Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Sharp and Flat

Why is this lady smiling? Because she found flat shoes that not only fit comfortably (OMG!), they look kinda cool (NOT like they came from the orthopedist's), and were well priced. That IS something to smile about. Wonders never cease!

Women of a certain age learn that the best strategy for buying shoes is to snap them up when they're available, because they're never available when you need them. Especially - ahem! - when they are on sale for $30 a pair. The first time you buy comfortable shoes, you INVEST, thinking the comfort will be worth the extraordinary price. Only after you discover that your $400 investments make you wince do you realize that price often has little to do with quality or comfort, and then you allow yourself to go back to cheaper brands. If you buy ten pairs of $30 shoes, and only five of them are comfortable, you've still bought five pairs of shoes for $300, instead of one infuriating, repulsive, falsely advertised pair for $400.

Valerie recently came across several pairs of shoes she could actually get happy about, and bought them, the way one puts in a supply of bread and eggs before a snowstorm. The hilarious perforated shoes above are made by Bernie Mev. You can tell by the color that they were from an end-of-season sale (and $30 is definitely an end-of-season price). The soles look a lot like sneaker soles, but they're discreet and shapely. Here in New York, they're not exactly appropriate now, although an enterprising person could dye them black and probably wear them now. Or dye them red, or green, or blue.....

Now, these half black half white shoes didn't cost $30, but they were 1/3 off. The shoes and the box are stamped APARTMENT, a new Korean brand. The soles, covered by the leather uppers, are made of cork, so they're light and forgiving. There's also a nice little pad in the insole for extra comfort. The wide toes turn up, and add to their flavor. They tie with black laces, but come with white laces as well, so in fact one could use both color ties to riff off the black and white leather. They're from Opening Ceremony, where we went to see the new Yoko Ono men's wear, so Ms. Ono gets the credit for connecting Valerie to these shoes.

Just had to dress up the shoes a little bit to put them in context.

And these get dressed up too, before going out.

Here's what the perforated shoes look like as part of an outfit. Readers may choose to tone it down a little bit...

And here's an outfit for the two-toned shoes...

See? You CAN have little old lady feet and still enjoy wearing shoes!

(And just by the by, shoe designers, there are little YOUNG ladies who can't wear heels either [we know because they've told us so], so your market for flats is bigger than you think!)


This is the other pair of $30 shoes, made by Spring Step. No outfit needed for these - they go very well with standard black. The thick soles are wonderfully shock absorbent, but notice how nicely the soles are integrated into the design. The tall synthetic sole can also be a plus on a rainy day. There's a nice diagonal line across the instep, kind of reminiscent of Cydwok shoes. These look like they could use a bit of revamping. The buckle is decorative, and may eventually be removed (maybe with one of those devices they use to snap locks?), and Valerie never met a shoe she didn't think she could improve with magic marker. These could easily go dark gray or black. They have a glazed finish, and might need a bit of sandpapering to take color more evenly. Of course, laziness is an important factor in any design project, so they might just stay as they are....

Jean's 2 cents:

Given all the negativity of recent news stories, I wanted to inject as much levity as possible into this posting. In the spirit of the season, I wanted to report on the demented trend south of the border for elf-like footwear! The new craze in Matehuala, Mexico for extremely long boot extensions makes for some really far out footwear.  Although none of them can compare with Valerie's shoes, some might give her a run for her money!

Young men in this farming town in northeast Mexico have developed an obsession with pointed footwear with toes so long, they turn up in a giant spiral.

Now, this is a craze I can really get behind. They compete in dance competitions wearing their outrageous footwear which may extend as long as 35". Made of foam or covered garden hoses, the extensions are lightweight but can be rather awkward.  Each troupe has its own distinctive uniforms to match or contrast with their fancy shoes.

Who knows how long it will take for the fad to spread to the US? Can't you just picture street dancers and rappers in these magical shoes?  And the risk of getting them caught in a subway door will make rush hour much more interesting! This duo added matching hats to complete their outfits.

Adios, amigos! (Photos courtesy of AP.)


  1. Love the shoes, ladies.

    I have to say, I love my crafty, fierce, whimsical, eccentric, Mexican heritage.

  2. I am a flat shoe lover also and it is sometimes hard to find chic flat shoes. Those are great! Love that dance competition with those crazy shoes!!

  3. I was completely oblivious to the "elf shoes" trend in Mexico, so thank you for getting me up to speed. That is rather bizarre, but as men have much fewer options when it comes to playing with clothing and accessories, hey, why not. I don't understand how they can walk in them, but that is probably beside the point.

    You don't have to tell me how difficult it is to find comfortable and affordable stylish shoes - it's become almost an obsession for me! As for Valerie's new shoes - I am very taken with the black and white ones! You look quite funky perched on the stool in head to toe black and white...

  4. Valerie is stylin' in her black and white ensembles. Love it!
    The Mexican "elf" shoes have been around for at least 2 or 3 years (when I discovered them) and so far haven't made it up north of the border. Not too sad about that!

  5. Oh Valerie, don't change a thing about those fabulous animal print shoes! To die for. If only I could find them in Vancouver. Having inherited short, wide, bony feet, comfortable shoes are a total focus, and affordable comfy shoes are a complete obsession!

  6. Uniqueness and fonderful, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Have a lovely Christmasy weekend.

  7. I love the mexican pointy boots- I saw a video of them over a year ago (here's a vice link on the history of 'em)

    I also love those first shoes- great deal for $30

  8. The gloves, the hats, the shoes!
    And the words you choose.

  9. the last one are those for real?might as well paired it up with harem pants..lolz