Wednesday, August 08, 2012

A Shoe Story

Once upon a time, many decades ago, I wore nothing less than five inch heels.  Charles Jourdan (anyone remember those?) was my favorite shoe designer.  At 5'10" that would bring me to the impressive height of 6'3".  Guys liked that.  Even the short ones. 

Today, I only wear shoes that fit my orthotics.  Sounds sexy, huh?

Sebago Docksides.  Not so sexy.
My weekend at BlogHer12 was as much about my feet as it was about blogging.  Before leaving, I had read a few wise posts about bringing along decent footwear, but also, go for the gusto, feel beautiful, leave the Crocs at home.  I wore my Sebago Docksiders on the plane thinking they'll go with my more casual outfits, and then brought along a simple pair of pumps for everything else.  I couldn't have made a worse choice.

Stuart Weitzman classic pumps.  So versatile, but never got to wear them.
Flying makes my feet swell.  Oh, and walking and standing a lot.  All that hardware still in my ankle (I'll tell that story someday), I could feel it creak.  By the time I was ready to dress up for the evening, I couldn't fit my feet into my pumps.  I stayed in my jeans and Docksiders.  Fortunately it was a travel day and most women remained casual.  Still, I hated feeling frumpy.

After dancing all night, my feet still weren't ready for pumps the next morning.  My feet have either grown a size or these shoes never felt great in the first place.  I stuck with a casual linen dress and the Docksiders and hated it - not a great look unless on a boat.  Of all the topics covered at BlogHer12, when I ran into Lisa Stone (BlogHer cofounder) on the elevator we talked about shoes.  I envied her gorgeous heels, she envied my boat shoes.  Really?  I told her I feel so frumpy.  Her response, "Honey, with that necklace, you could never be frumpy."  Nevertheless, when I couldn't get into my next session, I ran to Fifth Avenue to shop.

Just curious what all the top designers had, I visited Monolo Blahnik, Fendi, Stuart Weitzman, Gucci, Ferragamo and Prada.  I scoured both Henri Bendel and Bergdorf's to no avail for a pair of elegant, but comfortable flats.  What I saw was a lot of ballet flat styles that could have been designed by just about anyone priced between $500 - $800.  I could have got something at Target and who would have known?  Really.  I did not see anything of distinction that made these shoes standout.  Finally, I ended up at Saks Fifth Avenue not feeling very hopeful.  Instead, I was surprised to find a glittery, lovely pair of flats by Kate Spade.  Not exactly Target prices, but not outrageous either. 

Kate Spade.  Glittery and girly.
These were the ones.  I've always thought of Kate Spade designs as being boring.  Not these.  I wore them the rest of the day and into the night with that extra burst of shoe confidence in my stride.  Unfortunately, wearing brand new shoes for hours of walking, standing and dancing is not wise.  By the time I retired, I was crying in pain.  The next morning, again getting blocked out of one of my sessions, I ran back (actually cabbed it, my feet were killing me) to Saks for another try.

This time, boring ballet flats didn't seem so boring.  I picked out a simple pair by Tory Burch.  Again, not a favorite designer.  That big, metal logo popping out of all her goods I find tacky and annoying.  Alas, these were the most comfort I've had since having a therapeutic foot massage from my PT.  I gulped at dropping another fortune for shoes, but I needed something, now.

Tory Burch Ballet Flats.  The most comfort wins.
The super surprise was that my orthotics fit with ease and the rest of the day I was off and running.  With such happy feet, I got over the chunky logo soon enough and even became somewhat fond of it.  Thanks Tory.  These shoes never left my feet until finally drifting off to sleep after another crazy day of walking, standing and dancing like I was 19 again.

Now, all this trouble could have been avoided if I had acted earlier enough on an amazing BlogHer promotion.  Before the conference, all attendees had a coupon to purchase a pair of Tieks for 50% off.  I had never heard of Tieks before the promotion, but I'm so glad I know them now.  I will forever be on the hunt for online deals to get another pair, or two, or three.  These little flats are made to bend in half and slip into a cute little pouch to tuck in your purse.  Those fabulous heels Lisa Stone was wearing?  She could have taken a break at any time with a pair of these.

Tieks.  All folded up.
I especially like the blue soles.  Kind of reminds me of Tiffany's blue.  They arrived in the cutest packaging ever. 

Tieks Packaging
I'm going to wear that yellow flower in my hair someday.  If not, Chloe will.

The moral of the story is... bloggers going to BlogHer obsess about shoes for a very good reason.  If you're going to a conference, take heed.  Bring cute, but comfortable shoes.



  1. Kate spade is my fav brand in the US! I c as n live with their bow design stuff forever... I can understand their flat shoes hurts tho.
    I had a coach flat 2yers ago and wore it so much, walked too many miles in sf, they actually tore. But it was such a confy Cute coral pink flat..and I never met anybody who has the same designed shoes.
    I love all these brand that you looked at too, but its all depends on the season they change their color&style so much...i switch my fav all the time. I love that little flipped flat you bought! I gotta get one;)

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  3. If placed in my closet, these would be as adorable as my Fendi Fendista.

  4. Hi! What orthotics did you use with your Tieks? I am looking for some that would fit to provide extra arch support. Thanks!