Tuesday, April 03, 2007

My Crocs, My Lovely Lady Crocs

Last summer I learned one of the most important life lessons when it comes to shoes, and unfortunately, I learned it the hard way. It was my first summer *really* commuting to work in New York. I was interning in NYC the previous summer, but it only took me about 20 minutes to get from my apartment to my job, with only 3 blocks of walking. For six blocks of walking each day, you can wear just about any shoe without fear of soreness or blisters. But last year my commute more than doubled, with about 20 minutes of walking alone.

My first couple of weeks on the job I wore a pair of open-toed shoes to work each day, not bothering to bring an extra pair because I didn't want to change at the office. I even wore many of the same pairs when I went out with my friends at night. My stubbornness certainly got the best of me when two weeks later my shoes (and feet) were a wreck, beat up and dirty from all the hard walking on dirty sidewalks and in icky subway stations. They were all pretty cheap, usually snagged off the discount rack at DSW, but even with a thorough cleaning, they were no longer nice enough to wear to work.

I learned two things from this experience: first, if you're doing a lot of walking in the city, don't wear open toed shoes, ESPECIALLY light colored pairs. Second, every working woman knows to wear disposable shoes during her commute and then to change into her Blahniks in the office bathroom when she arrives. This is something they should include in a memo to all interns and new employees, because I would've been saved quite a bit of foot pain and shoe-related heartache if I'd known this earlier.

So when I found out that I'd be working again in New York this summer, I knew I had to prepare my shoe collection. My first mission was to find a pair that I could wear to/from work and when I had to do a lot of walking. I needed something light, easy to store in a purse, fairly inexpensive (because they'll inevitably be destroyed by the end of the summer), close-toed (to prevent the dreaded "black toes") and of course, comfortable (because getting blisters from a pair of unsexy flats is like being punished for a crime you didn't commit).

After much searching, I came across a pair that met all of my criteria (and they were cute to boot), when I glanced over to check out the brand and saw that they were made by CROCS, the evil twin of the vilest shoemaker of all, UGGS. Could these lovely shoes really be created by the monster that gave Mario Batali his signature footwear? But as I read through the reviews of hundreds of women who already owned a pair in this style (for most of them this was their first and only purchase from Crocs), I decided to put aside my biases and go on and buy them.

Is this the cutest pair of shoes I've ever laid eyes on? Of course not. But they will certainly do the job when it comes to keeping my feet clean and comfortable, my pedicure intact and my other shoes looking good for longer. When I got them in the mail yesterday, I tried them on right away and was pleased to see that they fit my wide feet perfectly (many reviews on Zappo's recommended buying a size down, and since I normally wear a 9 1/2, I decided to go down to a 9). I began walking around my house to test them out, but within two minutes my feet started slipping in and out and making unattractive farting noises.

Sweat is definitely a problem with these shoes, as they're made out of some plastic/rubber compound that doesn't absorb moisture in the slightest. I had to go out and buy some cheap Odor Eaters Anti-Sweat inserts, which fixed the problem right away. While this material may not be good for sweaty feet, it's awesome when it comes to cleaning, it's super easy to throw your shoes in the sink and scrub off any stains or scuffs.

And if you're in the market for a new pair of shoes, Zappo's is offering free overnight shipping until the 30th, which is awesome if you're like me and love instant gratification.


Anonymous said...

Never buy plastic shoes! Remember the jelly sandals in the 80's? Your feet will sweat & stink & get blisters.

EthidiumBromide said...

I have a similar problem in that I do a lot of walking -- 45 minutes each way, and with steep uphill parts in each direction. Although I work in a lab where jeans and sneakers are the norm, I can't bring myself to go that casual, so I usually wear nice trousers or skirts, with heels, boots, or cute-but-not-for-walking flats. I now have to pairs of Sperry Top-Siders which I use for my daily walks... a tad on the pricey side for walking only shoes at over $80 a piece, but they are super comfortable, and if they get dirty, I can just hose them down (I also wear them in the lab when I am doing bacteria work because I just wash them off in the shower at the end of the day).

Aruek said...

I have the wussiest feet ever and most flats give me blisters. I'm still searching for the perfect pair of flats (preferably in grey!) that are both cute and comfortable for everyday wear.

I've been considering these from Delias:
I love that they're grey!

And also been eyeing a few pairs from Zappos.
Keds- I worry that these would get dirty instantly
Converse- very basic
These have a very fun print!
These are a bit dressier (and pricier)

If overnight shipping is free, maybe I'll try a pair or two. The great thing about Zappos is that you can send them back with free shipping if they don't work out!

MLE said...

I have these Rocket Dogs in the color shown and I love them, though they may be a little too sneakery for your walk to work http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/22736904/c/6692.html You might check out other Rocket Dogs shoes; they have some cute styles similar to the Crocs you posted but they aren't plastic. I have another pair of Rocket Dogs from a few years ago and I love them more than any other shoe I own. Fantastically comfortable.

Meg said...

Anon- Crocs aren't made of plastic or rubber, they're made of Croslite, a different material. They made my feet sweat, but I didn't have any problems with smell or blisters.

ethidiumbromide- I checked out the Sperry Top-Siders, very cute and they look really high quality. A perfect "casual but not too casual" shoe.

Aruek- Great finds! Those Delia's slip ons are very cute, I could see myself wearing those with a lot of different outfits. I totally agree with you on the other pairs too- white definitely doesn't work for walking, while the last two are super cute but would just be too easily ruined from lots of walking. Let me know how they work out for you!

mle- I hadn't heard of Rocket Dogs before but they seem like a great brand, lots of cool styles and they look very comfortable. Thanks for the suggestion!

Gwen >> My Relationship Resume said...

I've decided to give Crocs a try, too, after girls that I wholly trust for their fashion instinct also picked up a pair. I know you've got your particular reason for this search for shoes ending in Crocs, but my problem shopping for flats these days is too-pricey trend flats simply because the style is in vogue and then the ones I can afford, everyone's snatched up my small size already! There seem to be Crocs kiosks aplenty so I hope to find my size/colour easily. I just need to make a trip to the States to get them....!

Meg said...

Gwen- I had the same problem too when I was looking for this style in my size. The Crocs website didn't have them, and neither did 5 or 6 other online shoe stores I looked at. But I lucked out with Zappo's, so I'm sure if you keep searching (especially if you go to a store or kiosk, where they might be able to special order your size) I'm sure you'll get lucky.

Annie said...

Hmmm - I dunno. I wrote a post last year about the whole Crocs phenomenon, and while I love company philosophy and product goals to serve the service industries (nurses, chefs, etc...) I do not think they should be considered fashion items.
These little flats of yours give me pause though, so I'd consider them - they are cute, much cuter than their cloggy-big sisters.
My post can be found here: http://www.poeticandchic.com/home/2006/9/18/croc-a-doodle-doo.html

Good find though Meg! I don't know how you keep up with all of these little gems!

Anonymous said...

I prefer to wear sandals rathar than any kind of flats in warm weather, they just look more summery. My favorite ones are thongs that also wrap around your foot and flip flops. The problem is that I can only wear athletic looking ones because the prettier ones that I would like to wear always rub the space between my toes rally badly, and I can't wear them unless I will be sitting all day. Any suggestions for some comfy, pretty thongs or flip flops? I prefer ones that look like they are made out of straw or rope.

Distar said...

omg I commute every day to work here in NYC and I don't really reccomend you wear those. First of all that color won't hold up at all, and in the summer heat you'll die.

I wear comfy flats and change into the heels at work. I have found a few different pairs at Aerosoles that work- leather/suede moccasins, and rubber soled flats.

Aruek said...

I saw that you mentioned Hoy saltwater sandals in your Crocs poster. I actually just ordered a pair last week and they're supposed to arrive tomorrow! I wore them all the time when I was little and I think they'll be a cute (and hopefully comfortable!) look for spring/summer.

Teek said...

I can't in good conscience approve of those, even though they're better than regular crocs. I think they'll get dirty and scuffed, and imagine how they'll look sticking out under an otherwise nice suit.

I used to commute through London summers and I would wear aerosoles flats most days. Cute brown ones with a pink bow. They're pretty beat after a few years, they are now dog walk shoes.

Nowadays when I can't wear a sandal, I'm wearing these commuting flats: http://www.softspots.com/results.asp?p=c&catid=70
and these: http://clarks.zappos.com/n/p/dp/16407970/c/91437.html
I got both for $50 at a locally owned shoe place: zappos can be such a rip-off sometimes.

scarlettholly said...

Plastic(esque)shoes and summer? Terrible idea!! Birkenstock sandals (the pretty ones) are great for being comfortable in the city, converse will keep your pedicure intact, or what about plain ballet flats? Good luck!

Veronika said...

I love the way you write! Call me immature, but I burst out laughing after I read the verb "farting" in a fashion blog! Brilliant!

I, too, want these shoes. I am a city girl and I live in flats.