Bringing back an old school topic since I’ve got lots of new favorites that I want to share!
First off: new favorite shoes.
I have a terrible issue with shoes, it seems that my feet hate them. My feet are slightly wide so even though I should wear a 7.5, I often have to size up to an 8 if they run narrow. I also have a very high arch and most shoes are not made with that in mind and so they will fit, but become incredibly uncomfortable to walk in.
When I got hired at Starbucks, eons ago, I was dirt poor. I had to go out the day before and buy black shoes. I can’t remember where I got them but I got something akin to black keds. They were very cheap and they KILLED my feet. They had absolutely no arch support even after adding some supportive insoles, standing all day was murder on my feet/legs/back. It got so bad that I would stuff wadded up paper towels into my shoes at the beginnning of each shift. But I couldn’t afford anything more expensive/supportive and that job didn’t last too long anyways so I just dealt with it.
With my current job, 3-5 days a week I wear sneakers to work. (Related: sneakers or tennis shoes? I remember hearing once that one is the east coast term and the other the west coast term but I use them both interchangably.) I’ve been on the hunt for some non-descript flats to replace them with but keep coming up empty.
Enter: Tieks. I’ve read again and again that these are the most comfortable flats on the planet. They are also the most EXPENSIVE flats on the planet. But…my feet hate cheap shoes so I’ve been thinking about it a lot and thought maybe I could just order some, try them out around the house and at the first sign of discomfort, I would return them. But that’s still a hell of a lot of money for a pair of shoes, even if I loved them. So while hemming and hawing, I was reading some reviews from bloggers (who probably got theirs for free) and it seemed like I was going to have to bite the bullet, until I saw a comment from someone saying that their Vince Camuto Ellen flats were 1/3 of the price of the Tieks and way more comfortable. Hmmm.
So I did a little research on them and kept seeing very very positive reviews. I had planned on going to Nordstrom to try some on…but then I had an even better idea* and checked eBay**. I found a pair of *very* lightly worn flats in a size 8…for $20. Sold. I have spent more on Target shoes.
So I bought them. They came a few weeks ago and I wore them to work. They were great! They have some elastic around the front so they hug your foot, but no elastic on the back so they don’t dig into your heel. They are real leather so they form to your foot and bonus: mine were someone else’s so they were already broken in! They don’t have much arch support but I sit a lot at work, so I found it didn’t bother me at all. I was so ready to write a glowing review about how my life was changed! And ready to buy more pairs, I would even pay full price!
And then I went to Oakland for lunch and walked ~15 blocks and got horrible blisters on my pinky toes/heels. So bad that I was tempted to walk barefoot through Oakland back to my car. Sigh.
But I wasn’t ready to give up yet…so I waited a few days for the blisters to heal and wore them again and they were fine. The third time I wore them, I even walked 4-5 lengths of the mall after working all day and not one blister. So I guess they weren’t as broken in as I had assumed, but they seem to be fine now! I even went and bought a black pair, also from eBay. I spent $35 on those ones…so $55 for two pairs of shoes that retail $80 each. Not too bad!
They aren’t the fanciest looking shoe, but they are good enough for my needs and they may have just become my holy grail of flat. Comfortable, non-descript and mostly affordable. FINALLY.
*Nordstrom is the worst***. I’ve gotten a few dresses/accesories from there but always ordered online. I went in once to exchange something and by the way salespeople actively ignored me, I thought I had died and become a ghost. I guess my American Eagle jeans and Target shirt don’t scream that I’m made of money, so they figure there is no sale to be made.
**eBay is sometimes my favorite. I like to find something I like in a real store and then search for it on eBay. A lot of times you can find very lightly worn stuff for super duper cheap. You’ve got to be okay with that though…and as a veteran thrift store shopper, I am more than okay with that if it saves me some dough.
***With the exception of their bra department. I bought a strapless bra there before I bought my wedding dress because I didn’t want to end up with some crappy David’s bridal bra and the saleslady couldn’t have been nicer.