As a self-professed shoe whore, I am always on the lookout for beautiful, unique, comfortable, and affordable shoes. If you salivate over shoes like me, perhaps you know, you’ll likely find maybe two out of four of the above qualities, but it’s rare you will find all four in one shoe. Thank you high-end designers for making gorgeous, painful shoes that few can afford. Or making affordable shoes that are ugly. Perhaps a comfortable shoe that looks like every other shoe in the world. You catch my drift.
I love the classics as much as I love statement options, and in that vain, I want to share with you three companies that will add both classics and gorgeous flair to your collection. Oh, and did I mention comfort?
All three companies fall into a moderate price range ($200-$400) for the most part; depending on the shoe, though, perhaps the splurge range. Not a $1500 splurge, more like a $400-$500 splurge. A splurge, nonetheless. Don’t believe me that $200-$400 is moderate? Where I live, Dansko clogs are a staple in many women’s wardrobe, and they run $100-$170. Today, cheap shoes run below $100, and the vast majority of them aren’t well made and are uncomfortable. I have a few uniquely patterned pair of Danskos, and I roll my heels in them more often than I care to admit. I find I’m actually more stable in heels. Go figure.
I’m willing to invest in good shoes, and I use the term invest intentionally – we’ve talked about style vs. fashion. Pieces that are timeless (and comfortable) build your wardrobe and don’t often fall into the purge pile because they go with everything. It’s like a suit: You spend a good amount of money on a suit that is timeless. Same goes for shoes. Want value? Invest. Even statement shoes don’t often go into the purge pile because you purchased them with intent – a specific outfit or simply because of sheer love. It’s the everyday ones you purchase at discount stores that often see the bye-bye pile more oft than not.
A good looking shoe that is comfortable and well made is up there with a good bra and a good pair of jeans… can you really put a price tag in it? Well, sure you can, but ladies… come on. And if you are a thoughtful buyer, not an impulsive one (I’ll never admit to this), and can wait for the end of season sale… you will be extremely pleased with the sale prices of all these companies- if your shoe and size still exists…
You may or may not have heard of these companies, but if you love shoes, you need to know about them.
Founded in 2007, these shoes redefine classics each season. Season after season, you will see very similar cuts in the shoes, but the cuts have reimagined flair, colors, fabrics, and details to fit the current style. These shoes are insanely comfortable, timeless classics. Handcrafted in Italy (aka well made), these shoes run from the $175-$400 mark, but if you want all of the major categories – beautiful, unique, and perhaps most important, comfortable – this is your shoe company. I own several pair and can wear them comfortably all day long. Because of the timeless cuts, I’ve been able to wear the shoes over the span of many years and get tons of compliments on them every single time. If you want to test my theory, go to their sale page and try a pair out for $99. Don’t like em’ – call me a liar and send them back. I’m guessing that won’t happen though.
Named after one of the founding members Maria Gangemi, this company values craftsmanship and artistry in all they do, from the shoe designs to the way they run their company, all the way down to the customer service. Growing up in Sicily, Maria remembers walking up the streets to “routinely discover goods created with the most exacting attention to design and quality. Each week, boutiques would display new, limited-edition shoes handmade by neighboring shoemakers, just a few doors down the street. They were always fresh, always rare, and always reasonably priced. “Rooted in Florence – aka Italians make damned good shoes – and working with family-owned companies who’ve handed down the craftsmanship from generation to generation, M. Gemi offers timeless and trend-on luxury coupled with comfort. There is both a men and women’s line, with new shoes released each week. When this company says rare, they kinda mean it. I get their emails on Monday, and have gone back on Wednesday to order the shoe, only to have my size sold out. Teach me to wait.
While I’ve yet to own a pair of their shoes, I love this company already. Forget the fact that I have to hold back from ordering a pair almost every week when I get the emails – I’ve called to talk about fit, and it’s like talking to a friend. With each shoe, the company discusses what they love about it – why it’s rare in their minds – and then they discuss the fit. They wear their own shoes and are honest about the comfort level. Some have everyday wear from the box, some will need a few wears to feel the comfort, and some will have a few (stunning) hours of comfort. Their advice about those shoes? Take the taxi. Maybe that’s my advice, but they would agree with me, I know.
The shoes run from $125 (summer sandals) up to close to $600 (tall Italian suede boots – sexy, sexy things they are). The average heel runs in the upper $200 range, but as a heel wearer, I’ve learned a good heel is priceless.
I follow this company like a stalker, and I wish, oh how I wish, this teacher had something this company desired in my skill set. If you’re in SoHo, they have a new store and are hiring. Color me green with jealousy.
With designs starting as early as 1970, John Fluevog started his own company in the 1980s, and while his shoes are fairly unconventional, look past the obvious, and you’ll see the classic nature of all his designs. I call them unique classics, with a serious twist. He gained international notoriety in the 1990s when stars like Madonna and Deee-lite’s Lady Miss Kier wore his shoes in movies and on album covers, and lately, Lady Gaga has been spotted in his designs. The actual history of the company is a brilliantly written piece of work worth any shoe lover’s time, but it’s the unique nature of his shoes that keeps me coming back. If you love statement shoes that are wonderfully comfortable, then you will adore Fluevogs. With sale prices that can dip into the $60 range, you can certainly wait to see if you get the one you love, but this is a company who only makes so many in any given size, and these are distributed throughout stores in Canada and the US. With both a men’s and women’s line, prices range from $215-$460 (tall boots). The shoes below are the ones I covet this season, and I will simply have to keep coveting them since I waited and they are sold out in my size.
There is a very classic design to every shoe, but the details (like real pressed flowers and very cool buckles or ties), the textures, the colors, and the unique spin makes each one of these shoes collectibles. I have 4 pair now, and I always, always get compliments. Sure, I get a few stares, but these are from people who are afraid of their shadows or people who are offensively boring. Damned be the boring, I say. These are not shoes for the masses, and this is exactly what drew me to this company. These are shoes for people who want to set the trend and make a statement while adhering to comfort. Amen to that.
Mr. Fluevog, I adore thee.
shoe meme credits