If you’ve been keeping up with my vacation planning, you’ll know that a few weeks back, I ordered comfy walking shoes online. Or tried to, anyway. I ordered a pair of Chaco Flip X Ecotread Flip Flops and a pair of Keen Coronado II sneakers in the same day. A few days later got word that the sneakers were sold out by mistake, and when the Chacos arrived a few days after that, I tried them on and hated them immediately. They looked fine, if a little bulky in the sole, but the deciding factor was that the straps cut into the tops of my feet. My feet have always been extra tender, and where most people seem to be able to break in a pair of shoes in a few weeks, it would have been a summer of bloody feet for me. So I said ‘no thanks’ and sent them back; once again, I was without comfy walking shoes.
Back to the drawing board, and this time with some more restrictions in mind. First off, whatever shoes I bought had to look good with everything I was bringing. They had to be cute with leggings, skirts and shorts, not require too much effort to put on, and most importantly, feel good on all sides of my feet. Even better if they’d help me manage the back pain I’m surely going to feel when I’m not doing my daily dose of Bikram yoga for two weeks straight. Oh, and they had to be affordable.
That last one was the toughest requirement. I was thinking about getting a pair of FitFlops, since they came out with a bunch of new designs this year and I already know that they make my back feel like a million bucks. However, the cuter ones (I require rhinestones if I’ve got to wear a shoe that clunky) are almost $100, which is just not good. In the end, after another couple of weeks of looking around on the internet and talking to people at my yoga studio, I decided on buying a pair of Sanuk flip flops. Best decision ever. I read that their yoga mat flip flops were cushy, like walking on clouds, and that the straps were soft on the top of your feet. All true. I opened up my new Yoga Glam flip flops, put them on, and fell into a fit of utter contentment. I’ve been wearing those babies every day since they arrived, and I’m planning on buying another pair of their shoes sometime very soon. I have high arches and some heel pain, and could see that maybe down the road I’d need a bit more support if I were wearing these 24/7, but overall they mold to the shape of your foot, and the straps have a soft fabric backing that is so light against the tops of your feet that it’s barely noticeable. Absolutely amazing value for flip flops – plus I love the color, a pretty bronze.
When it came down to picking a pair of sneakers, I’ve been hearing a lot about TOMS lately, and it seems like everybody and their brother has a pair, so I figured I’d try them out, too. I was worried about these giving me blisters, as well, and read a ton of reviews. Most people seem to order a half or even whole size down, but I’ve got big feet and decided to go with my gut instinct to just buy my size and see what happened. I don’t know if you’ve been to the TOMS website or not, but they’ve got so many great patterns to choose from. The site is broken down into Women’s, Men’s and Kids’, but I did some digging online and saw that there’s no difference in the way that the men’s and women’s shoes are built – meaning that if you want more choices in patterns and colors, or if a woman’s size is sold out in a common shoe, try the men’s section. That’s what I did to decide on these bad boys:
I wear a size 10, so I bought a men’s size 8, and they fit like a glove. Love them. I wore them for the first time a couple of days ago, and biked 5 miles to a party, then walked around for a couple of hours, and biked home – no blisters, no discomfort, just an all-around pleasant shoe. The only thing that I’m not a fan of is that these are really set up to wear without socks, and since the sole is leather, I can see that they’re going to get stinky kind of fast. I went ahead and took some precautions for that, though, and will be writing another entry about what I’ve found out on that front.
The best thing ever is the design on the toe. As a kid, I loved Madeleine L’Engel’s books, especially the Time Quartet series. If you’ve read “A Wind in the Door,” you might remember Progo, the cherubim (who actually looks more like one of the Four Living Creatures from Revelation, rather than either a cherub or seraph, but that’s beside the point). He was described as being all wings and eyes, and if you look closely at the design on the shoes, the wings are full of more eyes than just the central one in the heart. I think that when I saw these shoes, my subconscious kicked in and made me adore them on behalf of my 10 year old self. Of course, 30 year old me loves them, too. Can’t wait to sport these in Europe!