Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Happiest Feet in Texas

Happy feet. I haz 'em.

Because of these babies right here:
Cole Haan FLX Air Vernonia

(All photos in this post are links -- click to see details about the shoes.)

This past Saturday, I was doing a little shopping. (Actually, I was doing a little returning, so theoretically I went up to the Domain to make some money. Best laid plans & all that.) As I strode purposefully past the Cole Haan store, I did a double-take/pull-up-short maneuver worthy of Charlie Chaplin when I saw the sign for these sandals in the window of the store. I marched in, I tried them on, I bought them, and I left with them on my hooves, all within the space of about 20 minutes.

Because they are jee-nee-uss. Light as air, comfortably padded, and constructed with no seams. The soles are completely flexible and grippy. I've worn them pretty close to non-stop for a few days now and I am completely besotted. If you go here, you can see a little video from Cole Haan about the line and its "technology." As I've mentioned before, Nike bought Cole Haan several years ago and it was one of the happiest things to happen to my feet in the history of the shoe business. It so happens that I had been girding my shoe-shopping loins in anticipation of looking for some good, comfy summer shoes. I'm going to Boston at the end of August and there will be quite a bit of stomping around on the cobblestones & sidewalks, I imagine, so I've been thinking about shoes to take with me. Problem solved.

The company calls the color silver, but it really seems more like an antiqued gold to me -- I never wear silver, and I have no problem with these. If it's silver, it's a warm silver, if such a thing exists. This shoe also comes in black, but I think the metallic is a great summer neutral.

I almost walked out of the store with two pairs -- the only reason I didn't was because they didn't have the other pair in my size/color combination, so Cole Haan is very kindly shipping them to me free of charge. What's on its way? These right here:

Cole Haan FLX Women's Air Veneta T-Strap Sandal

A slightly-less gladiatorial sandal, but still with a good t-strap so that it comfortably stays on my foot. This one is also available in Ivory and Black.

There was yet another one in the line that I tried but didn't buy -- these:

Cole Haan FLX Women's Air Gearhart Aysmetrical Sandal
It's another great-looking sandal, but I didn't like it as much on my foot. When I was browsing the shoes on the shelf, my lovely SA Emily (Hi, Emily!) came over to demonstrate for me that these guys have a reversible insole. You can pop the insole out and flip it over -- one side is brown and the other is black. My slightly-baffled response was, "Um, why?" Apparently the company thinks this makes the shoe more versatile. What I think it actually does is make the shoe more rigid, because the footbed of the shoe has to provide a slot for that insole to pop in & out of, so it's less flexible that the other models. Which is not to say it's uncomfortable, just not as bedroom-slipper bendy as the other ones.

The other great thing about these shoes is the price. They are very reasonable, even for Cole Haan, which I have said many times is a brand that I think already gives outstanding quality for the price. I can confidently say at this point I have more Cole Haan shoes in my wardrobe than any other brand, and I have no regrets about any of them.

So. Looking for good summer sandals? Here's some. Two big thumbs up from Style Spy. Go getcha some.

But first, just a small interjection to head off a few things at the pass. Whenever I tout a pair of shoes as comfortable, I get all kinds of questions about arch support and podiatric needs. Now let's just think about this for a moment, shall we? "How's the arch suppport in these shoes?" you ask. Well, pretty good for a pair of mass-produced, flat sandals. But. If you are a person who absolutely needs an orthotic arch support, do you really think these shoes are going to provide it for you? Take a look at those shoes. Do you really think it's possible that they are going to provide the sort of support you might find in, say, a good running shoe? Of course not. It's not possible. Let us please be realistic, people. Looking at a sandal like any of the above and bitching that they don't cradle your delicate little footsies in exquisite, perfectly-designed orthopedic comfort is like bitching that your cat doesn't bark when strangers come to the door. It's a totally different animal. It's not going to do that, it's not supposed to do that, it's not capable of doing that. So, please. Realistic expectations. That being said, I think these are a fantastic solution for the chic-yet-comfy dilemma, and I proclaim my summer shoe shopping finished and complete. If anyone takes me up on this recommendation, please let me know how they work out for you.

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