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Get ready for a time warp (remember the CD/video warehouse clubs that used to come in the mail with the huge sheet of colorful stamps?) – the hottest thing in shoes right now is monthly shoe subscription sites.

I’ve noticed 3 major competitors on the scene: ShoeDazzle, JustFabulous and Sole Society. All of these companies will give you some pretty great shoes for very low prices with free shipping. But realistically (well, for all but the most ardent shoe addicts), if you’re going to subscribe to get inexpensive shoes every single month, you probably don’t have a ton of extra cash (or else you’d be stocking up on Manolos instead), so you’ll have to choose just one to try out first. I decided to do the dirty work for you and figure out what really separates these companies from one another. From fashion founders to who has the best pictures, here’s the lowdown:

HOW ALL 3 SITES ARE ALIKE – ShoeDazzle, JustFabulous and Sole Society all offer free shipping and free exchanges within 30 days (items returned for a cash refund are a different story). Each site will also give you personal shoe picks (based on VERY similar “Which shoe/celeb/runway pic do you like better” quizzes) along with additional shoe options on the side that are available to everyone. And if you don’t like the shoes that were chosen for you, each site will happily provide you with new options. You can have shoe selections sent to you to view for free for as long as you want, but once you make your first purchase, you are automatically enrolled in that company’s monthly club. After you’re enrolled, your credit card will be charged, and you get 1 item, every month unless you actively opt out before the 5th of each month (gotta stay up to date on those emails!). But there’s no limit to the number of months you can opt out. Surprisingly, there’s little else that the sites copy one another on.


Sole Society, launched in February 2011 by shopping site Hautelook (which is owned by Nordstrom), is the newest shoe subscription site around. Their team of 6 Fashion Insiders (or Sole Sisters – read more here) includes actress Bree Turner and experienced fashion bloggers, editors, and buyers from all over the web.

COST – $49.95 a month for 1 shoe every month

WHAT YOU GET– At the beginning of every month, Sole Society will send out an email announcing that 6 pairs of shoes picked just for you are available to be viewed in “My Closet.” If you don’t like their picks and request alternate shoes, the original 6 pairs are all put back into their inventory and can no longer be purchased (well, not easily). Sole Society does not ask you for any feedback on what types of shoes you’re looking for instead. Sole Society does encourage you to contact them though, if you see a shoe from one of their Trends page fashion spreads that you’d like to have added to your Closet, so I’m sure the same could go for a shoe from your previous Closet picks. You only have the option to request new shoes once per month.

Your shoe choices are centered around high heels, especially platforms right now, but they also have flat sandals and wedges for April.

Fantasia from Sole Society

VALUE – All the shoes Sole Society offers are from their exclusive Marco Santi collection. They claim Marco Santi is a designer quality label which I believe is supposed to justify the slightly higher monthly membership; but since the brand was created just for them, you kind of have to take their word for it. However, it is significant to add that many of the shoes in your personal selections are genuine leather, unlike the shoes featured on the other sites I’ve reviewed here, which can definitely be worth an extra $10 (Note: there are fabric and faux leather shoes offered on Sole Society too).

SHOPPING EXPERIENCE – Sole Society gave me a cool, in-depth Style Bio after I finished their introductory quiz, which they told me they’d be basing my shoe picks on. Apparently I’m “Fierce, Sexy, Modern – you make a statement wherever you go with your daring and unexpected style. You stamp a hip aesthetic over every look, whether you’re in sweats on the weekend or wearing a show-stopping mini-skirt and heels. You’re all about confidence and individuality, and are able to pull off anything from vibrant print tops to curve-contouring pencil skirts. Your closet is full of sexy items including tailored jackets, faux fur and anything leopard.” Oh yeah! (except for the leopard part – only in moderation ;)). But if, after a while, you think that bio just isn’t getting you the shoes you really lust after, you can easily change it at any time in your My Closet page. ” Daring, Unexpected, Cutting-Edge” instead, maybe?

In My Closet, you are not shown whether other color options are available for the shoes selected for you, though often there are 2 colors to choose from when you click on the shoe to view more details. On the pages describing each individual shoe, each picture has a nice zoom option. Be careful not to miss the extra pictures though; only 4 are displayed initially. You have to press the light gray arrows above or below the picture list to view more. Sole Society also usually includes 2 model outfits that would work with the shoes. However, there is are no links or brand names given to identify the clothing in those pictures. There is also a box with Notes from the Fashion Insiders that often gives an outfit idea or some other comment about the shoes.

Sole Society lets you see the number of people that have liked a shoe on Facebook when you hover over a picture in My Closet, unfortunately when you click on the shoe to view more details, you don’t get anything else review-wise. Sole Society does want you to rate how much you like the shoes visually based on color, style and the heel and you can see your own ratings (not sure how that’s helpful), but there are no statistics shown from other users. Hopefully though, since they’re gathering that information, they will display or do something with it in the future.

Also on the website, Sole Society has a fun Fashion Insider of the Month feature (this month it’s the owners of nail polish brand Ginger + Liz). Unfortunately, you cannot add the polish to your Sole Society cart and there are no links either. The Trends page is similar: outfits are displayed pairing the shoes with fashionable clothing (brand names are given) but there are no links or information on where to purchase the clothes (VERY surprising since the company is owned by Nordstrom!).

RETURNS – Sole Society offers free exchanges within 30 days as mentioned above for all sites. But, they deduct a $7.95 restocking fee and a $9.00 return shipping fee for any items returned for a refund. There is no fee for items returned for an exchange (continental US only). So, basically, sell the shoes to a friend if you don’t want another pair as an exchange.

BONUS – Thanks to Marie Claire magazine, you can get $10 off your first pair of shoes until April 30, 2011 with the code SPRING10. Also, you can earn a free pair of shoes for every 3 friends you refer who also make a purchase.

FINE PRINT – If, for some reason, you forget to check your email for years or just never manage to make that 5th day of the month cut-off, you actually won’t end up paying Sole Society thousands of dollars. Once you accumulate 3 credits (or $150) in your account, you will not be charged a monthly membership fee again until you redeem a credit for shoes. So, if you’re super forgetful (and/or are a chronic amnesic shoe-a-holic), Sole Society’s credit limit will costs you the least out of all the sites reviewed. However, please note that that $150 can be charged to you EVERY YEAR (per their FAQs, credits are only valid for 12 months).

The one year expiration date for credits also means there is the possibility that you will not get shoes you technically paid for – and this is probably one catch that made these subscription sites lucrative in the past: If you forget to skip months and try to use your credits as quickly as possible so they don’t expire, you open yourself up to another monthly membership charge, and if you don’t use the credits, you could be paying $150 for nothing (except looking at pretty pictures).

If you wish to cancel your membership, Sole Society is, by far, the easiest site to work with. You can cancel by calling their customer service (6am – 6pm PST or 9am – 9pm for the East Coast crowd), emailing them or just visiting your My Account page online – there’s a link at the bottom of that page. They also have live chat!!

JustFabulous started in 2010. Founded by Katherine Power and Hillary Kerr (also co-founders of WhoWhatWear, an online fashion magazine), the site also boasts 2 celebrity stylists completing the team. The site promises you access to up-to-the-minute trends without the expensive celebrity price tags.

COST – $39.95 a month for 1 shoe or bag every month

WHAT YOU GET – JustFabulous features shoes and handbags! At the beginning of every month, JustFabulous will send out an email announcing that 6 pairs of shoes and 6 bags picked out for you are available to be viewed in “My Boutique.” If one or more options have sold out, you will also be given some Sold Out Solutions for each unavailable item (JustFabulous recommends that you view your Boutique as soon as possible on the 1st of the month since they do tend to sell out of popular items quickly). And if you’re totally shoe crazy, there’s a link to 3 more bonus options that almost made your Boutique (but are still available for you to purchase). If you don’t like the shoes and/or bags they found for you, you can complete a short questionnaire detailing what you’d prefer instead and select to keep any of the original shoes and bags you liked.

In The Haute List tab at the top of the site, you also can view/buy the top 4 shoes and 4 handbags chosen each month by JustFabulous’ Style Experts. Plus, there are approximately 10-14 more items updated weekly under the Featured Styles tab (for April there are lots of rainboots) which are available to everyone for a limited time. AND you get access to the W3 collection (17 items) with a great Style Guide inspired by the WhoWhatWear website.

The shoe options are heavy on the towering heels, especially platforms right now, but they also have flat sandals, wedges, ankle booties, chunky heels, ballet flats and knee boots. The bags range from clutches and hobos to totes and cross-body styles.

JustFabulous is also carrying a full line of Fab Soles, from the makers of Foot Petals. Since they’re from Foot Petals and are priced identically, they appear to be exactly the same (just less petal-y in shape).

Jackson from the W3 Collection at JustFabulous

VALUE – I noticed that many of the handbags JustFabulous sells (for $39.95 each) are from the Vieta brand and can be purchased online at the company’s site ranging from about $60-$100. For an example, check out JustFabulous’ Dusk barrel bag on The Haute List, which is also here on the Vieta site. I think Vieta’s prices are really inflated for man-made/PVC bags, but if you don’t agree, you can say you’re getting a great deal! I do think JustFabulous has priced the bags pretty accurately though – you’d usually pay about $40 for a similar bag in New York City’s Chinatown, for example.  So for people without the desire to hunt or who don’t live anywhere near NYC or another major metropolis where I’m sure similar stores exist, JustFabulous’ bags could be a great low cost option. All their shoes are also made from man-made materials or fabric (no leather); so think Payless quality (side note: Payless has given me a few of my favorite shoes of all time, so I’m not knocking it!).

SHOPPING EXPERIENCE – JustFabulous gets tons of points for their videos of someone walking in every pair of shoes (surprisingly useful), their Reviews section and their styling ideas. JustFabulous is the ONLY site that lets customers post full written reviews for any item. They also display a handy Member Fit Survey, an Overall Summary rating, and tell you what percentage of members who purchased this style would recommend it – all in case you just want a quick overview. And, proving that the site is run by experienced style watchers, JustFabulous features 2 really amazing style boards with complete outfit options underneath each shoe (with different shoe colors). The best part about the style boards is that they actually link to the other sites where you can purchase the clothing from like TopShop and ModCloth! A+

Things that need improvement mainly involve the handbag section: bad partial interior shots, bad partial descriptions (how many interior pockets?), no video (which would be cool to see the bag opening and closing or how much can fit inside), no style boards, and no photos of the bag on a person or mannequin to scale the dimensions (measurements are in the details). However, the Haute List does have a video posted for ideas on wearing those featured bags.

RETURNS – JustFabulous offers free exchanges within 30 days as mentioned above for all sites. But they deduct a $5.95 restocking fee for any items returned for a refund. There is no fee for items returned for an exchange.

BONUS- Get 1/2 off one pair of shoes on the day you join. You can also earn a free item when you refer 2 friends who make a purchase and another free item every time you reach 100 points (20 points earned per shoe or bag bought, so every 6th item is free). Plus, right now you can get free shipping if you add a pair of Fab Soles to your order along with a pair of shoes or a handbag.

FINE PRINT – If, for some reason, you forget to check your email for years or just never manage to make that 5th day of the month cut-off, you actually won’t end up paying JustFabulous thousands of dollars. Once you accumulate 5 credits in your account, you won’t be charged again until you use one. So your maximum debt at one time is capped at a little under $200. Their FAQs do not state that credits here will expire – the only site that doesn’t.

To cancel your membership, you must call customer service (which means you have to reach them during their business hours, 7:00 AM to 4:00 PM PST or 10 AM to 7 PM for us East Coasters). But JustFabulous does also have Live Chat available during those same business hours.

According to co-founder, Kim Kardashian’s Showroom bio, ShoeDazzle began in March 2009. She, along with Anya Sarre of ‘Entertainment Tonight’ and ‘The Insider’, and 8 other fashion stylists with extensive resumes make up the team which promise an intimate shopping experience customized to make you feel beautiful and pampered.

COST – $39.95 a month for 1 shoe, bag or jewelry set every month

WHAT YOU GET – ShoeDazzle features shoes, handbags and jewelry, plus a chance to score some clothing and random fun stuff too! At the beginning of very month, ShoeDazzle will send out an email announcing that 5 pairs of shoes, 5 bags and 5 jewelry sets picked out for you are available to be viewed in “My Showroom.” You can also see 14 or 15 more shoes that almost made the cut. Plus, if you don’t love your personal section of the first 5 shoes, you can request alternates be chosen for you once per month by completing a short survey about what you’d like to see instead (and you’ll still be able to view and purchase the items from the original picks – so I suggest ALWAYS requesting alternates for more shopping fun!)

The shoe options here are mainly crazy tall heels, especially with platforms, as on the other sites, but they also have flat sandals, wedges, ankle booties, ballet flats and knee boots.

Scroll down further in your Showroom, to browse a frequently changing (but often sold out) assortment of monthly Featured items. Here ShoeDazzle has listed shoes that were styled into their Featurettes (fun fashion photo shoots that appear on the homepage and across the top of My Showroom) as well as items like their multi-pack of Foot Petals brand foot cushions (at ShoeDazzle’s $39.95 price it’s actually cheaper than retail) and their current Casual Chic shoe collection of 14 sneakers (the first of these websites to offer sneakers!).

ShoeDazzle really dazzles when you connect your Facebook account. When you link up, you can use ShoeDazzle’s Friends’ Showroom feature to view the Showrooms for stylists Kim Kardashian, Anya Sarre and Heather Zweigel as well as any of your Facebook friends’ who have joined. This means you can buy the stylists’ and any of your friends’ 15 Showroom items (as long as they’re not already sold out) for tons of extra options.

And there’s more: ShoeDazzle is taking a cue from other limited time only sale sites and sending Dazzle Deals every Tuesday and Thursday via email. The Deals start at 9 a.m. (PST) and go until 9 p.m. (PST) the following day or when the item has sold out, whichever comes first. Recent Dazzle Deals have displayed dresses, beachwear and a Proliss curling iron set all for the same $39.95 per item membership price.

Unfortunately, ShoeDazzle does NOT give you more options if some of your handbags or jewelry selections have sold out and you cannot request alternates either if you don’t like the options they gave you (you’re only allowed to choose alternates for shoes). But you can add yourself to a Waitlist for any item to be notified via email if more are re-ordered.

Nellie from ShoeDazzle

VALUE – While most of the heels are marked as ShoeDazzle brand on the insoles, the sneakers in their Casual Chic feature are all brand name items like Chinese Laundry Wash, Skechers Sport, Pony, Mia and Converse. I also spotted a few brand name handbags like Melie Bianco and Nila Anthony (usual range $50-$99). But, please note that all the bags and most of the shoes are made from man-made/synthetic materials, not leather. The only exceptions I found were the Casual Chic collection of brand name shoes.

SHOPPING EXPERIENCE – I liked that ShoeDazzle tells you what they’re basing your selections on; when you complete their Style Quiz, they give you a style category along with your matches for designers, colors and patterns. Mine said I was artistic, whimsical and free-spirited – I think so! But if you think they’re totally off, make sure you don’t leave that area until you’re satisfied. There is a link to re-take the quiz on that final results page, but no way to do it again after you leave.

ShoeDazzle only allows shoppers to rate an item on a scale of 1 to 5 stars and they let anyone rate, not just people who have purchased the item. Usually this wouldn’t be a problem (I like being able to rate things without being required to buy them first), but without any written reviews or fit information available (except what’s listed in the About the Style section where most every shoe is “true to size”), the rating becomes almost worthless. You can’t tell whether the ratings are mostly based on the look of the shoe or important things like fit and comfort. The exception is when you connect with Facebook. When you have your Facebook account linked with ShoeDazzle you can post shoes you like to your own wall and get comments from your own friends (could be helpful if you just want opinions on looks or choosing between 2 styles). Facebook connecting also gets you access to the Stylists’ Showrooms, where you can view and reply to random peoples’ comments on those picks (and vice versa) – so at least for some shoes, you might be able to give and share info about fit.

When you click on an item to see more information, ShoeDazzle lists detailed photos including a shot of someone wearing the item (including wearing the bags! Extra points!), a zoom feature and, for most styles, a complete outfit. The model’s outfit specifics (like brand and price) are not provided, but if you’ve connected to Facebook, the stylist that picked that item will give you another idea in a sentence or two about how to wear the item. Another functionality comment though – since you can see that alternate colors are available for an item in My Showroom, I wish you could click those boxes to change the color of the picture there instead of having to open the item description page each time to see those other color choices.

Unfortunately, there was one other thing I was not happy with on the ShoeDazzle site. After you’ve signed into your free account and start shopping, ShoeDazzle will allow you to add items to your Shopping Bag but they will not let you view or edit your Shopping Bag until you’ve provided them with your credit card information – although they do still promise not to charge you until you’ve actually made your first purchase. I found this unnecessary and annoying since I add, compare and delete items from my Shopping Bag constantly – but maybe that’s just my strange habit and this won’t bother most of you. (Let me know your thoughts on this, readers. I’m curious to see how your online shopping habits compare.)

Luckily, ShoeDazzle does have a pretty fantastic YouTube channel with news, tips and behind the scenes fun, so that leveled the scales again.

RETURNS – ShoeDazzle offers free exchanges within 30 days as mentioned above for all sites. They also deduct a $5.95 restocking fee for any items returned for a refund. There is no fee for items returned for an exchange.

BONUS– Get 20& off your first item. You can also earn a free item every time you reach 1000 Style Points which can be amassed through referring friends who make a purchase (200 points for each friend) and buying items yourself (100 points for each item purchased, so excluding friend referrals, every 11th item is free).

FINE PRINT – If, for some reason, you forget to check your email for years or just never manage to make that 5th day of the month cut-off, you won’t end up paying ShoeDazzle thousands of dollars. Like JustFabulous, once you accumulate 5 credits in your account, you won’t be charged again until you use one. However, please note that that $200 can be charged to you EVERY YEAR (per their FAQs, credits are only valid for 12 months). Their one year expiration date also means that if you don’t use your credits, you could be paying ShoeDazzle up to $200 for nothing.

If you wish to cancel your membership, you can ONLY do so by calling customer service (which means you have to reach them during their business hours, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Pacific time. That’s 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for those on New York time). ShoeDazzle specifically states accounts cannot be closed via email.

And that’s it. I hope you can find the right site for you and may your closets be filled with shoes.

nyshoespyOk, no I’m not talking about some crazy 3-way, but there are shoes being debuted with touches from each of these icons. Elizabeth and James, the contemporary brand of Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen, has launched it’s first shoe collection; Marvel Comics is partnering with the Brown shoe company to create shoes linked to coming theatrical releases; and Metallica, along with other classic rock bands, is being honored by Converse with special edition Chucks. Yep, I’ve got all the details for you below.

Let me first say that I LOVE the Elizabeth and James clothing line, crazy awesome innovative stuff: cutaway blazers with faux attached vests, plain button up shirts transformed simply and beautifully, ridiculously flattering black pants, etc. But I was surprised by their first shoe collection; it was all so boring and basic! Many of the styles I’ve already seen before from other brands. For example, I’m pretty sure that one of the Olsen girls (or their designer helpers) owned a pair of these Givenchy laced wedge sandals pictured below and thought, hey, we can take elements of great shoes like these and make our own versions. And so from one, two were born: E & J’s ankle wrap wedge heel and their strappy huarache sandal (below in my nice little graphic).

Elizabeth and James ankle wrap wedge heel

Elizabeth and James 2009

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Elizabeth and James

Elizabeth and James 2009

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Givenchy ankle strap wedge sandals

Givenchy Spring/Summer 09

More similarities I found: the Elizabeth and James Edge huarache sliver wedges preceding them are only a few slanted straps away from Sigerson Morrison’s eel version below, and their leather button booties are so so basic, I just searched for 5 seconds to find this pair by Via Spiga. *sigh* I mean, they are great shoes and they are slightly different, but that’s just it. They’re only slightly different. The shoe line is almost completely devoid of the exciting new styles I was hoping for from the brand.

Elizabeth and James Edge

Elizabeth and James

Sigerson Morrison eelskin gladiators

Sigerson Morrison

ampersand

Elizabeth and James Leather Button bootie

Elizabeth and James

Via Spiga Niki Bootie

Via Spiga

But, I can say that one shoe did finally stand out, the Jazz pumps below, which remind me of early L.A.M.B. heels but with a tiny bit more sophistication. So I gave them a big picture. 😉

Elizabeth and James Jazz Pumps

Elizabeth and James Jazz Pumps

Next up, I’ve heard that the Brown shoe company, home to brands like Carlos Santana, Fergie, Via Spiga and Dr. Scholl’s, will be partnering with Marvel Comics in time for the release of Iron Man 2 (yipee!) scheduled for May 2010. As expected they’ll just be shoes for babies and young adults. But… there is a but, they plan on continuing to produce Marvel heroes shoe collaborations for future movies too: Thor coming May 2011, The First Avenger: Captain America in July of the same year, and “The Avengers” in May 2012. So who knows? Maybe some of those will be cool enough to work their way into adult shoe collections like the Wonder Woman flip flops below by Havaianas.

Wonder Woman Havanianas

Last, I hope you’re already found out (but I’m listing it anyway since I haven’t written about it yet – and if I’m your only source for shoe news, I can’t let you live without this knowledge) that classic rock bands, such as The Who, The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd are being honored by Converse with special sneakers. New shoes featuring AC/DC and Metallica are already available as part of the Fall 2009 collection. And these specially decorated Chuck Taylor All Stars hi-tops retail for between $50-$80, reasonable enough for you to get one pair to wear and one pair to frame, if you happen to be their number one fan. Check ’em out at Journeys.com below and Converse.com.

converse metallica collection

I confess that I don’t know as much about athletic shoes as I should given my limited scope of attempted expertise (somehow “ny shoes that aren’t athletic spy” just wasn’t as catchy). I feel super overwhelmed when I walk into sporting good stores, etc and see distinct styles for rugged trail running vs road running vs walking vs extra aerobic induced bouncing, etc. It seems a little ridiculous, but I know tons of money goes into the research to make these claims so who am I to dispute it? I also have not done any comparative testing so, even more so, I cannot scoff.

But I have to admit that all I actually choose from once I’m under the right activity subheading are the pretty colors (and I’m ashamed to say that I have  even strayed from my appropriate section because of the draw of a particularly beautiful shoe – however if it helps any, I do read all the features before buying). And this is all not to mention that I’ve really only bought athletic shoes for myself like twice, but I do at least look at the shoes much more often. Below is an example of some not completely athletic shoes but cute, cute and cute! (otherwise known as Adidas fabric and silver leather sneakers, Camper Asia Taipei sneakers and a purple and plaid The Ramos by Keep).

Adidas Silver Sneakers Camper Asia Taipei sneakers Keep The Ramos

Ok, so. In a  roundabout way, that brings us to the Boston Marathon! I went to college in Boston so I always saw part of the race and, in my memory, it always occurred right around the first warm and sunny day since winter (obviously not always so). I’m sure that watching or hearing of the famous Marathon inspires some people to start running themselves, it certainly is the easiest sport to start in (grab shoes and go!), so I thought I’d do a bit of research on running shoes and present to you some of the best (and cutest, come on, I can’t leave that out) shoes for it.

Road running means running on a paved or well packed surface that does not give at all when your foot hits it. This obviously causes extra strain on your involved body parts that would not be as effected on softer terrain; so road running shoes have extra cushioning to counteract this. The other major distinguishing factors amongst road running shoes are just those that combine to fit your specific foot: a combination of your arch and your pronation or gait. (Hey, this wasn’t so complicated after all!)

To honor Adidas’s 20 year partnership with the Boston Athletic Association (BAA, the marathon’s sponsor), they created a limited edition (800 pairs) version of their already popular Supervova running shoe in the official colors of the Boston Marathon (below). It also has a commemorative inscription on the interior and they’re so darn cute, I’m giving them spot numero uno. If you’re going to be wearing your running shoes for the entire 26.2 miles of the Boston Marathon, you definitely want to make sure you love those shoes in and out.  My second pick is a pair of New Balance CW413 shoes that have a mesh upper which – along with being breathable, obviously, the mesh should move more with your foot and probably be the most comfortable shoe ever! And the last pair of Nikes I love mostly because they’re black (ok and Nike is the world’s leading supplier of athletic wear so they probably know what they’re doing ;)). But seriously, not all running shoes have to be white-based! Maybe it’s for safety so other people can see you better when you’re running (road running=roads=cars and people)? Or maybe it’s like seeing your food turn colors, for the sake of your foot’s health, you know the expiration date for your shoes based on how much white is still left white. Regardless, my last pick are the (impressively named) Nike Shox Navina +3’s which also have very high-tech looking little shock looking features on the heels; love it.

Adidas Supernova Limited Edition New Balance CW413 Nike Shox Navina +3

Phew. Since that went so successfully, maybe I’ll try and delve into other athletic styles and explain how the shoes are made just for that specific activity, in later blogs. Let me know if you have any specific interests and I’ll be happy to give those a rambling (I call it “colorful”) explanation first.

avatarThis Winter, stores should be stocking styles you didn’t see last year to try to tempt buyers to the fullest and may be offering bigger sales than usual (yay for black friday and cyber monday!)

Muriel Gonzalez, Senior VP of shoes, intimates and accessories for Macy’s, told Footwear News in this article that they ‘“… see an opportunity in the fur-lined boot and slipper arena that we will be maximizing,” and that in addition to Uggs, “there’s a great Coach sneaker that’s fur lined. The Mammoth [shearling-lined] Crocs last year were very successful for us.”’ In the same article, Teresa Leone, a buyer for Belk Department Stores, said she also believes “There will be a big increase [in boots] because last year was so safe.” “[Mainstream department stores]… dabbled in the fashion [boots], but more people wanted newness.”’

I’m sure they meant “fur” loosely defined, like I think of it – as long as the shoes are soft inside and warm, that’s all that matters, right? Below are a few cozy shoes that are pretty fantastic.

Coach Colette EMU Australia High Hip boots suede fleece-lined Toms Shoes

 

Likewise, Rick Weinstein, director of sales and marketing at Searle told Footwear News, “It’s impossible to be up [in sales] … unless you’re offering something no on else has.” He said that 50 percent of shoe purchases at Searle New York are flat boots! It makes sense though; I think most people are still okay with buying a new pair of boots this winter even with the economy in crisis, but they are leaning towards boots they can wear every day (a.k.a. flat boots). You know, so they don’t have to buy more than one pair.

I’m all for skyscraper heels on my boots, but if you’re trying to make your money count, you have to admit that for most of us, cost per wear (which I only pretend means something to me 😉 – usually when I’m trying to justify buying a new pair of shoes) on those high heels will not even be close to that calculated on a pair of flat boots. So, with that in mind, these styles rock my socks:

Pertti Palmroth Waterproof Leather Boot fluevog-krista michael-by-michael-kors-fairbanks

 

On a side note: did you hear that Christian Lacroix has partnered with Gola to create an excessively cool line of men’s and women’s shoes which should appear for sale this January (you can see more of the styles, in addition to the one below, here)! Combining sporty style and designer runway fashion is definitely a good thing.  The master Lacroix himself said in a statement regarding the collaboration, “In a way, trainers are to the 21st century what shimmering ties and multicolored vests were to the dandies of the 19th century — a distinctive sign, a personal signature. That is the perspective from which I prefer to view fashion, rather than that of uniformity. Given carte blanche by Gola, I took the opportunity, withmuch gratitude, to bring the modernity of a contemporary and popular brand together with the timeless baroque of an iconic design or our couture house: the embroideries of a torero cape.”

Christian Lacroix for Gola

Last but not least, definitely check out Shuz Society’s cute list of the top 30 shoe related gifts for the holidays (shoe necklaces, bunny slipper booties for dogs, etc). Adorable.

I just saw some interesting shoe info, so I thought I’d share a late Sunday post. Enjoy!

1. Copied from the ABC News article, “How High Heels Might Boost Your Sex Life” (!!!) –  “In a study to be published in the journal European Urology, Cerruto presented the results of her tests on 66 women under the age of 50.

She found that if they stood with their feet at a 15-degree angle to the ground (the equivalent of a 3-inch heel) the electrical activity in their pelvic muscles was less — indicating the muscles were more relaxed with higher heels, thus improving their strength and ability to contract.

“We now hope to prove that wearing heels during daily activity may reduce the need for pelvic exercises,” says Dr. Cerruto.”

Read the entire article here and let me know what you think.

2. Next, I was so excited to get notification that the new TOMs wrap boots are now available in select stores, but all the stores I checked from their announcement list said they weren’t getting any (Whole Foods, Nordstroms etc).

But I was very happy to find some random e-tailers that are selling them online (below) !! The boots can be wrapped to any height you want, in any way you want (over pants or socks or on bare legs, etc) and were inspired by traditional Argentine polo games and the brightly colored leg wraps on the game ponies.They’re like ankle boots with a giant ace bandage attached – so simple but so brilliant! And they come in red, green, brown, black and probably more colors even I don’t know of!

And, as always, you can feel good about buying TOMs shoes since he donates a pair to a child in need for every pair purchased.

avatar Just some neat tidbits to keep you up to date in the shoe world. And after a relatively cold spell in New York City this week, I thought I’d try to remind everyone that it is still August with some beachy (and numeric!) footprints.  Enjoy!

 

After a fun collaboration with Eleanor Grosch which featured her cute animal prints and another with Nanette Leporewhich dressed up their basic flat sneakers, Keds is now joining forces with Zazzle.com to announce Keds Studio. This means that you’ll now be able to do what those designers did: take a plain classic lace-up or slip-on style and make it totally your own!

Now there are other footwear companies that currently have online customization programs; off the top of my head I can think of converse.com and timberland.com. However, the new Keds Studio goes a step further and will also allow you to upload your own graphics, text and art (as well as pre-created options, of course). We’re talking about the potential for absolutely, one of a kind shoes! So awesome. Wait, more? Now let’s say your shoes rock everyone’s socks and people are falling off sidewalks begging to know where they can get a pair… Keds Studio will also allow you to sell your design on their site and you get to name the price! Any difference between the actual cost and your price goes to you!! (I know there are a lot of exclamations in this paragraph, but honestly, I love it). Maybe I’m the only one that thinks about it this early, but Christmas presents? right?

** If you make a pair of your own, please post a link to your shoe gallery in your comment. I’d love to see how creative you are. I’ll post a picture of my shoes as soon as I make them.

 

I just heard about these great new shoes called The After Party Shoe. Unlike what you may have been squishing into your handbag when you know you’re not going to want walk home in those heels, these shoes fold in half and slip into a cute little carrying pouch to keep the dirt, etc out of your bag! (I have ruined the white interior of a gorgeous handbag because of carrying my shoes inside – note: if you’re ever making a handbag, ix-nay on the white interior-ay). Or, if you’ve actually been wearing those heels all night… you don’t know what you’re missing! I have not tried these on yet, but they come in a ton of cute styles that you might just want to wear all the time.

After Party Gold After Party Black Sandal After Party Purple

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Interesting news from the shoe world to fill your 4th of July weekend. Be safe with your fireworks (if they’re legal in your state), be safe with your skin (meaning sunscreen!) and be safe with your shoes (securely fastened to your feet if you’re going on a roller-coaster or that they don’t mind water if you’ll be at the beach).

Chinese Laundry Vegas With offices stationed in Southern California for more than 30 years, Chinese Laundry recently announced that its first boutique ever will stay in the area. The store will sell Chinese Laundry footwear, bags, denim, belts, hosiery and sunglasses. With the brand having been around for so long, at first I couldn’t believe they’d never had a store. Chinese Laundry has long been a solution to the no cash but need a pair of heels right now rut I come upon fairly often. I actually had to trace sidewalk paths in my mind around the cities I’d lived in before I could really convince myself I’d never seen a store of their own! Give the brand some love!

Marc Jacobs Fab Glitter flats The Louis Vuitton Group (LVMH) recently won a huge lawsuit against eBay. A court in France found eBay fully responsible for letting people sell counterfeit Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior goods on eBay.com as well for allowing the sale of 4 specific perfume brands (Kenzo, Guerlain, Givenchy and Christain Dior) which can be sold only by authorized distributors.

The actual terms of guilt from the ruling were “gross misconduct and detrimental breach.” And the court completely threw out eBay’s claim that their website users are themselves responsible for engaging in illegal activities such as (obviously) buying or selling counterfeit goods. Ebay has been told they must pay about $63 million in damages but do plan to appeal – partially because such a ruling is “anti-competitive” (per an eBay press release) and would hurt small businesses everywhere.

What if, like the perfumes in this case, other luxury items (shoes!!, handbags, sunglasses) begin to be restricted as well and brands start to withhold the sale of those items from everyone but a very select few authorized people? Can you imagine a world where you can only buy your Marc Jacobs shoes straight from the Marc Jacobs store? Good-bye super sale prices. I don’t support knock-offs, but I hope eBay wins their appeal at least partially. It seems too broad a ruling to be of any good to consumers.

My Calvin Klein HeelsLast but not least, I got married about 2 weeks ago (honeymoon last week and time off for planning/organizing before that – sorry for going missing for a while!). Anyway, these are the Calvin Klein heels I finally decided on and wore (thanks to Justin Tinapay for his excellent photos!):
My Calvin Klein Heels
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Some shoe news-y tidbits just for you. Have a great memorial day weekend!

Fergie, formerly of the Black Eyed Peas, is teaming with Brown Shoe Co. for her own shoe line coming Spring ’09. In the press release, she says “A woman can wear confidence on her feet with a high stiletto, or slip into weekend comfort with a soft ballet flat,” but judging from the handbags born of her collaboration with Kipling, I’m predicting casual beachy styles (bright colors, canvas) with some rock star inspired styles (patent leather, black, red, hot pink, studs, charms, crystals). But we’ll have to see, samples are going to be displayed at the FFA’s New York trade shows; maybe she’ll wow everyone Gwen Stefani style. Other predictions, anyone?

CasadeiThe New York Times wrote an intersting article yesterday regarding the brand Foley & Corinna as the face of the fashion copying / copyrighting debate. You may be aware of the infamous Forever 21 dress that was almost an exact replica of a much more expensive original by Foley & Corinna. As I’m sure you’ve seen (and maybe even searched for) near-replicas of runway shoes you love (but maybe cannot afford), watching how this plays out will definitely be of interest and may have a huge impact on the more affordable fashion retailers and who knows who else. Read the NY Times article here

Le Coq Sportif relauched in the US 3 months ago from their first attempt in 2005, and has just announced that they are closing up yet again to focus on the more stable European market. If you’ve never heard of the brand, trust me that this is sad news. I had a love affair with a pair of their chocolate brown sneakers with a light blue rooster logo and matching light blue stitching: They had super flat, almost non-existant soles, like ballet slippers, but they were still sturdy enough that I didn’t feel every sidewalk crack I stepped on. And they had the softest leather I’ve ever felt in a sneaker. The majority of retailers are already sold out and most of the shoes you can find end up being mens (Father’s Day is coming up!), but there are a few for women left on the internet. And there’s always ever-changing eBay.

Beatrix Ong, a former designer for Jimmy Choo, has decided to start her own line of luxury shoes led more by Ong’s travels than by trends. So if you’re looking for a unique pointy-toe stiletto, you probably won’t find a better version than hers. But the best part is, she also supports more than 15 charities.

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avatarUp to 50% of women asked by America’s Research Group to rate Spring clothes this season responded that they had not even noticed what stores were selling! Of course, the experts are saying that’s more because of the economy than fashion itself; I don’t think anyone would contest that (The heel-less shoes this year?!!). Even though I don’t have a car nor do I own a home to pay a mortgage on, I know all about the rising gas prices and problems with national debt. On top of those consumer troubles, stores and clothing labels themselves are facing higher costs for raw materials and labor and due to the dollar being weak compared to international currencies. So, sadly, the price of fashion goes up when few could really afford to pay for it even at the original prices. As the story from MSNBC (that I found my interesting opening tidbit from) continues, “It’s just too many stores with too much square footage chasing too few shoppers,” and “…Beemer [head of America’s Research Group] isn’t expecting discretionary spending on things like clothes to really bounce back until May 2009, after next year’s tax refunds start to kick in.”

Yikes. But maybe it means we’ll see lots more creative dressing on the sidewalks as people try to re-invent their old clothes and accessories. That would be a plus. Unfortunately for me, as this blog indicates, I do have a teensy tiny in-the-way belief that I will not be able to live without another pair of shoes (repeat infinitely). So, even if I did have all the bills of an average middle American, I’m pretty sure I’d still find a way to get a new pair every so often. If you’re in the same “situation,” or if you just haven’t gotten yourself a treat in a while, try to make the best of the bad times. For me that means… shoes on SALE!

As much as I would like these Moschino heels for $320, or even the Jcrew version in the middle for $195, the Steve Maddens below right, fit my strappy blue shoe wishes just as well and when they’re on sale for $24.99, I can’t even make myself cry about it.

Moschino Cheap & Chic Cristobal patent Steve Madden Maud

I’ve also selected some other great sale items, priced right for the economy. These cute gold sandals by Baby Phat would look great with a long dress (I’m obviously still on a bit of a cork trip from learning about how great it is as a renewable resource during Earth Day), and a fun, casual pair of bright pink kitten heels by American Eagle are the kind of easy, go-with-anything-as-your-running-out-the-door kind of shoe I love. A runner-up for the blue strappy sandal title above was these MIA wedges (also cork, yay!). I really like the gold trim on the straps. And the green heels are by Enzo Angiolini. They have multi-colored crocheted (!) detail down the front that makes them looks like they came straight out of a couture house (but, of course, not couture price). But I can’t decide if the detail looks more like flowers, berries, leaves or pieces of coral – it reminds me of different things on different days, which is probably why I like them so much. What’s your vote? (there’s a red-brown-orange version too).

Baby Phat Cork Wedge American Eagle Kale
MIA Bianca Enzo Angiolini Chan

Happy May Day tomorrow!

And P.S. I am newly obsessed with the iGoogle Artist Themes. They’re featuring a crazy awesome range of people: from Jeff Koons to Tory Burch, Coldplay to Anne Geddes, Akira Isogawa (their featured piece would look gorgeous as a wedding invite print!) and Diane von Furstenberg, among others! Very cool! (listen, Tory Burch makes shoes… it’s still shoe related).

And double P.S. (P.P.S ?), I can’t end this blog without mentioning these crazy shoes I just found (warning- not to be confused with the inexpensive business above). They’re called Camileon Heels and they adjust between a 3.25 inch height and a 1.5 inch height. Yes, one shoe, two heel heights! There’s a little video that demonstrates how they work if you click on that link I made with the name of the shoe.  Awesome idea, but I can’t get over the feeling that they heel will snap off when you’re wearing them tall since they are made to collapse. I think I’ll wait for a few more reviews before trying them out. Maybe by then the company will have some brighter colors too (all their styles are fairly basic and browns and blacks for now), but definitely a brand to watch! Let me know if you try a pair before I do.

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avatarToday Apple announced the new MacBook Air.  For $1800 (the projected initial cost of said Air book before upgrades and add-ons)  you could get 20, 30, even 40 pairs of shoes! Ok, I’m getting a bit carried away. But seriously check out the deals below.  And for the tech savvy fashionistas out there, I’ve got a great place for laptop deals!  The average price for laptops from these guys is a mere $677. Think about it,  you can satisfy your technological needs and still get a couple of hot heels for less than the airy Mac.

via spiga drama heels via spiga dot heels Coach Whitnie gold heels

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