I recently spent a week in Victoria B.C. As you can imagine, it was incredible. Our room had a spectacular view and a jacuzzi on the the deck. Between these luxurious amenities and the on again off again rain, I'll admit it took me a couple of days to venture into the heart of the city.
On my first excursion away from pizza delivery and wrapping up the Good Wife on Netflix, I wore my Hunter rain boots. It was only a 15 minute walk to nearby restaurants and pubs over flat ground. Hours later I discovered how uncomfortable a shoe can be, even when it is flat. It was a nice excuse for an additional glass of wine before the walk back, but I became fixated on the perfect walking shoe for such an occasion.
After scanning the city for the elusive shoe store of dreams, I found it: Footloose. I know saying the name hurts me as much as it hurst you. But, you won't forget it. So, there's that. The shop was filled with all the best brands for looking hip while actually doing things. If you are ever in the mood to hop on the Clipper for a day or two in Victoria, go directly to Footloose.
If, however, you don't see yourself heading to Canada soon, I thought I'd highlight a few of my favorite brands from the store. Each brand below is available at Footloose. So, really, if you can get there, make the trip.
But, if you can't, I took it a step further and am highlighting a few of my favorite styles from each brand that you can purchase directly from online retailers in the US. Options! Enjoy!
Modern and Mobile: Walking Shoes You Can be Proud of
The Spanish word for, "faithful, loyal or trusted," Fiel started in Los Angeles when the owner struggled to find shoes appropriate for back to back weddings in three locations. They are modern, timeless, eye-catching (as in, "I love your shoes!") and they are comfortable! I've included a variety of heights. Personally, I couldn't walk all day in the very high wedges, but the Wolfe, Wheeler and Aztec sandals are just a few of what the American brand has to offer.
2. Fly London
These were my favorite at Footloose. Sturdy rubber soles with hip urban design. You can't go wrong. I'm especially excited about the sale prices for spring shoes. Get them while you can. Think this peacock blue isn't practical? Think again. Pair it with yellow, purple, red, orange, navy, kelly green and an array of neutrals. Just keep things simple. As the Fashion Footwear Brand of the Year in the UK, you are sure to see more of Fly London in nearby retailers.
3. El Naturalista
Let me begin with a caveat. I'm not endorsing all of El Naturalista's shoes as stylish. In fact, I'd say the majority are not incredibly modern. But, if you look closely, you'll find a few gems. And, a certain woman is going to love these shoes for their unique style and wearability. If you avoid excessive decorative stitching, you are good to go.
Yes, they are pricey. But, what an investment. The heels below are leather calfskin with a velcro closure. So edgy. So attention-getting. And, again, so comfortable. These aren't intended for the walk from my hotel room to the center of town, but they are perfect for a 14 hour work day that demands you look your best from first thing in the morning until your head hits the pillow at night.
5. Bed Stu
Menswear-inspired distressed vintage-inspired shoes from the Bed Stuy neighborhood in Brooklyn. Bed Stu also makes mens shoes and accessories that will have the men in your life itching for their own pair of these unforgettable shoes. The Cobbler Collection is a special line of shoes handmade by a small group of cobblers. You'll love them. And, you'll live in them because they are cool and comfortable. The more wear, the better. That pretty much seals the deal.
6. Toffel AKA Swedish Hasbeens
I'm not sure if it's because my first trip out of the country was to Sweden or if it is the years of random connections I've had with Swedes, but I am quickly becoming obsessed with Toffel and Swedish clogs. Yup. I said it. This first pair of boots is a better version of the Steve Maddens I wear repeatedly. And, the sandals with the wooden base, forget about it. Comfortable, cool, retro and still modern. Short of a trip to Sweden, these are the answer for bringing Europe to your feet.
If the photos aren't enough to inspire you to jump on the Swedish clog bandwagon, perhaps this quote from the company will be: "Swedish Hasbeens shoes are hand-made using the same craftsmanship as in the the 70s which is kind to people and nature. We use natural materials and you could pretty much bury your shoes in your garden."
So whether you are traveling the globe, the Seattle city streets or just the same patch of carpet from your desk to the printer, invest in yourself. Be good to your feet. After all, wearing a great pair of shoes that nurture your feet all day long can feel better than a lovely glass of wine after a hard day. Truly.
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