Walk a mile in these babies

May 24, 2010

Comfortable shoes, that’s what we want as we get older. No longer willing to put up with pinched toes in pointy shoes or crippling ourselves in much-too-high heels, we’re on the search for a nice pair of good-looking–yet comfortable–shoes.

My mother must have come to that same conclusion; for the last 25 years of her life she wore these comfortable but awful-looking clodhoppers made by SAS. She had them in beige and black. Oh, they were horrible. Thankfully,we have many more attractive choices today.

Our trip to Ireland and Scotland (in only two weeks!) requires a good bit of walking and I know from experience how important a good shoe is. I walked 10 miles in Vienna one day in a pair of cute but insufficiently supported navy blue Ecco oxfords and got plantar fascitis so bad that I had to have shots. Right in my foot. Which tells you how bad it was. Because the Diva would sooner walk on hot coals than take a shot in her heel.

Tennis shoes aren’t going to cut it for this trip because the British Isles tend to be wet. Plus, does anything scream “Ugly American” more than a pair of bright white tennis shoes?

So I went on a search for the ultimate pair of vacation walking shoes. They had to be fairly attractive, but comfortable for my size 8 foot that’s somewhere between a medium and a wide. Curiously, the toe box of my foot is a bit wider than normal. That means I haven’t had a pair of pointed-toe shoes in many decades. Also, my left foot is almost half a size smaller than my right. Which means one foot is always more comfortable than the other. Sigh.

Macy’s. Nordies. And more. Nothing. Is it too much to ask, I wondered?

Then, I spied Footwear Etc. in Cupertino. It specializes in comfy walking shoes and sandals. Maybe you’ve seen their catalog. I’d never been in one of their stores.

Just like an old-time shoe store, they actually had a metal shoe sizer, shoe-fitting stools with footrests and shoehorns. The clerk actually did more than just throw a box at me–she measured, she consulted, she shoehorned, she added padding, she called other stores.

Wow. Totally anachronistic. At my “happy place,” Macy’s shoe department, I’m lucky to find a salesperson at all and they barely grunt as they toss the boxes down and take off again. I’ve never seen them actually help someone with fit. And finding one if you want a different size is like searching for the Loch Ness Monster. It’s there, lurking somewhere in the bowels of the loch, but rarely seen.

The Etc. at Footwear Etc. apparently stands for “service,” which is not even an “etc.” at most stores. I was liking this a lot.

I picked a few styles and brands. Nothing felt right. Then, I found two pairs that I liked and felt good in. One an oxford and the other a slip-on with a high vamp. Both black.

Better yet, I could wear them for 30 days and if I didn’t like them, I could return them. AND, since they didn’t have my size in another style that I liked even better, they checked with another store. That pair will be in by Monday; it was worth waiting a few days so I can try them on. Especially since I could give these a trial run in the meantime without penalty.

I bought the two comfortable pairs since I only have two weeks of “break-in” time. Here’s the pair I’m wearing now.

They’re oxfords with a little bit of style, a whole lot of comfort and they’ll look good with jeans, leggings or black pants. I like them and they aced their first outing this past weekend in San Francisco.

Oh, what brand are they, you ask?

They’re SAS.

Moms. They’re always right, aren’t they?

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