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These shoes were made for walking

Posted in Style & Travel

$178.00
$178.00

Mooching around a shoe store in Santa Monica with my friend Luisa, she mentioned her doctor recommended she stops wearing flats. “Not good for your back – that is why you are experiencing pain along your sciatic nerve”.
Luisa, who is tall and favors a casual style, wears flats exclusively: not just ballet flats but flat boots, sandals, booties…the whole nine yards. I must have seen her in (2”) heels maybe twice in all the years I have known her.
“I don’t know what to do, I am so used to flats….” she trailed off, picking up a pair of Sketchers.
“You are not buying Sketchers” horrified, I plucked the shoe from her hands and put it back on the shelves.

I love flats too but they are taxing on our bodies – wearing them is akin to going barefoot as far as our spines are concerned. Especially if, like Luisa who is a teacher, most of our working time is spent on our feet. With Summer rushing in, flat flip-flops become ubiquitous and very tempting but, aside for a couple of pairs, I have been resisting the temptation – having worked on my feet for the last ten years, I am very familiar with the type of support I need to endure hard floors and what the wrong shoes can do to my back and hips (and let’s not bring up little spidery veins).

Finding shoes with “sensible” heels or some support that don’t scream “dowdy” can be challenging, especially now that heels have become required attire. How about those (middle-aged) ladies who were turned away from the Cannes red carpet for wearing flats? (and, on an aside, would they been turned away some beautiful and half-naked starlet had she been wearing flats? doubtful. Although, should you be attending Cannes next year, just know heels are now required!).

I have these in orange and find them very comfy
I have these in orange and find them very comfy – from MGemi

Like the rest of our bodies, as we age, our feet change, not often for the better, especially if, during the previous decades, we constrained them into funny shapes (remember the pointed toe shoes of the 80s?) or impossibly high heels. Since I started doing yoga about 20 years ago, I could swear my feet have gotten wider – I still like to wear heels on occasion but only if I know I will not be on my feet for over two hours and no fair amount of walking is required. Even my most comfortable Manolo Blahnik do not make for pleasant walking.

For Luisa, and for all of you who are teetering towards comfort but do not wish to sacrifice style, I scoured some of my go-to sites for inspiration.

I own two pairs of these espadrille wedges. They have been so popular, JCrew keeps on bringing them back. Yes, maybe a little bit higher than one would associate with comfort but I assure you that walking in them is very comfortable. And  they come in different colors, materials and even the cutest leopard print.

If you can’t live without ballet flats, these, also from JCrew, come in many colors and a tiny heel, that came make all the difference. Ditto for these flip-flops (although, that is what I was wearing when I tripped down the stairs and broke a toe!).

The MGemi site has been launched with quite a bit of fanfare a few weeks ago. Based in Florence, Italy, the premise is that stylish and good quality shoes made by Tuscan artisans are shipped directly to the consumers, keeping the prices low. While the styles can veer towards conservative, it seems like they have a good choice at affordable prices: the evergreen mid-heel pumps come in metallic hues; a simpler knock-off of a popular Valentino slingback is perfect for fancy occasions and I particularly like these chunky heel sandals.

Prada-Women-s-Shoes-22My choice of shoes can be quirky at times. I like to enliven an otherwise tame outfit with a pop of color on my feet or some unusual shape. And every few years I will reward myself with a pair of Prada shoes because I like how Miuccia Prada marries comfort and quirkiness. These I bought at Heathrow a few years ago en route to see sofagirl. And I still wear them proudly. On the Nordstrom site I found some Prada sandals, the tamer ones, from the Summer 2015 collection, heavily discounted. Yes, still pretty expensive. But they are a treat.

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And, if all else fails, Birkenstocks are back in fashion, as seen on a number of runways. I read a long article on how Birkenstocks are lovingly hand-made in Germany with secret materials and technology: now they can be had in metallic leather, funky colors and even fur-lined for  winter. Not my cup of tea but I am told they are the MOST comfortable shoe ever.

New-font-b-Birkenstock-b-font-fashion-women-sandals-summer-beach-shoes-unisex-hot-seller

 

 

And let me spare a word for clogs. I wear clogs at home and when I work in the kitchen and they have saved my back. You need to get used to how heavy they are but the support they offer is amazing. I am very excited to have scored a fitting  with the Clogmaster who is based in Portland but comes to LA routinely to satisfy her surgeons, doctors and chef clients. The clogs are made to measure and they come in a lot of fun colors. I just can’t wait!

clogs

 

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15 Comments

  1. silvia
    silvia

    I’m a huge Birkenstock fan and find it somehow sexy. I know I can’t be taken seriously, but bear with me.

    June 1, 2015
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      If I ever see you wearing Birkenstocks, I might have to pretend not to know you.

      June 2, 2015
      |Reply
  2. How I wish I had access to these shoes, but the $/ZAR exchange rate precludes this. I have teeny weeny feet, size 2 & a half, and shoe buying is difficult, to say the least. And don’t direct me to the Childrens’ Dept. If I had a Rand for every time somebody did this, I’d be rich. Growl!!

    May 31, 2015
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I feel for you. It must be so frustrating finding options that fit. Sometimes I ship stuff to sofagirl as buying from South Africa, using US based websites, is unaffordable and adds shipping charges that can be higher than the cost of the purchase. Maybe she should write a post on where to buy fun fashion in South Africa (although I can’t wait to shop at Woolworths’ again!).

      May 31, 2015
      |Reply
  3. camparigirl
    camparigirl

    Well Winton, definitely not a boy problem here. I have to admit that Hobbits’feet creep me out…

    May 29, 2015
    |Reply
  4. I know I’ll just be the odd one here, but for the life of me, I just don’t understand how wearing heels can be good for your back – I mean, if you’ve worn them for many years, then yes, your Aquiles heel has retracted and you’ll need that extra support for your legs and back to feel comfortable, but otherwise… We weren’t born in shoes and only started wearing heels because this French queen didn’t want to look too short next to her husband, and now doctors tell us this is much better than what we come naturally equipped with? Meh, I’ll stick to my combat boots and Adidas…

    Oh, and Birkenstocks? Very comfy indeed, but they do give me blisters when I begin wearing them each year, for the first couple of weeks (and I do mean the same pair I own, not new ones). Yes, I’m odd.

    May 29, 2015
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      You are not odd. Had we lived all our lives barefoot, our spines would probably able to compensate but, as it is, we need some support – not necessarily heels- for a healthy back. And high heels are just as bad as no heels! I have a friend whose both Achille’s tendons snapped and had to have surgery to repair them and now she can’t wear complete flats nor high heels. Combat boots definite the way to go.

      May 29, 2015
      |Reply
  5. Those red ones are the bomb. Do people still say that? Anyway, they are awesome. MGEMI here I come.

    May 29, 2015
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      The bomb? Yes probably dating ourselves here!

      May 29, 2015
      |Reply
  6. Oh swoon-I love those amazing red shoes! Have bookmarked MGEMI website. Getting old is truly the pits, but beats the alternative I suppose. Have become a devotee of clogs lately, that and cowboy boots. I know strange combo, but it seems like there’s nothing quite like a great pair of cowboy boots to keep a girl’s feet from aching 24/7. And when I find the perfect pair in red…I may never take them off! 🙂

    May 29, 2015
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Actually, I get the cowboy boots. Especially if handmade they hug your ankles and give plenty of support. I have a surgeon friend who wears them almost exclusively

      May 29, 2015
      |Reply
      • sofagirl
        sofagirl

        Don’t you dare.

        June 1, 2015
        |Reply
  7. Glad you ended on a high note. Clogs I could consider. I like peasant chic. And I didn’t know they offered such support…hmmm. Birkenstocks however, I’d give to the dog to chew on! Feet resemble big splayed cuts of meat in these. They’re akin to Crocs for me. I used to be able to find great mid height heels when I lived in Italy. Less so here in the US with this incessant need for comfort over style. I tend to wear high heels and take a change in my bag. I even cycle in high heels which does gain impressed reactions from my students. But I’ve taken to wearing platforms as a half measure although the fact that your feet don’t bend brings a different type of discomfort at the end of the day.
    Basically what I’m saying is I feel your plight!

    May 28, 2015
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Crocs must be the ugliest shoes ever ever invented. And Birkenstock are right behind them. I tend to buy most of my mid heels in Italy still (see Prada). In Milan I used to walk to the office in sneakers and change into heels once I arrived. In LA don’t really have that problem. I can just drive in heels. Love platforms and wedges. My shoe of choice these days.

      May 29, 2015
      |Reply
  8. Haysoos! Wimmons shoes! My first wife (44 years&counting) worked in shoeshops (Gah!) until we left town for the country. I should show her this -not. Bare feet believer myself – not going to Cannes but Peter Jackson is also a fan of the bare foot

    May 28, 2015
    |Reply

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