Fashionable shoes that will stand up to lots of walking without breaking down?
August 19, 2012 10:35 PM   Subscribe

Female urban walkers: please recommend to me some stylish shoes that i can pound the pavement in, without the shoes falling apart after five or six months of wear. I'm ready to spend the money to buy some shoes that i can love for at least a couple of years!

I live and work in downtown toronto, and as such, I walk a lot: at minimum, i walk 3 kilometers home from work every day, plus i walk to/from most of my errands and social events. Every single fall season, i bemoan the fact that my comfortable and esthetically pleasing shoe from the year before needs to be replaced because they're falling apart. (While i own tons of shoes, i tend to have a couple of basics that i wear 80% of the time.) I then get annoyed at the process of finding comfortable yet attractive shoes, yet again. I want to slow that cycle by buying shoes that will last! I also don't want to assume that more expensive = better quality/durability, because i've been burned by that assumption before.

I'm sorta picky with my style. In general, i like simple/minimalist shoes, with a low (but not flat) heel or wedge. Comfort is important, but it's not paramount - i'm going to be wearing these to work and out and about, and they've got to live up to the rest of my outfit :) (For an idea of the esthetic i like, if not of the style requirements i'm asking for see here, here, here, here, and here. (I actually own that last pair, they are awesome but do not qualify as good "walk around all day" shoes at all.)

I'd love to get recommendations for brands of shoes that will last and look good. I'll spend up to about $400, but i'd be happier to spend less. Brands that are available in the Toronto area are plus.

(Also, not to be a negative nancy right off the bat, but: i know that mefites love to recommend Fluevogs, but personally Fluevog style isn't my thing.)

(And finally, cuz i know it'll come up: yes, i spray my shoes with salt protector, yes, i take my shoes to be resoled/repaired, and yes i wear proper snow boots when needed!)

Thank you in advance!
posted by Kololo to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (17 answers total) 37 users marked this as a favorite
La Canadienne and Merell spring to mind immediately as work appropriate yet salt resistant. Might be a bit warm for the office but I keep shoes there to change into as I assume most winter women do. And yeah, Fluevogs are totally not my thing either.
posted by fshgrl at 10:40 PM on August 19, 2012

Warm weather = Tsubos.
posted by k8t at 10:43 PM on August 19, 2012

Best answer: Campers. I have used and abused their shoes in all circs and they still last. Also, even their heels are super comfy.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 10:50 PM on August 19, 2012

I asked almost this exact question a year or so ago (fashionable shoes made for walking) and got lots of great responses.
posted by arnicae at 10:59 PM on August 19, 2012

I've had great luck with Clarks.
posted by neushoorn at 11:01 PM on August 19, 2012

A lot of women around here (Philly) wear sneakers to work and change into their good shoes when they get to work. Sneakers are usually more comfortable and durable for the long walk, and your nice shoes will last so much longer.
posted by DoubleLune at 11:03 PM on August 19, 2012 [2 favorites]

posted by brujita at 11:22 PM on August 19, 2012

Response by poster: Good answers so far - i'd sort of forgotten about Campers! (Tsubos are cute too, i wish they applied to fall/winter seasons.)

In that vein, suggestions that are slightly more towards the 'fashion-y' end of the spectrum than the 'practical' end are encouraged! (i.e.. I'd rather find 'fashionable shoes' that are durable, then 'comfort shoes' that are work appropriate. I slap on my big comfy winter boots or my running shoes when that kind of comfort is needed!)
posted by Kololo at 11:39 PM on August 19, 2012

If you like 20s/30s/40s style shows I've also found remix shoes ( surprisingly comfy. And incredibly sturdy as well. (Just get them resoled fairly quickly, especially as the soles are designed for dancing quite a lot of the time and thus are very slippy).
posted by lesbiassparrow at 11:57 PM on August 19, 2012 [1 favorite]

shows = shoes.
posted by lesbiassparrow at 12:00 AM on August 20, 2012

I've had good luck with Arche (forgive their horrible website). I think they would fit your minimalist style. The leather is like butter, and the soles are a sturdy rubbery material. They've held up very well, and I'm a big girl pounding the NYC sidewalks on a daily basis. I tend to go for the more flat styles, though, so no experience with their heel styles.

The other brand I've been putting through the paces is Pikolinos. I think a lot of their styles might be a bit to boho for you, but they have some fabulous ankle boots, of which I own a pair. I wore them for the entire fall and winter, and they certainly have at least one more season in them (if not more).
posted by kimdog at 6:01 AM on August 20, 2012

Best answer: Try Frye. High quality, good ankle boots and shoes.
posted by cushie at 6:32 AM on August 20, 2012

Best answer: Speaking of shoe care, I know you use salt protector but do you actually POLISH your leather shoes regularly? That's something that makes a huge difference in the durability/ longevity of leather as the cream/ wax serves as a protective barrier against scuffing and also moisturizes the leather. Also, do you take preventative measures eg. for BRAND NEW shoes with leather shoes/ heels, you can take them to a cobbler to have rubber soles/ heels/ taps attached. The idea is to have the rubber add-ons replaced as they wear down, before any wear appears on the original leather sole/ heel so the structural integrity of the original sole remains intact.

Otherwise, I second Fryes. Totally worth the $$.
posted by kitkatcathy at 7:39 AM on August 20, 2012

Response by poster: kitkatcathy, i don't do either of those things, and it never occured to me to - good tip!
posted by Kololo at 7:53 AM on August 20, 2012

I have had very similar experienced to you when I was living in Cambridge and London here in the UK. I've actually ended up taking shoes back because I've worn through the soles in less than a month, which I consider unreasonable even given how much I was walking.

The shoes I had that lasted best were Campers (wow, expensive) or Clarks black trainers.

I used to put insoles in my shoes to at least slow the wearing out of the inside of the shoe.
posted by kadia_a at 12:03 PM on August 20, 2012

To add to what kitkatcathy said, I have read that you should never wear the same pair of nice shoes two days in a row. Our feet sweat, even in cold weather, and you should give shoes a day's rest between wears so they can dry out, according to this advice. I tend to splurge on high-quality shoes, and this advice has served me well.

I also second Frye's. I have owned sandals made by them, and boots. I have one pair of ridiculously expensive mod motorcycle boots I have taken on many a multi-day motorcycle and they still look brand new, though they have been re-soled once and polished up regularly. I like them because they are both functional *and* fashionable. They often the only shoes I pack for moto trips.

Here they are, though note they are NOT "vintage circa 1980s." I bought mine about five years ago, brand new, from Frye's website.
posted by Brittanie at 5:01 PM on August 20, 2012

Trippen. some are more wacky and out there than others. you can choose the leather type when you order, as they are made for you. at the high end of your price range but man I love mine and I get compliments on them all the time (i have the closed garlic's in black)
posted by par court at 3:23 AM on August 21, 2012 [1 favorite]

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