Archive for March, 2007
One of my guilty pleasures was to watch &amp;amp;amp;quot;The Look for Less,&amp;amp;amp;quot; the quasi-annoying show hosted by Elizabeth Hassleback in whcih she took one runway look that seemed appropriate/agreeable to the participant, and then had the poor woman run ragged in mall (quelle horreur!) with a ‘designer’ du jour and $175 to recreate the couture look. Although I was usually underwhelmed by the results (in what bizarro world would Payless shoes look remotely like Louboutins???), and had that nagging feeling that going cheapo on the clothes was going to result into an extremely high wardrobe turnover (no really, just how many uses would one get out of cardboard shoes, I’d like to know)–the idea stuck with me. But I also learned the hard way that trying to be cheap on shoes will come back to haunt me later in the form of blisters, cuts, discomfort, and premature aging and destruction of the shoe.
Which is not to say that I don’t look for quality designer look-alike shoes instead of the ‘premier designer’ shoes. The difference is often in the hundreds of dollars, but the results are usually really, really good. And in this spirit, let me propose to you an affordable, quality substitute for (gasp!) a pair of Louboutins.
(There is also a black patent version which I spotted in a boutique downtown Philly, but can’t find a picture of).
And here’s a VERY similar flat from Isaac Mizrahi, half the price (full retail), but now–only $99 at Endless.com:
Beautiful criss-cross peep-toe flat, in black patent or gold, at an irresistible price. My choice is made!
Remember Bjork’s swan dress from the Oscars a few years back?
Well, Marjan Pejoski, the designer who created that Fashion Statement Heard Round the World, has just released his fall/winter 2007-08 looks, and the gender lines are blurring. Check out these two looks from his upcoming line.
Not only could the clothing be in any women’s line, but just look at those shoes! Heels for men, huh? Maybe they could get a taste of what it’s like to walk around on your toes all day.
I’m not kidding myself that this trend is going to catch on with the mainstream public, but I will go on record as saying that I really like this look. I think it’s beautiful and androgynous, and while I’m not a fan of skinny jeans (never a good look to begin with, and now WAY too omnipresent), I’d wear that ruffly shirt and that big black leather collar and those second boots in a heartbeat! Of course, I loved Bjork’s swan dress, too. Long live androgynous fashion as far as I’m concerned.
The Classics: those shoe brands that are widely considered to represent the pinnacle and universality of their particular category. For heels, think Manolo Blahnik and Jimmy Choo. For ballet flats, think French Sole (both FSNY and FrenchSole/LondonSole) and Givenchy. And for walking comfort, think Mephisto.
Now, I know Mephisto doesn’t have a rep for being the most stylish or streamlined brand. And for years, this company left me cold. There were no styles that really struck me as attractive, and those that were nice-looking ended up being too narrow for my feet. But, like many comfort shoe companies over the past few years, Mephisto is upping their style quotient, with some really nice looking results. And I have finally incorporated a pair into my shoe wardrobe.
When I first went through the podiatry visits and physical therapy that convinced me I needed orthotics, I was a heartbroken girl. I was convinced I’d never be able to wear fun shoes again, that I was consigned to a life of &amp;amp;quot;old lady&amp;amp;quot; shoes, and that shoe shopping would become purely about what could fit my orthotics, and that fashion was a thing of the past. To cheer me up, good old Mom and I went on a shoe-shopping trip to Eneslow in NYC (a great comfort footwear store with everything from sneakers to dress shoes, for anyone who’s ever looking), and Mom kindly bought be these Mephisto Beatrice oxfords.
Now, for all my training in shoe brands and focus on comfort and construction, it’s still rare that a new pair of shoes literally needs no breaking in AT ALL. I know that’s what any truly well-fitting pair of shoes should be, but my feet just don’t allow for that in reality. Or, they didn’t until I tried on the Beatrice’s. They really are incredibly comfortable, and fairly stylish, in my opinion. The silver metallic and black suede are a fun combination that’s sort of sporty, but a little more fashion-forward than a plain leather would be.
So, here’s a little paean to this brand. First off, the basics. It’s a French-based company that focuses on using high quality materials and providing excellent support for people who really WALK in their shoes. They use tons of different lasts for lots of different shaped shoes, and their soles are all rubber or polyurethane, which offer excellent shock absorption. They have partly-cork footbeds in many of their sandals, so the shoes mold to your feet as you wear them. Their leathers are soft and even the strappy sandals don’t cut into your feet when you wear them. Mephisto shoes often have removable and/or ventilating and wicking insoles to keep your feet comfortable and dry. They give you arch support a-plenty, and have just the right balance of soft but supportive footbeds.
Since I know what you’re really all waiting for, here you go… THE PICTURES!
The classic Helen sandal in funky gold iguana
The Ibbine loafer in beautiful bronze leather
The sporty… er… Sporty
Caution: Mephisto’s do often tend to run on the small side, so keep that in mind when you’re ordering/buying and try going up a size.
posted by: jitterbugbaby in Foot Health and Fitness
It’s pretty generally true that everyone could benefit from custom-molded insoles in at least one pair of shoes. Maybe it’s your hiking boots, maybe it’s your party shoes, maybe it’s those stylish-but-uncomfortable shoes you wear to work. Well, now you may be able to have those insoles without having to pay several hundred dollars for an orthotic.
A company called (appropriately) SOLE, offers heat-moldable insoles for only $40-50 a pop (and if you buy multiple pairs, you can get a discount on top of those prices). This is genius, as far as I’m concerned. We all know that, much as we might like to, it’s not practical to buy shoes that offer you full support 100% of the time. But now, you can slip in these smart little helpers and add that support into any shoe that will fit the insole.
Just heat them up in an oven for a few minutes, then slip them into your shoes and slip your feet into the shoes on top of them. They’ll mold right to your foot. And there are different types of insoles for different activities and different types of shoes. There’s even a great Sole Selector to help you figure out which sole is best for your type of shoe and desired activity. The site has plenty of information about what the different soles can offer in terms of support.
Go check them out. Your search for customized support may be at an end.