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CONGRATS TO OUR WINNER anashct!!

WIN these Asher wedges by Matisse!

Remember these awesome shoes from last week’s blog about espadrille trends for Spring? Well, how would you like to win a pair of these wedges? Thanks to Matisse, who are donating a pair for the contest, you’ve got your wish!

We’re giving away 1 pair of the Asher style endless espadrille wedge sandals (in your size) to 1 lucky winner.

To enter to win, there are only 3 steps:

1. Follow NYShoeSpy on Twitter (see handy link in the upper left corner of the blog)
2. Tweet an random awesome thing you saw today (don’t forget to include @NYShoeSpy in your tweet)
3. Leave a comment here on this blog telling me which of the shoes you own is your absolute favorite pair and why.

Remember to leave your twitter name or a valid email when you comment so I can contact you if you win.

I will use a random number generator to pick the winner on Sunday, April 3 so you have until midnight Friday, April 1 to enter (not an April Fools prank, I promise).

Good Luck! And thanks again to Matisse and SnL Communications!

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Let’s start off with Lucky Magazine’s Spring Shoe Guide (March 2011) as an intro. They list these shoes to add to your warmer weather wardrobe: wood platforms, jeweled slingbacks, bold loafers (as in bold colors), platform pumps, flat espadrilles, sliver-wedge sandals, pointy-toe slingbacks and cork wedges, followed by 2 strap sandals (on strap around the ankle and one over the toes) as their shoe-of-the-month in the April 2011 issue.

My thoughts: The wood platforms, cork wedges and flat espadrilles are pretty standard, every-spring-they’re-for-sale shoes (although I realize there’s a 70s vibe going around which is making shoe stores a little extra wood heavy). And I’m going to skeptically say I’ll stay on the lookout for someone wearing jeweled slingbacks as daywear in NYC. I also doubt you’ll see many people in bright loafers this spring/summer, especially with wide-leg trousers and maxi skirts trending now (can’t really wear loafers with those). But, I think the pointy-toe slingbacks, sliver-wedge sandals and 2 strap sandals are all spot-on. The sliver-wedge sandals are a nice progression of winter’s version popularized by Loeffler Randall’s sliver-boots. And I think pointy-toes will become more and more plentiful as the year progresses.

But I’ve also spotted a few other (more?) interesting spring shoe trends popping up and they actually all involve espadrilles!

First, I’ve noticed espadrilles with frayed straps. These are definitely more for your casual days but hey, if you already have a pair of strappy canvas wedges, don’t be afraid to dip into D.I.Y and rough them up a bit ;). And if you prefer the new versions, below Steve Madden, Coconuts and others have done the distressing for you.

Second, I’m seeing a lot of espadrille heels that continue up the ankle to form the heel cup; I’m calling them endless espadrilles. These shoes are AMAZING because when they’re on, at first glance you look like you might be wearing impossibly tall heels.¬† They’re also especially nice because the style could hide a much lower heel like the 2.5 inch (I know!) version by Sam Edelman. And as a side note – yep, that brand in row 5 is Hunter of rainboot fame, apparently making some leather heels now.

Honorable mention goes to espadrilles that do not have covered ankles but instead feature an extra tall side portion or “cut-out” ankle strap that creates a similar illusion. Surprisingly, I found a nice example of these shoes at Old Navy which are a great option if you’re on a budget.

I still have one more trend for you further below, but for now, some picture proof!

FRAYED EDGES

Coconuts Avery

Bettye Muller Saffron

Steve Madden Fraid

ENDLESS ESPADRILLE HEELS

Matisse Asher

BCBGMAXAZRIA Malaga

Sam Edelman Leroy

Enzo Angiolini Ramie

Enzo Angiolini Romario

Hunter Anegada

HONORABLE MENTION

Old Navy Espadrille Wedges

Corso Como Decoy

Boutique 9 Illy

Not Too Coy Lydia

And last I’ve collected some irregular espadrille combos. Brands like Tory Burch and 3.1 Phillip Lim are marrying espadrille soles with a chukka or desert boot upper. This is probably best with a canvas boot and an excellent option when we’ve got those New York days where it’s warm for just a few hours in the afternoon sunshine and then you’ve got to put your jacket back on (like today!).

A few other brands, like Jeffrey Campbell and Prada, decided to add in an espadrille layer to a shoe that normally wouldn’t have it. This might technically shorten the seasonally appropriate lifespan of the shoes, but fashion rules are made to be broken. However, I’m not sure we should even call them espadrilles, and at the same time, I don’t think we can leave that out – it’s pretty distinctive. How about Espamaybelles? (I’ll break that down: espa-maybe-lles…? ok, well, I love it, haha).

Anyway, that’s it for now. Happy shopping all! And if you spot any other crazy espadrille hybrids, let me know.

Tory Burch Desert Bootie Espadrille

3.1 Phillip Lim lace up espadrille

Prada Lace-Up Cutout Wedge

Jeffrey Campbell Mary ESP

Mark & James Magnolia

Chinese Laundry Dragonfly

Quick Trend Note – So I’ve noticed that rain boots are being updated in awesome ways lately. Do the rain boots currently in your closet have nothing but a quirky pattern? Ditch them! A solid and not too brightly colored boot is the easiest way to update your look this season. And with these new low-key colors, you won’t feel ridiculous wearing your rain boots all day when the weather forecasters turn out to be wrong (again). But to be really on trend, make sure that your rubber boots are spruced up with zippers, wedges, strap details, laces, trompe l’oeil designs or a sole that’s anything but flat! Rain boots can now come out and play even on the sunniest fall and winter days!

See By Chloe Classic

Hunter Boots Regent Savoy

The pocket design and faux quilting above are both fabulous examples of trompe l’oeil designs. Jimmy Choo came out with a great faux crocodile rubber boot that works too. The See by Chloe pair also has another of this season’s great rain boot accessories: laces! Whether they’re half laces up the front, full laces or back laces, everyone is using real strings to adorn their rubber wear right now (see below for more).

Loeffler Randall LR

Hunter Verbier

Kate Spade Randi

Melissa Ashanti

Long gone are the days when rain boots are simply flat and chunky. Today’s rain boots are trim, sleek and have heels in all shapes and heights. You can find rain boots with mini wedges or full 3 inch wedges, tall and low chunky heels, smooth riding boot heels and stilettos. Honestly I can find a reason to “need” one of every type.

Steve Madden Tsunamii

Cougar Regal

Tory Burch buckled rubber

Chooka London Town

I’ve also been seeing tons of motorcycle inspired rain boots with tons of straps and buckles topping rubber styles (KORS Michael Kors has another version). This style looks great with something a girly on top (a floaty, open cardigan sweater? a winter coat with a bit of ruffle?) to balance the toughness.

And below is one random standout – an OTK (over the knee) rainboot by Calvin Klein. If you’ve got long model legs, go for it! But if you’re a shortly like me, sadly it’s best to just pass on these. You’ll have a hard time walking up steps gracefully (and probably doing other common things like sitting) since rubber doesn’t bend as nicely as leather or fabric.

Now go shopping! ūüėČ

Calvin Klein Ava

On a related topic, as I posted on my Facebook and Twitter, I’m wondering about wellie socks. Do they work in all types and brands of rainboots? Look out for a new blog with what I find coming up soon!

Welcome to the ugg boot faceoff! Want to know the difference between the $200 uggs and the $50 ones? Are there any differences between the two most popular brands? Not sure if you should believe the hype? Just looking for a great ugg boot? You’ve come to the right place. With SO many companies now making ugg boots at SO many different price points (and with conflicting information online and lots of biased testimonials from brand loyalists), I decided it was time to create a complete review.

Intro – Although there is still some disagreement, I believe the term “ugg boot” describes a particular style of boot (almost everyone would draw an identical picture when you mention it) not a specific brand. So for the purposes of this review, the particular brand that started the mainstream ugg boot craze a few years ago will be referred to as UGG Australia, their actual brand name, and any item referred to as an ugg, will mean the common style of the boot.

I discovered in my research that while most of these boot brands use Australian sheepskin, every brand I reviewed makes their shoes in China. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just don’t be surprised when you look on the boot tag. Also, most of the brands will warn you about dye transfer.¬† You might not think much of this (what does it matter if the inside of your pant leg changes color, right?) until you realize they’re talking about your TOES turning colors, since you’re wearing these babies sans socks. If you really can’t stand the idea of purple-ish black toes lurking inside your boots, don’t get uggs with black shearling interiors. And although sheepskin is water resistant, it is NOT waterproof and you should use weatherproofing spray on your uggs whether you plan on going out in the rain or not – trust me, if my husband had sprayed his sheepskin slippers right away, they would probably not have terrible coffee and baby drool stains on them right now.¬† ūüėČ

Last, I’d like to mention that I was given some of these boots by the manufacturers for the purpose of reviewing them and others I purchased myself. I always strive to write fair and accurate reviews with pros and cons for each item, and I only accept shoes from companies that accept this policy, so you can be sure you’re getting my honest opinions. Now, on with the show!

UGG Australia Classic Tall

UGG Australia Classic Tall

UGG Australia – One of the first and most popular names in ugg boots, UGG Australia was named Footwear News’ “Brand of the Year” in 2003. The brand has now ventured into many non-ugg styles but still keeps their signature ugg alive with things like this season’s collaboration with Jimmy Choo.

The Review – Super soft, obviously, and these were also the lightest weight boot of all those reviewed. But the shaft of these boots tends to be a bit wide which allowed little wisps of cold to get to my legs. This led to me wearing them with socks, clearly an ugg no-no, but it was January. I don’t know if the socks killed the shearling, especially on the inside of the heels, or if it would have compacted the same way after a few months of wear, but I pretty much had to continue wearing them with socks after that, so be warned. Unfortunately, the super flexible outsoles did start thinning noticeably from wear within less than a year, so, although the boots continued to be comfortable til the end, they had a pretty short life. However, I never had a problem with a seam coming undone or any other kind of manufacturing defect; the issues I mentioned were due to normal use, so these boots are clearly well-made. And I should mention that the sheepskin exterior of the UGG boot (the part not touching any part of your foot) was the softest out of all boots reviewed, very buttery. UGG Australia boots have a blown rubber sole like Whooga brand boots, but the pattern they’ve grooved in gives the UGG soles slightly more traction. Although these are on the high end price wise, you’ll feel you’re paying for higher grade materials and not just a hyped-up brand name.

Random – Starting with the Fall 2010 season, UGG Australia will start adding reflective security stickers and labels on their shoes and shoe boxes to help fight counterfeit replication. And I have to give them points for their biodegradable (polythylene) shoe bags.

Price: $180   Fit: runs large Рwhole sizes order down one size/ half sizes, order down a half size

http://www.uggaustralia.com

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Whooga Classic Tall

Whooga Classic Tall

Whooga –¬† This is a relatively new brand that specializes in ugg boots. Whooga uses only Australian sheepskin with merino wool and their boots are sewn by hand using Australian manufacturing techniques. They offer 9 color options including 2 cool metallic versions.

The Review – The Whooga boots actually had the thickest shearling out of all the boots I reviewed; it filled the spaces between my toes from the top as well as from the bottom. With other ugg boots I obviously felt the fleece around my entire foot, but after a bit of wear the shearling molded into a little hollow foot igloo. The Whooga boots, with their twin faced fleece, are enveloping, like being swallowed in soft warmth that somehow stays in place. And the shaft of the boot kept the fleece touching my entire leg without being restrictive, which was one problem I had with the UGG Australia brand, as above. These boots keep you super warm without being overly warm – it’s really a try it to believe it kind of thing. You definitely don’t want to ruin the experience by wearing socks or tucking in your pants – so for the winter, give up your skinny jeans for a while and wear something you can pull over the outside of the boots or scrunch at the top.

On the other hand, the exterior sheepskin (the part not touching you) feels starchy to the touch and the outsoles are a little more stiff than other brands; but those details are hardly worth the extra $60 that separates these from UGGS and EMUs. The blown rubber sole was a little slippery right out of the box on smooth linoleum surfaces, but they seemed to have a more normal grip after about an hour of wear. Finally, and perhaps most tellingly, I didn’t notice the Whooga boots on my feet after I wore them over a long 10 hour day. All of the sudden I was like, wait a second, I’m supposed to be thinking about these boots for a review! Now that’s the sign of a good shoe: when you’ve got such happy feet, you totally forget you even have them on.

Random – I LOVE Whooga’s packaging. The shoe box has a ribbon and bow attached to it so that every time you take your shoes out, it’s like opening a present. Great idea!

Price: $122 Fit: slightly big/half sizes visit the website for a fit guide

http://www.whooga-eu.co.uk/

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EMU Australia Stinger Hi

EMU Stinger Hi

EMU -Founded in 1994,¬† EMU Australia uses a Border Lester/Merino cross sheepskin from the Western District of Victoria, Australia. They actually have two versions of their classic ugg boot, the Stinger and the lower priced Bronte. But there’s no mixing up the two options, they even have different shoebox designs.

The Stinger Review – The EMU Stinger style has two great features the other brands lack: a removable insole and arch support. Those features are pretty cool, but for those who have been unable to wear the ugg style due to flat feet, injury, or the need for orthotics, I’m sure it seals the deal. Also these boots did have the most grippy, traction-y rubber outsoles. Even the slipper style, which I would assume most people would keep for indoor use, has a great sole. However, the fleece in these EMU boots, while warm, was not as soft or thick as it‚Äôs similarly priced competitors and the outer sheepskin was also a little less soft. Unlike Whooga and UGG Australia which have interior shearling that appears to be brushed, the EMU shearling is a little nubby and rough.

The Bronte Review – The less expensive EMU Bronte style shares few of its big sister‚Äôs perks. It does not have the removable insole, no arch support, and only the boot exterior is sheepskin; the interior is lined with EMU‚Äôs micron 20 100% merino wool which they say has the same insulation properties as sheepskin. It feels like the stuffing fiber used for toys and pillows: a little scratchy but it is still warm. The wool also appears to be thicker than the Stingers lining initially, but it’s very airy (think cotton candy) and smooshes down flat pretty fast. You can tell these are a better quality than the Payless Airwalk boots, but I would rate them lower than BEARPAW ‚Äď the BEARPAW boots are less expensive and much nicer; you‚Äôre just paying for the EMU name here. One big plus though is that the EMU Bronte has what appears to be same great outsole as the Stingers, except that its labeled as being made of TPR (Thermo Plastic Rubber) instead of just plain rubber.

The Stinger style features a contrasting leather EMU logo sewn onto the outside of the heel of the boots. The Bronte has a tonal logo that peeks out from a hole in the heel. Other online reviews say these boots do stretch with wear but my toe was uncomfortably right up against the front of the shoe when I sized down (I am usually a half size) so I recommend ordering true to size and half sizes, order up. But if you’re willing to be a little uncomfortable for a week or two while the boots stretch, it might be worth sizing down instead if you’re between sizes.

Random – The slight curve at the heel of the soles of these shoes identifies this brand from farther away than you could read the heel tag.

Stinger Price: $179   Fit: true/half size, order up (see review for more details)

Bronte Price: $99   Fit: true/half size, order up

http://www.emuaustralia.com

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BEARSKIN Emma Tall

BEARPAW – BEARPAW, founded in 2001, makes their boots with sueded cow leather exteriors, but they are lined with the same Australian sheepskin wool as their competitors. BEARPAW claims that the leather helps their boots last longer and are a little more water resistant than their full sheepskin counterparts (you should still treat with waterproofing spray though).

The Review – I really wanted to try BEARPAW boots as a mid-price ugg option. When I first picked them up, the shearling felt nice, comparable to the EMU Stingers actually. But when I slid my bare foot inside, I was completely surprised – I think they saved the nicest shearling for the footbed! It definitely seemed extra soft and cushy there. I was also surprised that the (comparably) slightly thinner shearling around the boot leg didn’t lessen the warmth of the boot, maybe because of that extra layer created by attaching the sheep wool interior to the cow leather exterior; if anything these boots are extra warm. BEARPAW boots have a stiffer heel cup than other brands initially, but after wearing them for a few hours, it softened right up. These boots also seem to have a slightly wider calf than EMUs and Whoogas, but that does make it a little easier to tuck your pant legs into them.

What really impressed me about the BEARPAWs though, is that they’re soft on the outside but they held their shape way better than the other full sheepskin brands which tend to get toe creases and look slouchy in the leg after a few days wear. So the cow leather actually makes these boots appear newer longer and look more expensive than they cost (plus that leather smell, yum!). All in all, BEARPAW certainly exceeded my expectations!

Random – Interestingly, when pulling the boots on and off I noticed that the sheepskin was separated a little at the seams on the interior matching where the boots were stitched on the outside. This did not effect comfort at all but, curious, I went back to check this on the other brands and I could feel the same seams and separation in the interior fleece on of them, it just wasn’t as noticeable to the eye).

Price: $72   Fit: true/half size, order down.

http://shop.bearpawshoes.com/

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Airwalk Regan Flat Boot

Airwalk Regan

Airwalk – Airwalk was founded in 1986 and continues to operate as an independent brand deep in the alternative sport and music scene, however, through a take-over in 2007, a line of Airwalk shoes are also sold in sister store, Payless Shoe Source.

The Review – Surprisingly, these were¬†the heaviest boots I reviewed¬†in terms of weight,¬†so I would recommend¬†the lower ankle/mid-calf¬†version just for that reason (ever cross your legs for a long period of time with really heavy boots on?). But maybe the super thick soles will last longer; that full inch of height will certainly help keep you out of puddles. The shoes are made of¬†all synthetic materials and the faux shearling lining is really on the skimpy side, but they are still pretty warm considering. I would definitely wear these with boots with socks though – only real fleece will give you the air circulation that regulates your body temperature and keeps your feet from sweating. Overall they’re a pretty great option under $50!

Random – These Airwalk boots come in half sizes (all the other brands I reviewed only offer whole sizes) so you can be more certain of a perfect fit when ordering online.

Price: $39.99   Fit: true/half sizes available

http://www.payless.com

141,259 fans on Facebook

Koolaburra Lexie

Koolaburra – This brand does make the same flat uggs that I have been reviewing so far, but Koolaburra pressed me to try one of their slightly different styles as those are really what separates them from the other ugg brands. Koolaburra’s twists on the basic ugg include some awesome accessories attached to their boots like studded belts draped around the shaft, leather rosettes pinned down the sides, wisps of feathers & beads, and varieties of fringe. They also have some interesting new soles: a sporty sneaker bottom (on the Modern Classic collection) and wedges!! I think they said it best themselves: “Koolaburra is perfect mix, juxtaposing the ethos of rocker chic daring with boho sensibility.”

The Review -I have to say that I was more than a little excited to try one of Koolaburra’s ugg wedges. I choose the Lexie style, which has about a 2.25 inch wedge heel and a working lace up shaft (also a key trend in boots this season). UGG Australia has been doing a wedge boot for a while, but their version looks like a normal boot, they just lined it with their sheep shearling. Koolaburra is the first brand I’ve seen to keep the traditional ugg style, swapping only the flat sole with a wedge. If you’re addicted to your uggs, these wedges are a great way to keep the comfort but make your style a little sharper. The leather laces up the front of the Lexie allow you to adjust the fit of the boot AND makes tucking in your jeans or leggings beyond easy if you want to show off these babies. Or, if you just love the sheepskin peeking out but don’t really need the boot to open on occasion, you can knot the laces in the perfect place and put them on like normal uggs.

I was completely amazed that these boots, even with the mid heel height, were equally as comfortable throughout the day as any of the flat ugg versions I tried (and I did a lot of walking in these). I bounced through the door after a long day at work and didn’t pull these off til I crawled into bed. These boots have a natural crepe rubber outsole with an EVA wedge midsole, and they have replaceable sheepskin lined insoles like EMU does. These Koolaburra boots are very warm and have very soft, brushed sheep shearling- I wasn’t able to tell the difference between Koolaburra and UGG Australia when I did my own blind touch test of the inside of each boot. Koolaburra is a high-end boot brand, but I say well worth the price, especially when you consider that you’re getting a new style the rest of the world doesn’t already own.

Random – This Lexie style has a 7.5 inch mid-calf shaft height but Koolaburra also made an identical knee-high version called Shasta and lots of other wedge styles which I highly recommend you check out!

Price: $285      Fit: True to Size, half sizes order up.

http://www.koolaburra.com

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*****I’m hoping to still add reviews on uggs from SHOO Republic, Australia Luxe Collective and Mou to really turn this into the most comprehensive ugg review on the planet, so stay tuned for more. And if you come across another brand you want to see added to the running, definitely let me know!¬†You can comment here or email us at info@nyshoespy.com.

Converse are so cheap, so easily manipulated and so durable – you shouldn’t be surprised this second DIY feature brings back the classic Chucks again. This time, we’re cutting and pulling. ūüėČ

 

Shredded Converse at FreePeople.com

Shredded Converse at FreePeople.com

 

The Converse to the left are featured at Free People for $128. Now, they are super cool, but it looked like a pretty simple operation (heck, I have scissors), so I decided to try it out myself. I also just happened to have an old pair of Converse in my closet which definitely helped (yay for being a pack-rat)!

I’ve numbered the pictures below along with the matching paragraph.

1. Ok, so first I took out the laces from my Converse and started cutting slightly angled slits in the shoes between each eyelet. Then I realized just slits were not enough and you need to cut out rectangles, not just straight lines, in order for some skin to peek through.

Make sure that you do NOT cut through the very back of the shoe at the ankle/heel (you’ll see a reinforced strip of canvas there). If you cut through it, you’ll end up with completely separated shoe pieces just held on by laces. Not the look we’re going for.

2. Cool. The cutting was super easy, thank you canvas. It literally took me about 15 minutes to finish both shoes!! You will notice part way through that there are two layers to your Converse shoes, the outer layer and the lining – don’t worry, they’ll stay connected since they’re attached below the insole and along the back of the high top. Now you have a choice: you can make these shoes super sandal-like or a little more sneaker-like… just decide whether to keep the shoe tongue or not. Free People’s website actually has pictures of both versions depending on the color of the shoe! I decided to remove the tongue even though I was a little nervous about how the laces would feel against my skin. Here’s a pic of the shoes with the tongue in for your reference.

 

 

#1 - not just single line cuts

#1 - not just single line cuts

 

 

#2 - the cuts are done on one side

#2 - the cuts are done on one side

 

 

#2 - pretty nice with the tongue left in

#2 - pretty nice with the tongue left in

3. To cut the tongue I re-laced the shoes up so I could see where it’d fall. I pulled the tongue straight up right before the first set of eyelets (the pair nearest the toe) which left a little of my toes covered. Remember, you can always cut more off later, but it’s really hard to put it back. ūüėČ Well, that ended up being too long for me and I was worried about it bunching up as I walked in the shoes (although you could sew the tongue to the first two flaps holding those eyelets if you want to keep the tongue a little longer). As you can see below, I cut the tongue out in a semi-circle leaving a little less than a half an inch of fabric (since it is sewn to those first flaps a little – I didn’t cut through those stitches which is why the line curved into a circle).

 

 

#3 - goodbye tongue!

#3 - goodbye tongue!

 

 

#4 - fray by rubbing the edges with your finger

#4 - fray by rubbing the edges with your finger

4. Next you’ll need to fray your shoes as pictured above. This part is also super easy and takes less than 5 minutes. Just hold each strap taught at the eyelet and rub down the cut side with your finger, up and down. You can also try holding each section with one hand and then use your other hand to pinch the cut side while pulling if you want even more intense frayed action.¬†P.S. ¬†I noticed that the creamy lining frays a lot easier than the outer canvas does, it’ll pretty much fray on its own just by wearing the shoes, so I personally just pulled a little at the outer canvas only.

5. They’re done (in 20-ish minutes!!),¬† fabulous and¬†free (if you have an old pair of Converse lying around) – but even if you buy some new, Converse retail for about $40, so you’re saving over $80 off the ready-made version (sorry FreePeople, I do love you)!

Try this with high tops or even with low tops, I’d love to see your pictures if you try it!

And for some interesting reading on the history of Converse, check out this awesome article in the Boston Globe by cool girl Erin Ailworth.

 

 

#4 - the finished product!

#5 - the finished product!

Traditionally, the vast majority of couples in the US have their weddings in June, the first month of summer. But this June was super rainy (I think record-breaking) and I’ve noticed more late summer weddings planned for this year and next. But regardless of when exactly it happens, you can bet that at some point in your life you¬†will be invited to a summer wedding, maybe even your own! (I’m realizing now that I actually crashed my own wedding, since I technically never got an invite ;)) Anyway, I think that’s a good reason to have a blog strictly about Summer wedding shoes! (P.S. if you’re still undecided, see my Winter wedding shoe blog too).

So, you may think anything goes when pairing shoes with summer toes, but you’d be wrong! Well, ok,¬†maybe not wrong, but some shoe styles¬†are far superior to others depending on the location of your ceremony:

1. All Outdoor Weddings – If you’re having a summer wedding, its safe to say you’ll probably be having your ceremony outdoors to enjoy the nice, warm weather. First of all, do yourself a favor and avoid cooping your feet up inside hot closed toe pumps (ew, foot sweat!). If temps top 90 where you are, even gladiator style sandals may start to rub and feel not-so-good, so just cross all those shoes off your list now.

Next, even if you opt for a location that can reserve an indoor area in case of rain, remember that you’ll have to have your shoes picked out long before you’ll know Mother Nature’s decision. Any shoe will work indoors, but not every shoe will work outside. So, the main thing to consider when choosing your summer wedding shoes is the ground you’ll be walking on: sand, grassy lawn, packed dirt path (garden), flagstones, loose gravel, etc.

2. Beach Weddings –¬†Trust me when I tell you that you will get sand in your shoes. And I’ve had even those most comfy shoes turn evil at the beach. So now the question is, do you want to have to take your shoes off every 5 seconds to dump them out? Or will you stay strapped into your shoes all day to suffer while a few misplaced grains rub your foot raw? If your answer is “yikes!”, then when trying out shoes, think first about how easy they are to get on and off. Unfastening ankle straps, for example, can require some pretty awkward movements if you’re¬†in, say,¬†a long, straight, low-cut dress. But if your shoes are open to let the sand in and out freely, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about removing them. Here’s a good beach shoe philosophy: don’t fight the sand, go with it.

Also, thin heels are not going to work so well if you plan on walking in sand, so I’d take those out of consideration now too. Even if you could manage the walk, I’m sure you don’t want to have to focus all your attention all day on not falling. If you really have to have a heel, you could try a shoe with a wide sole like a wedge. But honestly, I suggest you embrace the beachy vibe and go for flat sandals! There are lots of dressy options now:

Flats are the best way to go

Guiseppe Zanotti – just beautiful, and in buttery soft leather

Rampage

Rampage – the jeweled flower on the toe is so cute!

Stuart Weitzman - gorgeous jewel detail, click to see larger

Stuart Weitzman – minimalistic glamour with just 2 tiny jewels and a snake chain

Office (UK)

Office (UK) – your shoe could be your something blue!

Colin Stuart

Colin Stuart – perfect for bridesmaids too

Nine West

Nine West – wear with your wedding gown now and all summer!

3. Lawn or Garden Wedding – Let’s say the weather has been super rainy (not a far stretch of the imagination if you’ve been on the east coast the last few weeks), but just as you’re beginning to panic, the forecaster says it will all end right before your wedding is scheduled, phew! – the clouds part and the sun shines beautifully down just in time. But when you get to the botanical garden you reserved years in advance, you find that all that rain left a lot of mud that couldn’t possibly dry out fast enough! No problem, right? Right! Because you read this blog and you were prepared ;).

Ok, if mud is a possibility (and it probably will be in any garden or lawn location), thin stiletto heels could sink or get stuck and cause you to fall. But, you can avoid all that trouble by choosing a wide heel like a wedge (I’ve got some great picks for you below). Also, if you hate having your wet toes slide around after coming in contact with dewy grass (it’s one of my silly pet peeves) or if there’s a possibility for loose rocks to get into your shoes, you may also want a platform front style to keep those tootsies out of the danger zone. Last, don’t forget about the possibility of grass or mud stains (especially if you’re trying out your footwear during the rehearsal) – it’s a great impetus to try a metallic or colored shoe!

Jill Stuart

Jill Stuart – sweet wedges for a fairy tale wedding

matiko - nude shoes look great with white dresses

Matiko – nude shoes look great with white dresses

Alexandra Anouket - yes, you can do suede in the summer, when it's like this!

Alexandra Anouket – a delicate shade of summer suede

Nine West - classic, elegant and on sale for $30 as of 8/1!!

Nine West – classic and elegant

Oh! Deer - the delicate scalloping offset the chunky wedge heel

Oh Deer! – light scalloping offsets the chunky wedge heel

Mark Fisher - amazing with a yellow sunflower or tulip bouquet

Mark Fisher – these platforms would look amazing with a yellow bouquet

Unfortunately, I’ve found that most wedges are designed as casual shoes (who knows why!), so if you can’t find a pair that work for you, try searching for a chunky heel instead – the wider the base of the heel (where it touches the ground), the less likely it’ll sink in wet soil. But, if you’ve already found your dream shoe and they happen to be a stiletto, don’t worry! SoleMates could be your solution. I got a pair at a wedding expo in NYC last year and they’re pretty fantastic. Basically, the SoleMates High Heeler (in black and clear) slides onto most thin heels to make the base of the heel wider (and as above, that’s key for not sinking). They also don’t damage your heels at all and are totally reusable so, besides maneuvering muddy obstacles, you may find yourself using them all the time to walk fearlessly over sidewalk grates and cracks too.

expert sand walkers only

Christian Louboutin – totally risk worthy

L.A.M.B - muted enough to not steal the spotlight... unless you want them too

L.A.M.B – muted enough to not steal the spotlight… unless you want them too

Pollini - I did python with my creamy vintage dress last summer

Pollini – I did python with my creamy vintage dress last summer

Cole Haan Air -

Cole Haan Air – a romantic style for the traditionalists

A Few Words on Color – If you’ve read my other wedding blogs and as you can see from above, I am not a traditionalist that believes you can only wear white shoes with your wedding dress. But, I admit there is something about the crispness of the color white and the heat of summer that just seem to match. Maybe it’s also because summer shoes are less solid, and their openness is both warranted for the heat and breaks up the color.

But, I will say quickly that there are some nice benefits to not going with white shoes. Since many of today’s wedding dresses have colored accents or, at the very least, silver or gold detailing, you can bring some of those colors to your shoes to compliment to your whole outfit. Also, cute metallic shoes (and colorful shoes in general) are much easier to find in a wide variety of styles than plain white shoes are (In my experience, pretty much all “bridal shoes” look the same). And, since most of my picks are not technically “wedding shoes,” the prices are often much lower!

The End! – For one last side note, remember that it’s all the better for you if you’re a last minute shopper (or a super early one), because starting in July and through August, all the summer shoes go on sale! Happy shopping!

This appears to be a fairly small recall, the shoes in question were sample shoes and only sold in sizes 7 and 9 (so if you bought a different size, don’t worry). There are two item numbers involved, item#SAMPCHSHOE and item #SAMPCDSHOE (those item numbers can be found on your original receipt from Nordstroms), but those two items include various styles and color by the brands Charles David and Charles by Charles David. (The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission did not mention if the items pictured on their website represented some or all of the variations but I’ve copied those pictures for you below).

Apparently some handmade heels were attached to those recalled shoes instead of the actual production heels which is the reason for their instability. Luckily, Nordstrom is offering full refunds for the recalled shoes! If you have additional questions or need Nordstrom contact info, please click here. And¬† if your stiletto heels broke but were not a part of this recall, here’s a semi-helpful but funny article about how to not snap your high heels in half.

Charles david recall 1 Charles david recall 2
Charles david recall 3 Charles david recall 4

swamisz logo

You may have already met in my previous blog on crazy new flip-flop styles, but now I’d like to formally introduce you to Swamisz! Founded in 2006 in Australia, Swamisz were previously sold only in the land down under, but they are now shipping all over the world from their fun website to the delight of toes everywhere! Swamisz sandals are unique because of their disconnected toe plug (imagine a mushroom shape) that keeps the shoe on your foot without your having to grip them actively with your toes; your feet can actually¬†relax while walking… and running at traffic lights, going down stairs, etc., things other flip-flops have problems with (yeah, personal experience talking here).

Swamisz are made with natural rubber (a renewable eco-friendly resource, of course) and their sandals are a lot sturdier than your basic rubber¬†flip-flops. Not only are the straps and toe plug made a little thicker, the Swamisz strap is extra reinforced at the bottom, so you don’t have to worry about these plugs pulling out while you’re walking (the fate of so many old flip-flops). All that and they’re seriously comfortable!

IMG_0884

The shoe bag! (reverse has brand name & logo)

IMG_0886

Note the extra reinforced bottom - love that unique slightly pointed shape too.

My Swamisz (above) arrived in¬†a standard brown shipping box, but inside the box, they were wrapped in a super cute (and hand-stenciled!) cotton shoe bag. A shoe bag coming with shoes that cost less than $300!!? I’m in heaven! (and, yes, a little ridiculously obsessed with shoe bags ). The tag booklet (printed on 100% recycled eco paper) was equally as cute, if not more so, so I have to share part of it below:

“Swamisz (swaa-meez) n. – 1. Designer footwear made with natural rubber and held securely on foot by distinctive toe plug and support strap. 2. Contemporary footwear; an evolution of design modeled on ancient Indian wooden shoes names ‘Paduka.’ Dating back over 5000 years.. ‘Padukas’ are said to be worn by the Gods. 3. Chosen footwear of India’s Swamis; respected, enlightened masters of self-realization* 4. Chosen footwear of those who know that mere ordinary flip-flops are “so passe.”

*wearing Swamisz may not lead to enlightenment…buy hey… at least you’re looking good.”

Swamisz colors 2

Now let’s¬†get to the important part, Swamisz retail for $35 plus shipping!!! And you were¬†getting worried, weren’t you ? They currently offers¬†soles in 11 different color for you to choose from, all with a black strap and black toe plug, except for their signature orange version which is solid orange. I chose the not too girly-girly purple color which is dark enough to go with any outfit but still bright enough to be fun; but honestly, it took me hours to decide. You should also note that sizes are in AU (Australian) from 4-12 but their website does give you a nice size conversion chart complete with US, Canada, Euro, UK, Japanese¬†sizes and centimeters to compare your foot to. I’ve found that women wearing US sizes should generally order¬†one size down. If you wear a size 8, you’ll probably want to order a Swamisz size 7.¬†¬†Now get out there and start being a flip-flop free thinker!

As they say, “Swamis and Yoga masters don’t wear them for nothing.”

my kitty stopped scratching to sneak a peek at these shoes

Even my kitty had to stop mid-scratch to take a look!

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

plus sign alt

Elizabeth and James

Elizabeth and James 2009

equals sign

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. ūüėČ

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 ‚ÄúThe Avengers‚ÄĚ 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 think the title is enough for this blog ;), so let’s jump right in to the examples and the pictures! My first pick, and I had to give you two angles so you could really see what’s going on this the toes on these shoes, are the eco-friendly and ethical Dopie sandals by Terra Plana. The Dopie was designed with the idea of finding the most minimal footwear possible (the philosophy being that barefoot is best for the body but not always practical). You can actually even wear the shoes without¬†the strap!!¬†There are also TONS of colors, so don’t worry if green isn’t your thing.

In the second row¬†is a pair of sporty flip-flops, the Waimea H2 by Keen. You might need to take a second look at these shoes, they have a sole that turns up and attaches to an extended strap of the upper! I’ve spotted similar soles on running shoes and other shoes but never on flip-flops. I’m sure this sole makes these shoes great for dusty trails and hiking on pebbly paths, heck, even dirty New York sidewalks – and of course, protection against the dreaded stubbed toe! They also have a cute, eco-friendly version with a colorful upper of woven rice paper!

Next, I found a pair of Swamisz, which also come in tons of color combinations. These shoes are finally now available in the US (previously just in Australia), and like so many AU¬†brands that have come before them, Swamisz are sure to be a big hit! They claim that you do not even need to actively grip with your toes to keep these shoes on (often the main reason people don’t like thong sandals); the toe portion is made in such a way to naturally stay on your feet.¬† My pair¬†is on its way, so I’ll give you way more info as soon as I try them out!

Terra Plana Dopie Green 2 Terra Plana Dopie Green
Keen Waimea H2 Swanusz blue black

I have problems with so many flip-flops because some designers just don’t think about comfort when they’re choosing the material that goes between your toes! I can’t even count how many times a leather seam was positioned wrong and caused me crazy pain. That’s part of the reason why I love the gold Steve Madden flip-flops below; just two pieces of soft, stretch material crossed over the big toe.

But I can tell you that I’ve never had a problem with Havaianas, which have been around forever. This new version with a strap around the ankle is just different enough to really wow people. And the adjustable buckle is rare (and genius!) on a rubber shoe.¬†There’s a great¬†review here about¬†the Havaianas below from Tasha Nita Adams’ (L.A. style expert) experience. And last, I’ve found a wacky pair of daytime thong sandals¬†with a fuzzy insole (oh Uggs, you’ll put shearling on anything). I’m not too sure about taking these to the beach or the pool, but for daily flip-flops, they should be pretty cozy. Next to the Uggs are a pair of foot-hugging monkey thongs that are just plain fun (and float as a bonus)! Sugar brand shoes are always creative.

Steve Madden Showoff Havaianas Fit 2
Ugg Fluffie flip flop Sugar Go Ape thongs

Last of all, even though they’re not flip-flops, I wanted to include the two shoes below because they are crazy – so we’re still half topical. ūüėČ The very noticeable Vibram FiveFingers shoes below¬†are the only outdoor shoes I know of that don’t clump your toes together in one space with the rest of your foot. The sole of the shoe actually covers the bottom of where each toe sits individually. Vibram claims that separating your toes creates improves balance, overall foot health & posture. These toe-tastic shoes even come in 3 other varieties that work for you in different ways based on the activities you plan on doing in them – such as running, yoga, boating, martial arts, surfing, climbing, travel, etc. Don’t worry if you don’t do any of those activities though (it’s not stopping me anyway), do you only wear sneakers for sporty activities, even if that’s what they’re technically designed for? P.S. FiveFingers are vegan friendly too!

In the same train of thought, I found these split toe Air Rift shoes by totally mainstream brand Nike (shaped like traditional Japanese tabi socks). It’s a little hard to see below (since almost everyone is sold out – I suggest eBay if you want a pair), but if you click on the shoes below, you can get a nice multi-view from¬†Zappos¬†including the bottom of the sole. Nike says the design was “inspired by barefoot runners of Kenya.”

I guess the message is, whether in flip flops or whatever, Neglect your toes no longer!

Vibram FiveFingers Classic Nike Air Rift

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