block.

So I bought it.



The brand is German: Remonte. The company makes a bunch of truly hideous shoes, and a few nice ones. This was by far the nicest, if my online research is anything to go by. I got this pair at a store that's so old-school, it doesn't even have a name. As my daughter would say, it's a bit sketch.

I will tell you that they could be slightly softer in the sole (though I am breaking in and I have added a padded insert), and I do wish the small heel didn't propel my foot forward onto my (decreasingly plump and gorgeous) toe base region. But the upper is soft, the line is gorgeous (for pants or skirts) and these shoes produce no chafing of any sort. For a serious walker, these qualities are key. Oh, and given that they're made of leather in 3 neutral colours, this shoe goes with absolutely everything.

So, what do you think? How do you manage to look great while you walk long distances (and I don't think that accepting runners as great-looking footwear counts, sorry :-))? What are the best shoes you've ever had from a style-meets-function perspective? I want to know.

* For what it's worth, the pain I'm experiencing is related to unhappy nerve clusters at the base of my toes. After years of taking my young feet for granted, and walking miles a day in moderate heels, now I must be able to spread my foot wide in every shoe or I experience a dreadful, searing pain. The attainment of natural foot-width is not easily accomplished in a shoe with any height because the nature of a heel is to propel the toes towards the front of the shoe. Furthermore, any shoe with an attractive narrow line at the toe is likely to produce an ergonomic scenario in which the foot has very little room to spread.

29 comments:

  1. Not too bad! You were more determined to by at a brick and mortar than I would have been, that's for sure! I don't know if you've looked at the Sofft brand, but I love how comfy their shoes are, and the Darra and Dacia styles look kind of similar and aren't *too* expensive. http://www.sofftshoe.com/fall2014-View-All

    But yes, it's ridiculously hard to find cute, comfortable shoes in any price range. Especially in the colder months when you want your foot covered for warmth. So many of them now are those damn ballet flats that are like walking around with cardboard strapped to your foot.

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    1. I know - they could be SO much worse! I don't find that there's much money to be saved on shoes online, unless they're vintage. Maybe it's the brands I look for? Thanks for the link!

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  2. There is a website called barkingdogshoes.com where the author recommends different brands of shoes for problem feet. Might give you some ideas.

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    1. I've heard of it but not checked it out. thanks for the suggestion!

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  3. Oh I feel your pain, so to speak. I've got the same problem with not being able to find comfortable shoes. I mostly wear styles from Fly London these days. Their squishy wedge soles are very comfortable and they have a wide range of boot styles. The downside is that I can't get them repaired when the heel wears so I get through a lot of pairs.

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    1. I do like Fly - though some of the shoes veer into a territory that's a bit odd (to my taste). The wedges are my faves...

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  4. Personally, I love and adore Doc Marten's. They have some more acceptably-city-smart styles these days - not just metallic purple lace up boots!

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    1. I've really only found the boots - and they're too industrial to go with my work outfits. Gotta check out the full collection online. Thanks!

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  5. Hi, I have a similar foot problem to yours, and find shoe shopping very difficult - especially for Autumn! Have you tried Think! shoes? They are a German brand which I have found very comfortable, not too high, comfortable insoles etc. They are also eco friendly, and whilst some of the styles are a bit worthy for my tastes, there are quite a lot to choose from. Nicola

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    1. I haven't heard of this brand but I'm going to look it up now. Thank you!

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  6. I feel your pain - literally. I've got a similar situation going on with my even less-young feet, and have had to come to the sad conclusion that I can't really wear my beloved spike heels any more unless I'm only sitting :-(

    However, I seem to have an opposite problem - I find tons of shoes that will work for me, and I want to buy them all! But the shoes that are actually the most appropriate for my current lifestyle are the runners. Which I don't always mind, style-wise, but somehow I do begrudge forfeiting the extra 30 seconds it takes to tie them when I'm on my way out the door.

    I like these - a lot. Which isn't too surprising as I'm an oxford lover. And my 2 best pairs of shoes in terms of both style and comfort are very similar to this pair! One is my beloved Camper Helena Oxford in cream and white patent leather, purchased probably 7 years ago. The other is the Frye Carson Oxford, which has a much more masculine look, IMO.

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    1. Ha! I have no idea how you find all the shoes? It must be because you don't desperately need them. I'm going to look up the Helena Oxford and the Carson! Thanks!

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  7. My all-time favorites were Franco Sarto Bocca loafers in black calf, when they were made in Brazil, which was a long time ago. They fit and had sufficient arch support for me, as well as a gender neutral appearance that worked with almost everything. I had many, many pairs, mostly ordered online from Nordstrom, and kept them going for a long time with the aid of my local shoe repair guy, who is terrific. The quality has deteriorated over time and the last pair I ordered was made in China and IMHO not the same shoe at all. The seams were more or less in the same places, but the elegant shape of the toe box was gone and the leather was junk. Sent them back immediately. I have one remaining pair that I am protecting from the weather, while I conduct an extensive search for a replacement. I feel your pain!

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    1. I SO hate it when this happens. It's why I almost buy 3 pairs of the same shoes if I find that they work. (Somehow that always ends up glitching, but that's another story...) I am wishing you luck in finding another pair of the original quality.

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  8. Those are pretty cute, actually! Congrats on finding at least one pair that will work for you. I second the recommendation of Think! and Fly London. And if your budget would stretch to it, what about a pair of Fluevogs? I know Mater swears by them...

    I need to go shoe shopping this weekend -- a whole summer of plantar fasciitis means a GIGANTIC new orthotic has come into my life. It fits in a couple pair of my shoes, but not in most. And since we've also fast-forwarded from hot and sunny to cool and rainy, it's pretty urgent to find something NOW. I try only to buy shoes that are made here in Spain or at least in the EU, but we'll see how that goes.

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    1. Thanks! I'm going to look up Think! cuz I haven't got any experience of the brand. The more simple Fluevogs can be very nice (beautifully made) but they are often just too odd-looking - especially in the heel - for my liking.

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  9. Lordy they are lovely. I've been shopping for shoes today and had the same problem. I ended up with loafers, which are my default winter shoe, but not dressy enough to wear with business attire, unless you stick to trousers, which isn't always doable.

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    1. It isn't always doable, alas...

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    2. I really don't miss those days! Although I only wear trainers (sneakers) for walking the dog so it's still tricky...just not as much.

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    1. I have bought shoes by both of these brands. I liked them but (the styles I tried) were not that comfortable (Geox) and not that durable (CH). I'm willing to accept that it's likely the styles I chose. But, I'll never buy driving shoes by Cole Haan again. Got some at the beginning of the season and I can throw them out now, so badly did they wear at the toe. I'm wary to go back because I don't want to struggle with quality at that price.

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  11. I have the exact same problem! I find that massaging the ball of my foot with Anti-flamme, a herbal cream, really helps. I've found Ziera Shoes to be the most comfortable. They come in some really nice styles, some of which come in several widths and are orthotics friendly. Check out their website - they have some stockists in Canada.

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    1. I've never heard of that cream. Gotta check it out. THing is, the nerve pain only comes on (searingly) when I stand up after having walked a long distance in a bad shoe. I don't know if cream would really be able to fix it cuz it happens due to weight bearing. Must check out Ziera - thanks for info.

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  12. My suggestion is the Clarks and Born shoe lines. Elegant but comfy shoes, and lots of oxford-adjacent styles.

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    1. Oh, gotta look that up. You peeps really know the shoes. I've never heard of a bunch of these brands...

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  13. Best shoes for style and comfort? Fluevogs. Hands down. Not inexpensive but so worth every penny. I do like the shoes you bought. Next time give the Vogs a go (and they are Canadian.)

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    1. OK, the Fluevogs have a lot of love! I'm going to take your advice!

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  14. I’ve also had the most success with Ziera shoes for my increasingly difficult feet.

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