Stay in Step With Fashion: Shoe Brands That Combine Style With Comfort
Photo: Heather Chang Photography/Getty Images
It can be a long search indeed for a shoe that’s both stylish and comfortable. Here, a few brands we love.
Dr. Taryn Rose was an orthopaedic surgeon who traded in her scrubs for shoes and launched her footwear line in 1998. But it was not clinical footwear — with her medical background in human anatomy, she was determined to integrate comfort with stylish shoes.
Collaborating with design and tech experts, her footwear brand was not only in step with fashion but incorporating features such as contoured footbeds and cushioning lead to line of stylish shoes with optimum comfort. It wasn’t long before the brand developed a loyal following of professional women and singlehandedly created a new category in footwear — the stylish comfort shoe. An appearance on the Oprah Winfrey show in 2001 lead to her sales doubling in one year. By 2008, the entrepreneur was ready to slow things down and sold her company for a reported $40 million. But Rose recently returned to the business as creative consultant to the shoe company she started more than two decades ago.
Taryn Rose Bryanna Calf hair Loafer, $228.56, Nordstrom.com
At the recent fashion weeks in Europe, models and influencers were seen championing the return of flip flops, sporting the slim rubber thongs backstage and out on the city streets. But while a summer staple, as anyone who spent any length of time in this footwear knows, thongs can be tricky. The strap between the toe can be irritating after awhile and the very flimsy nature of the design can pose a hazard of tripping.
A better alternative, which offers all the same wind-between-your-toes glee, are Chacos sandals. They provide a contoured arch support which is certified by the American Podiatric Medical Association and are made of long-lasting polyurethane, which does not break down or flatten with wear. These Chacos sandals are also made with a single strap which can easily be adjusted to each wearer, ensuring the sandal always stays comfortably on your feet. The soles, comprised of recycled rubber, are also designed with treads to handle tough terrain — it’s almost like a hiking boot but light and airy like a sandal. Factor in the easy-to-wash attributes and it’s the ideal long lasting summer sandal.
Chacos Z Chromatic sandal, $135, please consult chacos.ca for a retailer near you.
Celebrating two milestones recently, his 50th birthday and 25 years in the shoe business, means this Canadian entrepreneur has spent half his life perfecting the art of combining comfort with chic when it comes to shoes.
The intrepid shoe retailer struck footwear nirvana when he developed his All Day Heels — blending science with soles. His brand of shoes features some cutting edge technology which incorporates materials used by NASA. The space agency uses a material named Poron, which consists of thousands of air bubbles per square inch and remains highly resilient despite continuous pressure. Using a layer of the material in the soles of his shoes, White describes it akin to walking on a cloud all day long. He also incorporates many other features in his Ron White shoes such as extra room in the toe box and rubber injected under the ball of your foot for extra cushioning.
His lengthy list of fans include Celine Dion, Kim Cattrall and Vanessa Williams.
Ron White embroidered suede shoes, $495, ronwhiteshoes.com
This San Francisco based company was founded by former New Zealand soccer player Tim Brown and bio tech engineer Joey Zwillinger in 2015. Coming from New Zealand, a nation with an abundance of wool producing sheep, Brown came up with the simple premise: shoes made of sustainable wool, machine washable and unisex.
Before long, Allbirds was the footwear of choice of Silicone Valley techies. Then Hollywood discovered them as a wave of celebs from Oprah Winfrey to Gwyneth Paltrow started wearing them. Some, like Leonardo DiCaprio, like them so much he reportedly invested in the company. Today the company is worth over a $1 billion.
Allbirds shoes feature uppers made of a patented wool material which has strength to sustain wear and tear and is non-itching, breathable and temperature regulating, making them perfect to wear without socks. The soles are made of lightweight foam and rubber, making them sturdy to wear outdoors. Fans often described them as slippers made of clouds.
After having such whopping success with wool, the company continues to expand on their eco friendly ethos by using other materials from mother nature for their shoes, such as eucalyptus plants.
Women’s Wool Loungers, $135, allbirds.ca