Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wanted: Shoes with Comfort AND Style!

I come from Los Angeles, where lordy the weather is nice (except when it's 120 degrees out), but most people don't do much walking in their everyday lives. As a student, sure I walked around campus, but I usually just wore tennis shoes and flip flops. When I wasn't marching up and down the hills of the UCLA campus (aka: for special occasions), I didn't need comfortable shoes. Why? Well, the walk from the car to the restaurant, or the car to the movie theatre, or the car to the wherever just wasn't all that long.

Living, as I do now, in the lovely and more walkable Berkeley, I need some more comfortable shoes. Granted, I still drive a lot. Berkeley is certainly not a 100% walkable city, and it's no San Francisco or New York. But I am walking more than I used to, and maybe my feet have changed or something, but all the cute-but-cheap shoes I used to wear are suddenly not comfortable at all. Like I said, it's not like I'm walking everywhere (if I was, I would probably just wear tennis shoes every day); but I do walk around the studio a lot, and I take walks at lunch sometimes...and besides, if a pair of shoes is hurting my feet after the walk from the parking lot to my desk, maybe it's time for some new big girl shoes. Le Sigh. Gone are the days of Payless and Target as my primary shoe stores...

Today I am wearing shoes that look like this, but they are from American Eagle (these were just from a random Google Image search) - and they used to be comfortable, I swear. They were like $7, and a friend bought them for me, and it is now almost 2 years later and the top cuts into the top of my feet, and the back digs into my heel, and they even feel a little too short. Did my feet grow?

I know it's time to clean out the closet. I have a couple of pairs of shoes that I think are about to meet the Goodwill Bag. A few are maybe even going to meet the Trash Bag (they're that bad, but for some reason I still wear them). I have this problem where each shoe has a purpose (those are my blue suede ballet flats! those are my pink converse! I can't possibly get rid of them!), so I can't get rid of them. This sometimes helps me, since I won't buy a pair of brown mary janes if I already have something brown and mary janeish, but usually, it just means I have a lot of shoes. I need to go through the shoes and get rid of any that are not comfortable enough to walk around in, no matter how cute they are or what purpose I believe they serve (but theeese ones are special!).

The most comfortable ballet flats I ever had were from Banana Republic, and cost almost $50 on sale. And those got ruined in New York last year. I am still trying to replace those.

So now I am on the hunt. You city dwellers out there...what are your favorite comfortable but cute shoes? I like flats, bright colors, fun textures...and comfort. Comfort, please. I don't want to spend $100 on a pair of little ballet flats, but maybe that's what it takes these days. I like shoes like this, and the brand (Life Stride) makes me think they will be comfortable. But they are a little too similar to shoes I already own. Remember these shoes? They are no longer available. Sad. Should've just bought them when I had the chance.

I've heard that brands like Naturalizer are good...do you have any suggestions?


  1. Oh, I so know what you're saying here. This is exactly--and I mean exactly--what was going through my mind last night at DSW, where I found nothing. Still looking for that elusive cute-but-comfortable shoe, so please let me know if you find it!

  2. Oh you better believe I will! If I ever find it, that is...

    I think purging all painful shoes will be a good start. Maybe it's a karmic thing - the new shoes won't come to me because my shelves are full of crappy shoes? Theory? Valid?

  3. Merrells! My pair saved my feet on my vacation to italy in Feb. They are cute flats but with support so they're soild for walking. Mine needed a little breaking in at first. but were great!

  4. Thanks, Gina (and thanks for commenting!) - I will have to check them out. Looks they have some nice shoes! I really like the Allegro Leather ones...

  5. Keep in mind I walk around NYC as a living, dragging a heavy suitcase behind me. Aerosoles are pretty good, if you can find some that don't look like they belong on your great-grandmother. I had a wonderful pair of high-heeled knee-high leather Aerosole boots that I wore until they fell apart but I haven't been able to find anything similar since. They were the only pair of heels I've EVER been able to wear more than once or twice. I just can't do heels. But those were amazing. Now? I stick to my Doc Martens and my converse. I have a pair of cute brown suede flat boots i got at Target for $13 on sale that are really comfortable. I think that the trick is this: When you are looking for a pair of shoes to buy, pick them hold the toe of the shoe in one hand and the heel in the other and then bend them up and down, back and forth, side to side. How flexible is the sole? It ought to be VERY flexible. If it isn't, it won't be a comfortable shoe. How much cushion is in the sole? None? That could be a problem. Put them on and walk around. You'll know immediately if there is any tightness in the toe or heel that can cause blisters or sore spots. Shoes should be comfortable the minute you put them on.

    I've gotten pretty good at buying comfortable shoes, and I still manage not to spend more than $20 for flats and $40 for boots. Good luck!!

  6. Funny, I was just at Target yesterday, and I tried on these (http://bit.ly/1b94Ac) and these (http://bit.ly/3aO6wN), which were both pinchy and uncomfortable.

    I tried on these (http://bit.ly/q31pW) which felt really nice. I bought some of those heel-pad thingies, because I always need those to prevent back-of-the-heel blisters, but I think these will actually be nice! We shall see...and I'd still like to find some yellow flats ;-)

  7. Merrells! Your binocular set aside your ft . concerning your a vacation to italy through Feb .. They've been extremely cute flats and yet with the help of program which means they might be soild for the purpose of walks. My vital a little bit of breakage through originally. and yet are amazing!