Do you remember when you could wear the cutest little shoes with no thought as to whether they would damage your feet? They just needed to complete the outfit, and chances are you could walk a fair distance in them anyway.
And then you realized that shoes you could actually walk in needed to be a lot more comfortable. Fast forward a few more years and you’ve likely discovered that accommodating all the callouses, corns and bunions you’ve accumulated over the years of wearing those cute little shoes mean many shoe styles are now completely off limits.
Which is all a very long way of saying that I now plan my outfits staring with my shoes and whatever activities I might be doing that day (read: how far I have to walk). Oh yes, and the temperature outside. Which does rather take the fun out of these fabulous finishing accessories!
I’ve come up with The Stylish Marketer’s Shoe Scale to help instantly determine whether those shoes you’ve been lusting after are really going to be able to take on what you need them to.
Hold on readers, this may become a go-to rating in the fashion mags and you’ll have seen it here first!
The Stylish Marketer’s Shoe Scale
Because let’s face it, most of the shoes we drool over start at a 6 on The Stylish Marketer’s Shoe Scale. Which means when it gets hot and sweaty in the summer and we actually have to use public transit we’re looking at the dreaded comfort shoe. Ack! (Cue scary theme music.)
To help you, dear readers, I’ve been doing some research on ‘comfort shoes’. Because I’m not ready to give up the fight just yet. There simply have to be shoes out there that can be both comfortable and cute, right?
Well, you may know I’m a big fan of Crocs summer shoes (and just to be clear, NEVER the Crocs clogs! those are hideous), but they aren’t really office appropriate. Over the years I’ve developed my own criteria of what works: heels two inches or less, leather (to accommodate swelling summer feet), straps that aren’t too narrow or too wide that can accommodate bunions, and for the icing on top, some color or other interesting detail.
And yet I still have days when all my shoes (except my running shoes) hurt my feet somewhere. Sigh.
A search on Zappos for comfort shoes yielded plenty of shoes between 0 and 4 on the scale, and a surprising number of 6’s (heels at 3 inches), but not much I’d actually like to wear.
Time to look at the brands known for comfort: Naot, Vionic, Mephisto, and Kuru. And surprisingly, I did find some interesting options at Naot and Vionic. And even more surprisingly, I found these at Hotter, a brand I’ve never seen before. Maybe not the sexiest ever, but they go with everything I’ve bought for spring and they fulfill my criteria as outlined above. I’d give these a good solid 4, even though I'm cringing a little as I do.
But the ‘comfort’ shoe bonanza was found at the aptly named Comfort One Shoes. They carry many of the brands listed above, but a huge range of others as well. I was surprised at how many were attractive and definitely twos and fours on my scale. Admittedly many were out of my wallet comfort range (I know, I know the cost per wear for shoes that last five years or more is pretty low, but I still can’t quite justify $350+ for a pair of sandals.) But look at how pretty they are!
I did find a pair of shoes that are going to work for my wardrobe for spring (ok, apparently it’s summer already so we’ll go with that!). They’re a definite 4 and maybe even a 2. More money than I would usually spend, but at this point I’m ok with that. I need at least one pair that I can wear downtown during the summer! Bonus - they're actually navy, which goes with my wardrobe.
So here are my top five picks for the cutest, walkable shoes for summer that will work for most offices:
The astute among you will have noted that there are in fact six shoes featured here. That's because while I'm a big fan of color and interesting embellishments, I do kind of like the tan and taupe version of the tomato red Sayonara sandal, bottom, right.
I can also confirm that the Dorking Babor shoes (top row, middle) look amazing on. My fashion friend purchased these last weekend and said that they certainly felt comfortable at the store.
And you'll also have noted that these sandals look nothing like what passes for sandals in most of the shoe world. I never did understand how you could walk around all day in shoes like these (right), and now that I'm rather closer to 50 than 40, I really don't get it. Which is a shame, because they are so gosh darn cute!
Have you found a great pair of office appropriate summer shoes you can walk in? Let us know!