Friday, August 24, 2007

Friday Finds: Fall Flats

Although flats never really went out of style, I've been delighted to see that they're more popular than ever this season. Perhaps retailers are finally realizing that women are looking for a shoe that's comfortable, attractive, and allows us to walk more than 50 feet without wobbling, developing blisters or pinching our toes. Whatever the reason, there are more beautiful, varied, often affordable styles of flats on the market than ever before.

I have nothing against heels. I actually wish that I could be (and sometimes pretend, when the occasion calls) one of those glamorous, sophisticated women who wears high heels every day and admits that she "doesn't even notice the heels!" Instead I feel uncomfortable, partly because I can't walk naturally in heels, have to focus as I walk (balance and grace are not two of my best attributes) and feel more self-conscious as I approach 6' (I'm 5'9" without shoes).

Flats are certainly not the answer to all my problems. As many have complained, most flats offer little in the way of foot support, and they can cause foot pain just as easily as their heeled counterparts. Some brands are better than others in offering support, but I often use insoles to prevent painful walking. And while it's not impossible, it is hard to find a truly dressy or sexy flat. For special occasions, I'll still turn to heels. Flats also don't connote the same professional power as a pair of tall, pointy black leather pumps, so when wearing a suit or dressing up for an important meeting, it's heels over flats every day.

Luckily, it's not often that I have to dress up for a formal occasion or wear a suit. Next month I'll start my last year of college, where the default outfit is a sweater, jeans, and a pair of flats, perfect for long walks in brisk New England. Last week I went to DSW to stock up on appropriate pairs, and I was quite impressed by the selection of styles. I've rounded up a list of a few of my favorite flats available online, all for under $100 (most for under $50).

Sam Edelman Buckle Ballet Flats, from Urban Outfitters, $98.00

Madden Girl Gravti Flats, from Zappo's, $45.95

Suede Color Block D'Orsay Flat, from Urban Outfitters, $48.00

Leather Knot Ballet Flat, from Urban Outfitters, $48.00

Rocket Dog Sydney Flats, from Zappo's, $44.95

Steve Madden 'Cannon' Suede Flat, from Nordstrom, $69.95

Fairytales Are True Ballet Flats, from Urban Outfitters, $28.00

Patent Mary Jane Ballet Flat, from The Gap, $39.50


cha said...

I'm a big fan of the new flats out for fall, but have trouble walking in them. I don't regularly wear perilously high heels or even high heels, but when I'm in flats, I'm more uncomfortable than when I'm in heels, feels awkward, a little unbalanced and yet shuffly at the same time. Haven't tried insoles so maybe this will fix the problem and I'll tranform into a graceful swan in flats?

Elle said...

Lots of very cute shoes, but as you say, not enough support! I walk too much to wear any shoes with such thin soles very often.

Linda said...

I envy you your height. I need 2" heels just to reach 5'2", and my heels are just as much an extension of my legs as they are footwear.

I've seen some gorgeous, gorgeous flats recently, in houndstooth and tweed, with antiqued buckles. Too bad I'm a midget--I look like I have no legs. :(

Stacy said...

I love flats, but I have such a hard time finding a pair that fits me. I have wide feet which can be a real pain. :/ Do you know any brands that sell cute flats in wide?

lisa said...

Re. cha's flats dilemma:

I had the same awkward/shuffly feeling when I started wearing flats; it was because my feet are narrower than most of the flats on the market and there was empty space in the shoe even though the shoe length was fine. When I walked in them, the heel slipped off in the back and the front of the shoe felt really loose. I bought gel insoles that filled up some of the empty space in the shoe, and little sticky heel inserts for the back of the shoe, and they were so much more comfortable after that.

knoxwhirled said...

women are looking for a shoe that's comfortable, attractive, and allows us to walk more than 50 feet without wobbling, developing blisters or pinching our toes.

I'm convinced this is why Crocs and Uggs became so popular. *Even though* they are oh-so-ugly. Heels have been the rage for so long now (you're even supposed to wear them with jeans!) people were desperate for a comfortable option that was still considered "trendy."

Anyway, flats are an improvement, but still not comfortable or good for your feet.

Deja Pseu said...

I love flats, but actually find a 1-2" heel to be the most comfortable. Doesn't stop me from having a few pairs of flats in my closet, though.

Suggestions for wide feet: Franco Sarto. Even their regular sizes are often quite comfortable for my duck feet. If you can go pricier, Stuart Weitzman's often come in Wide widths, and again even some of his styles in regular widths will work with a wide foot.

Anonymous said...

I love flats. I do have a major flat problem though. My toes are long and most flats do not cover all of my toes. I think that this looks kind of tacky, so most times I opt for heels (when I want to look cute). I wish that more companies made flats for me. I too have the "shuffly" problem. I will try your tip of insoles.

nadarine said...

if by not covering all your toes, you mean that the little separation between your foot and the start of your toe is visible (aka "toe cleavage")- rock it! Toe cleavage is considered v fashionable and a sign of subtle, classy sex appeal. I love my flats with toe cleavage.
(I'll also throw in a resounding "yes" to the insoles idea- I'm working with super-narrow feet and high arches, so the insoles make everything a thousand times comfier. And Lisa's solution of the back sticky padding works wonderfully for smaller pairs.)

Anonymous said...

Nordstrom carries a wide range of styles in narrow and wide widths, as well as medium ("normal"?). It's one of the only sources I've found for an 11-narrow anything. Also Friedman's, but I haven't looked at their site for a while. Franco Sarto, Sesto Meucci, Linea Paolo, Stuart Weitman, and Vaneli offer a range of widths, from AAAA to W.

Teresa said...

FYI, those Rocket Dog flats are available at my local Marshall's for $15 in teal, red, black, and metallic. They seemed pretty comfortable and cute for only $15! (Wouldn't pay $44 though.)

Gwen said...

Im having trouble finding flats that look good with skinny jeans. I'm 5'0 and the rounded toe flats make me look short and squat and the ones I have don't feel right when I walk. I love pointed toe flats even though theyre not 100% comfortable. But I wear skinny jeans with the leg opening very close to my leg if not directly on them. I cant find a flat to go with them!

Also...I need a shoe thats great for fall and winter that isn't uggs or a high heeled boot. any flats in mind for fall and winter?