One Shoe to Shod Them All
September 5, 2012 11:02 AM   Subscribe

I'm looking for my perfect, versatile slip-on walking shoe that is comfortable without socks and not too clunky to wear with a casual skirt/dress.

I have decided I need another type of comfortable footwear to bridge the gap between sandal season and boot season. My wishlist:

The essential features:
1. Not so clunky/sporty that it can't be worn with a casual dress
2. Can also be worn with jeans, leggings, and shorts
3. Can comfortably be worn sockless
4. Comfortable for walking distances of up to 2-3 miles
5. Slip-on of some sort
6. Size 9.5/Euro 41. I sometimes need to go up to a 10.

The desired features:
1. Color other than brown
2. Cute!
3. Less than $100
4. At least modest arch support--not ballet flats or moccasins.

For the past couple of years this gap is mostly being filled by a pair of fatbaby cowboy boots that I adore and wear constantly, but they don't meet the requirements of essential feature #1 (especially since I wear them at the barn a lot and they kind of smell indelibly like horse pee). I've tried a couple of different clog-type shoes in the past few weeks, and both have wound up short of the mark in terms of comfort: these Portlandia Ashland clogs, but if the "leather" is real leather I'll eat my hat, and the felt is just a covering over some sort of synthetic inner upper and they feel synthetic-y and sweaty with no socks.
I then tried these Skechers clogs, which are very comfy, but found that after 4 or 5 times wearing them sockless on walks of a mile or so, that they were starting to rub the skin off my inner arch on one foot. This may be because they're at least 1/2 size too large on me but not available in the next lower size so I couldn't exchange for smaller ones.

In my own looking around I've focused more on clogs/mules type shoes. I would also consider some sort of "loafer," but I don't like the look of mary janes.

The sockless thing is a priority for me because (1) I would like to have a pair of shoes that I can slip on with minimal fuss and be out the door without corralling a pair of socks; (2) I don't like the look of shoes + socks + dress; (3) my daughter STEALS ALL MY PRECIOUS SOCKS ANYHOW FILTHY SOCK THIEF.
posted by drlith to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (16 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Have you checked out Clarks? Love their shoes, and while some can top $100, I've had great luck finding "last year's style" at places like DSW and Zappo's. And as far as the no socks thing, I like to do that to but my life changed for the better once I realized you can buy "peds" -- those little nylon-ish foot covers that don't show! -- at places like Target.
posted by BlahLaLa at 11:08 AM on September 5, 2012 [2 favorites]

What about a pair of Cole Haan clogs? I love Cole Haan. They bought Nike (or possibly the other way around) and their "air" shoes have the Nike Air technology. Almost all my heels are from Cole Haan and I can walk around in them fairly comfortably.

Alternatively, is it possible to add arch support to a pair of flats. I have a pair of Lacoste flats (about $100), it's the second pair and the first one lasted forever. I regularly wear them without shoes, though I usually wear hose with them.
posted by ethidda at 11:12 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

If your foot is not too wide, these clogs are awesome. I had a learning curve with the weight and eventually dumped them (added weight + added height + extreme clumsyness = twisted ankles).

These flats are nice, but sweaty on occasion (but I'm in Florida. What isn't sweaty?) Not good for wide feet (in my drawer as emergency shoes).

I just tried these on today, but I didn't care for the sparkle.

These Crocs clogs look awesome, but I'm leery of buying them online because of my wide foot issues. I'll wait until they are last year's at Shoe Carinval.

Though I have worn SAS shoes in the past, and they ROCK, I have not yet tried these. They look really nice for the next time I run out of shoes (I find a good one and buy two pair ... I'm stocked for now).
posted by tilde at 11:13 AM on September 5, 2012

Blah, typos all over the place. "I regularly wear them without SOCKS."
posted by ethidda at 11:13 AM on September 5, 2012

Perhaps the Birkenstock Maria or especially the Bretagne?

Rieker probably has some good options.
posted by jgirl at 11:20 AM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've been eyeing these up. I love Dansko shoes and as these aren't leather I figure they are easier to wear without socks. They come in some bright colours and they have them in a Mary Jane and a fake Converse sneaker looking style too. They may fall into the too clunky category though, I live in clunky shoes so have lost all skills at knowing if something is too clunky.

Crocs also make a huge arrange of styles not just the old clogs you're used to seeing so you might find something over on their website you like.
posted by wwax at 11:28 AM on September 5, 2012

I have these and love them--I walk miles in them all the time, but they're maryjanes (I find I need some sort of strappy thing for shoes I walk distances in). These look very similar, but aren't maryjanes, so they might fit your bill?
posted by min at 12:09 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

Have you seen this previous question?
posted by phunniemee at 12:10 PM on September 5, 2012

I love these Santiago slip-ons by Keen.
posted by purpleclover at 12:14 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

I have similar shoe requirements as you and just went through the same search. Generally, I second some of the above mentioned brands including Rockport, Clarks, Naturalizer, and Ecco which have more formal looks to them. Keen and Merrell for the more sporty look, Sketchers and Crocs for more informal.

A reputable shoe store like Town Shoes, or Browns (I'm in Canada) or local boutiques and deparment store might have a number of choices beyond those brands that's at a lower cost point, or the store might have a sale. I am currently wearing a pair of Arturo Chiang's from the Bay that cost about $30 from a big sale, which was simply good timing. It is not quite as well constructed as a pair of Clarks but fulfills the aesthetic requirement and is cushy and comfortable.

I recommend that you keep your search in the "loafer" category and if you expect to wear them a lot and do a lot of walking to buy half a size up since feet swell, and I also a million times recommend thin ankle socks. I hate wearing socks and the look of them, but they truly prevent a lot of blister headache if you are on your feet all day. If you are adamant on the no sock policy, I recommend looking at clogs. Finally, unless you know the brand very well, shoes are one of these things that's tough to buy online, at least for me.

Good luck!
posted by joannqy at 1:09 PM on September 5, 2012

I find these Hush Puppies very comfortable, and walk a fair bit in them and am on my feet around half the work day. I wear them with jeans or casual skirts. It looks like they also have a fair number of other options with thicker soles on their website which might be promising.
posted by twoporedomain at 3:55 PM on September 5, 2012

I work in an elementary school and wear my TOMS pretty much every single day. I am somewhat skeptical about the politics of the owner but they are some comfortable shoes. Before the classroom, I worked retail and swore by these to prevent sore feet by the end of the day. Best part, you can get pretty much any color you imagine.
posted by ruhroh at 4:55 PM on September 5, 2012 [1 favorite]

ooh - I just came across this page so wanted to share. I was looking at the Teva makena ballerinas (as mentioned above) and this page shows "visually similar items", which I personally think is quite handy.
posted by foxhat10 at 10:06 AM on September 6, 2012

and also, if you click on the brown version, up pops a whole new selection in brown.
posted by foxhat10 at 10:08 AM on September 6, 2012

and.....i just re-read that you didn't want the usual flats OR brown. sorry!
posted by foxhat10 at 10:11 AM on September 6, 2012

Response by poster: Thanks for all the suggestions! I decided to look at Clarks, as they got a couple recommendations here and also seem to have a strong fanbase elsewhere online. I found this pair of Un.Loop loafers on sale for a very appealing price. They are different enough from the two pairs of clogs I bought recently so I can justify the addition to my wardrobe. They seem very comfy (almost slipper-like in their softness) and well ventilated. We'll see how they hold up with wear.

I've bought 3 pairs of new shoes in the past 3 weeks, which is about equal to my shoe buying volume for the past 3 years!
posted by drlith at 2:46 PM on September 7, 2012

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