Sunday, February 10, 2013

Stylish Comfort Shoes and Boots - Do They Even Exist?

Let me start by saying that I am not a “comfort shoe” kind of girl, I love my Louboutins, and Manolos and anything that will give me 4-5 inches of height!  But at the same time, I have been known to rock some Dansko boots, or peruse a Walking Company store from time to time, just in case they have something for me.  This usually results in a wasted effort and I walk away with nothing. Most comfort shoes are horrendous.  Most are chunky, and heavy, and resemble orthopedic prescription shoes, and they are for the most part, just plain ugly.

We frequent Vegas, and I am past the era of trying to get around that town in 5 inch stilettos.  I am short, (5’4”) so I still want a heel, and besides that, most flats hurt my feet after only a few hours. I bought a pair of Frye Veronica Slouch boots, and wore these all around Vegas to break them in and they were fabulous. 

So a recent trip to London, I thought the Frye boots would be my go to shoes for traipsing around and touring about… WRONG.  I ended up with blisters at  least 2 inches in diameter on the back of both heels the first day we were there.  I could feel the pain starting, but didn’t look until I returned to my hotel.  ACK!  WTF was I going to do?  It was only day 1 of an 11 day trip.   I was staying near Heathrow without a car and the only other shoes I had were my Hunter rain boots, and pumps for work.  Great.  

My heels hurt so much, I wasn’t going to be able to go shopping for hours looking for comfortable walking shoes , but I did manage to make it to a Boots (pharmacy/drugstore) and bought some fabulous blister pads that were large enough to cover the blisters.  But my heels still hurt.   Being jet lagged and unable to sleep, I started looking online.  I found a great UK site that provided free overnight shipping and returns, and they also sell a brand that my Husband’s Mom loves. Rieker.      

The style of Rieker shoes can be hit or miss. Some are terribly ugly, some have too much of a comfort shoe aesthetic.    Last summer I tried my first pair of Riekers, and they were fabulous.  But the style selection in the states has only been ok at best.  One thing I have realized is that all of them, including flats and heels, are extremely comfortable.  More comfortable than any shoe I have ever worn, including athletic shoes.  Knowing this, I am still not willing to sacrifice style for comfort just yet.  

As I perused the online selections in the UK, I came across the Rieker Valentina Boots and the Rieker Aurica Boots. I was hesitant, my calves are wider than the apparent average and often too large to fit into most stylish boots.   But with free returns, I wasn’t too worried about taking a chance on them.  I just wanted boots that would be suitable for miles and miles of walking, at this point, I was ready to compromise my style. For safe measure, I threw in a pair of Rieker Peggy Boots that I knew would be sufficient if the other two didn’t work out. 
The boots arrived the next day and imagine my excitement when all of them fit perfectly!  Not to mention the comfort!  No need to break them in, and with the aid of the blister guards, I barely noticed any heel pain.  I alternately wore them from that day forward for the entire trip which included thousands and thousands of steps all around central London.  My male travel partners were surprised that I could keep up with them in heels no less, and not be complaining about my feet hurting. 

I can’t say that Rieker shoes would be the solution for everyone, as each person’s needs differ.  But these are definitely worth a try and they are sold all over the internet in the US, provided you can find a style you like!  I still love my heels, but when planning for a lot of walking, Manolos aren’t going to work out so well.  If you know of other brands that are worth trying, please, please let me know!

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