When it comes to shoes, I like them to be fun, stylish, and comfy, with a huge emphasis on the latter. Heels have their time and place, of course, but for me those are few and far between. Whether it’s because I have a super-strong puppy, trek up steep San Francisco hills, or enjoy skipping down the street on a whim, I like to put my feet in shoes that don’t ever hold me back.
Finding those shoes though is actually harder than one might think. Sure, I have ballet flats in every color and yes, I love how my Topsiders take me back to childhood, but I needed shoes that I could walk in all day, but also had a fun, funky vibe to them.
Blu Kicks is a family business that was started by a mother-son team (Victoria Fay and Will Leonard), both native San Franciscans. The family (five kids in all) vacationed in Hawaii every year and on one vacation their friend Bubba, a local fishing guide, pointed out that the Humuhumunukunukuapua’a, a gorgeous native fish that you can just call Humu, looked a lot like a shoe.
Victoria and Will were already concerned about the Humu’s future, which was in danger due to overfishing, and Bubba’s casual remark sparked something inside of them. They started looking around at what people on vacation were wearing and they saw a lot of Crocs and “gross rubber flipflops.” Will says they realized, “We can make a shoe that has a connection to the environment, is something that people want to wear on vacation, and actually looks good.”
And a company was born.
At first they thought they’d just do one shoe, but as they got started, they concept of “design inspired by nature” started to grow. Every shoe is inspired from colorful and exotic fish around the globe, but it’s Victoria’s background in interior design and color consulting that ensures the inspiration actually becomes a shoe people will love to wear.
She says of their first efforts: “People thought we were crazy, but the brand is about having different colors, having fun, and being a little less serious.” Which is why you won’t find a single black shoe in the bunch even though they know that would probably sell well.
The soles of the shoes feature a detailed drawing of the fish that inspired the shoe’s colors and will make you wish that putting your feet on the coffee table wasn’t frowned upon.
I showed them to my brother and his immediate reaction was “Cool. Where can I get a pair?” He’s a surfer, so he went for the “Farrallon” which has a shark on the soles.
The best part? Blu Kicks donates a dollar from every pair to an organization that helps protect threatened habitats. They explain, “The inspiration for the company was so tied to nature that we always knew that would be a part of it.” Even cooler? The fish on the shoe determines which of three charities receive the dollars.
On a purely selfish note, I love my Blu Kicks because I can slip them on (perfect for walking the dog), wear them all day (they somehow came broken in; I'm not lying), throw them in the wash (just take out the insole), and the nonslip/non-marking sole is perfect for boats for when someone decides to invite me on one (hint hint). Oh, and at $58, they're totally affordable.
(Also: and this is going to make me sound old, but they have cushy insoles that actually have arch support, something none of my ballet flats can claim.)
Whether paired with jeans, shorts, or a dress, I feel like they can be clam-digging preppy or surfer-girl sporty, depending on my mood.
Basically... I'm obsessed.
And now what you've been waiting for. The very best part:
Blu Kicks are giving away one pair of their shoes to a lucky xoJane reader!
Since Blu Kicks are "the official shoe of playing hookie," all you have to do to enter is:
1. Leave a comment about what you'd do/where you'd go if you could play hookie from work today.
Comments must be placed by tomorrow at midnight ET and you have to be in the U.S. and over 18 to enter. Good luck!