One of you adorable freaks recently asked me to do a write-up of the most comfortable sandals for walking. If you identify yourself in the comments, I’ll come back up here and give you a shout out for the great idea! I just remembered that you also said, "And send me the bill," so please definitely DO identify yourself.
(EDIT: It was @SparkleBotGlitterFairy! The bill is on the way, babes.)
It really is a great idea -- because on my recent trip to NYC, I was so paranoid of my feet hurting every day that all I did was wear sneakers! Not only would some comfy sandals have been way cuter, it would have been 798% easier to try on all the clothes and shoes I had to investigate in my 4 days in the city. I swear I spent 3 solid hours just unlacing and lacing back up my high tops in dressing rooms while I was there.
I know, woe is me. I don’t know why I didn’t just bring a pair of sandals like the ones I’m about to suggest to you -- as I own a good half of these brands myself and have done some extensive road testing on the other half! (Actresses DO NOT like it when their shoes hurt their feet. They tend to behave quite poorly.)
But an advance warning: My taste in sandals runs straight 1970s Farrah Fawcett Majors/Charlie's Angels/granny style. But it's a totally proven fact that the 70s are really the only style decade worth ever reliving.
THE GOLD MEDAL WINNER
The beginning, middle and end authority on comfortable sandals is the one and only Birkenstock. The arch support is second to none, and the heel cup is nice and deep, cradling your foot in total comfort. But I’m not talking about the classic 2-strap hippie standard -- Birki has upped their game in recent years and makes some actual stylish ones -- I’m talking about my beloved Gizehs in particular.
I own 3 identical pairs of the exact black faux-patent leather Birki sandal above. I’m absolutely terrified they may stop making it one day, so I stockpile at the end of every summer when they go on sale. Their snappy shiny-ness removes any whiff of the patchouli wearing, granola eating Birkenstock wearer you may be envisioning. I’m personally all black everything -- but if you are a person who appreciates color, well, I don't want to know you, but have at it I guess?
Birki also makes a sandal with an ankle strap! It's called the Kairo, and is quite useful if you are a person who sometimes accidentally flings your shoe off your foot and into the sewer grate in front of a bar, like moi.
There are great deals to be had on Birkenstocks if you look around religiously -- I regularly pay less than $50.00 for them at the end of every summer.
My lovely mommy, who had recent knee replacement surgery, turned me on to the horrifically dork-named website FootSmart.com. Get it? Foots Mart? Foot Smart! They specialize in comfort shoes for those with foot issues. (Or just anyone who hates it when their damn feet hurt.) The bulk of their stock is true straight-up orthopedic stuff, but some cute hippie-chick inspired numbers managed to slip past them.
FootSmart carries one particular brand that is good for any of you that may have fallen arches or a pronation issue with your feet, meaning you walk with your foot turned inward. This is usually only helped by orthotics, which don't mix all that well with sandals. (I saw you down there in the comments, Miss Heron!) But that's where the quite sexily named Orthaheel sandal enters the picture.
The Orthaheels have a pretty decent amount of built-in arch support and a contoured, stabilizing heel cup -- which may help you get away with wearing them for short periods of time (sans orthotics!) to a wedding, outdoor BBQ or brunch this summer. It's sure better than a sharp stick in the eye. (They also carry Orthaheels at my mom's beloved QVC.com as well as at Zappos.)
They are like multi-colored jelly beans for your feet! The good thing about the stupid Crocs is that they are obviously super easy to rinse off when they get dirty. It also makes them the perfect pool sandal. The plastic they use for the straps is really soft and doesn't dig into your flesh like the jelly shoes of yesterday. They also actually have a bit of arch support -- and that's the main thing that makes a sandal comfortable. Super flat is not where it's at. Gross. I just recommended you buy Crocs. Let's move it along now, folks. No gawking at the car crash.
I already warned you about the 70s-centric nature of this post -- so of course I'm about to include the original sandal of the 1970s! The Bass "Sharon" is THE sandal of my childhood. The satisfying thwack-thwack-thwack of the comfy padded footbed against your heel is all it takes for me to be able to smell suntan lotion and bug spray in my mind. It's the sound and smell of summer encapsulated in a shoe.
If you find that the leather straps dig into your foot a bit, try rubbing a little of Lexol on the underside of them. It conditions the leather and helps cut the break in process in half.
I have no idea how you are supposed to pronounce the name of this brand. Born like a baby is born? Bjorn as in famous tennis player Bjorn Borg? Born's shoes are legendarily comfortable due to their shock-absorbing soles and padded footbed. The insoles of their shoes are also made of high quality materials -- meant to mimic the delectable feeling of wearing socks with sandals!
Every time I walk into the Aerosoles store in the mall, my inner mean girl snickers at me. Then I try on a couple of things and decide that life is too short to walk around with burning, aching feet.
I just realized this is the 3rd day in a row that I’ve posted about shoes. Should I just go ahead and declare it “shoe week” at xoJane? I think I shall. Coming up tomorrow: TOOLS TO KEEP YOUR SHOES FROM KILLING YOUR FEET!
I’m on Twitter: @IveyAlison.
PS: Click here for the 2014 edition of this post -- featuring brand-new, even better comfy sandals. There's something for everyone!