Looking for bulletproof women's sandals
February 1, 2012 1:28 PM   Subscribe

Looking for bulletproof women's sandals, preferably made in Europe. I want something that will last me years and be comfortable for daily wear and occasional long walks. The ones that were my go-to are no longer made in Europe, and lasted about 1/4 the time as the last (identical) pair.

I wear black Wolky Nimes sandals daily and almost exclusively. They are comfortable and look good, however they are falling apart. The sole of the left one is cracked completely across the footbed, the full thickness of it, and the soles are becoming shredded. This is after maybe two years of use. My last pair lasted eight years, but those were made in Europe. The new pair was made in Mexico, and the quality has suffered tremendously.

I started looking at getting some Clarks Sunbeat sandals instead, which I had had for about 3-4 years around 1997-2001, but from the reviews I am reading these are now made in China and the quality isn't what it once was. (I am referring specifically to reviews by people who have enjoyed this same sandal in the past, when it was made in Italy).

The Propet Breeze Walker sandal looks similar to the Clarks one I mentioned above, but I see reviews stating they are cheaply constructed.

I tried some Birkenstocks once and they were terribly painful, so I had to return them. Maybe I should try another one of their styles? I don't know.

So... anyone know of well-made, preferably European-made sandals that will hold up to daily wear for years, that are comfortable? I would like black as my first choice, and a low heel, and arch support, and a classic medium-thick-strapped design. Ideally the back strap would be adjustable - I like it loose so I can step into the sandals without having to buckle and unbuckle every time. I'd like to avoid spending more than $100, if possible.

Any help would be greatly appreciated - even if you can just point me at a brand, that would be helpful.
posted by marble to Shopping (14 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
Oops, I mean the *footbeds* of my current sandals are becoming shredded.
posted by marble at 1:30 PM on February 1, 2012

What about Finn Comfort? I've seen them and they look like good quality, plus they're made in Europe.

I will also plug the non-sandal Trippen Vivienne just in case what you're looking for is merely "sturdy somewhat feminine shoe that can be worn barefoot and is supportive so I'm asking for sandals because they are the most likely to fit these criteria". The Trippen Vivienne wears like m************g iron, they are made by actual Germans getting paid actual good wages and they are ridiculously comfortable. If you do order from Trippen, I recommend both Ped Shoes on the west coast and the actual Trippen site.
posted by Frowner at 1:36 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

Ooh, sorry, Finn Comfort is way more expensive than $100! But maybe do a try-on somewhere and then try eBay? Although I doubt you're going to find European-made new shoes for under $100....it's sad but true.
posted by Frowner at 1:38 PM on February 1, 2012

Hmm, thanks for the recommendation, these Finn Comfort ones look like just the sort of style I like. Expensive ($225), but maybe worth it. The reviews are excellent, at least. I think my last pair of Wolky's cost $175. I think you are right, the $100 price window is probably not going to get me what I want.
posted by marble at 1:43 PM on February 1, 2012

They're made in Israel instead of Europe, but I've had good luck with Naot sandals. They have replaceable footbeds and are sturdy. Even still, I've never gotten anything like eight years of wear out of any sandals, so ymmv.
posted by ldthomps at 1:59 PM on February 1, 2012 [3 favorites]

They are more in the 150-200 range, butNaot shoes are made in Israel, and are very comfortable. I've had my maryjanes for several years and they have held up well. The most comfortable are the shoes with the removable footbed. Two caveats: the metallic leathers tend to get scraped up so go for traditional leather, and the more fashion-y (for lack of a better word) without the removable footbed are sometimes strangely narrow, so check width before oredering. You can find them at Zappos.
posted by oneirodynia at 2:01 PM on February 1, 2012

Thirding Naot in the $150-$200 price range. Berne Mev is another solid brand, at a slightly lower price range, made either in Israel or Europe. Rieker is another good European-made brand, though their selection of sandals is a bit more limited than Naot or Berne Mev.

I do think that eight years is an exceptional lifespan for sandals, so I would set my sights a little lower. Also, shoe prices have gone up by about 20% since two years ago, so don't be daunted by that.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:13 PM on February 1, 2012

If you're open to shoes made in the US, I have some options there: The styles don't exactly match what you're talking about here, but if you are at all interested in a narrow-strapped flat sandal, Piper has excellent craftsmanship. Munro American shoes are extremely well made and very ergonomics-conscious.

Also, I forgot Taryn Rose shoes, which are made in Italy and super comfortable.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:20 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I like Sanita, which had some kind of complicated split with Dansko and are now my go-to sandals now that Danskos are made in China.
posted by Ralston McTodd at 3:14 PM on February 1, 2012

On my phone, so I apologize for not linking - alegriashoeshop.com. Like walking on marshmallow clouds. I wear them everyday and they show no sign of wear yet. I have rheumatoid arthritis and they're literally the only reason I can walk like a normal person. I tried like two dozen shoes - including dansko - and nothing comes close.

And they're a little weird, but cute.
posted by crankyrogalsky at 5:35 PM on February 1, 2012

The most comfortable shoes/sandals I have ever worn are SAS. I believe they are still made in the States. They have this foam- like sole (encased in soft leather) that adjusts to your foot shape. Also come in extra wide widths. I have hiked all over the place and walk a lot for work and both shoes and sandals have stood the test of time. Right now 4 years and still with a quick wipe, look like new. Don't let some of the old lady styles throw you off , they have gazillion designs. Expensive but worth it.
posted by smudgedlens at 6:09 PM on February 1, 2012

Nthing Naot; they are insanely comfortable. Also, when shopping for this sort of thing, amazing deals can often be had at Sierra Trading Post. A quick glance shows they are currently stocking many of the brands suggested here.
posted by apparently at 7:35 PM on February 1, 2012 [1 favorite]

I loved my Birkenstocks, but they did have a significant breaking in period. I actually hiked through a few streams and did all day treks in the first two weeks I had them and while they felt like a sack of rocks at first, eventually they molded into the exact shape of my foot providing the most comfortable and long-lasting shoe I've ever worn.

Of course, this goes directly against Birkenstocks advice, so YMMV.
posted by valoius at 8:13 PM on February 1, 2012

My favorites are Merrells. I have had mine for two years and have worn them everywhere and they are not even starting to show wear.
posted by eleslie at 9:31 PM on February 1, 2012

« Older What happened when you quit your job with nothing...   |   Help me deal with this unfair situation. Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.