Thursday, April 1, 2010


In a move that will - I'm sure - utterly shock you, I think I'm falling in love.

Those are Spring Step "Juniper", and I am in love (well, maybe just lust).

Last night as I was browsing Zappos - which is when I stumbled upon these - I was also thinking about my shoe shopping policy/philosophy in general. It's something I've been doing so long that it has become automatic for me. I've become very efficient at skimming past pairs which don't meet my criteria, and have honed my ability to zero in on ones which do. It makes shoe shopping - whether online or in person - go a lot more quickly, which makes it more fun :-)

I have a few general criteria when it comes to shoes. Some things are non-negotiable; some I will deviate from if a situation really calls for it. But I almost always:

1)Buy leather. I don't like wearing fossil fuels on my feet, and I also appreciate the durability and break-in-ability of leather.

2)Buy comfort. I have a few brands I go to first - Born, Keen, Sofft, Privo, Ariat - which offer shoes that are comfortable but not old ladyish. In my experience, comfort brands tend to be more well-made, and their shoes have much better arch support - with my high arches, it's a must!

3)No heels over 2 1/2". Well, sometimes 3". But only if the shoe is otherwise fantastic, and if I know I can walk in them. I'm short - only 5'2" - and that doesn't bother me. I embrace it. So I don't try to hide my (lack of) height behind tall shoes.

4)Speaking of heels - heels must be stable. This is another one that I'll make very few exceptions to. The sidewalks of downtown St. Louis are *rough* and I'm not a fan of bringing two pairs of shoes to work - I'm a one pair a day kinda girl. So I've gotta be able to walk in the ones I'm wearing! This usually means wedges or wider heels, or at least ones that aren't wobbly.

5)Versatility. Few things make me sadder than a gorgeous pair of shoes that only have limited wearability. So whenever I shop, I try to think of ten possible outfits - off the top of my head (no riffling through the closet!) - that would work with a shoe. If I can think of ten, I get them because I know I'll be able to wear them with a variety of outfits and styles. If I can't, I'll usually put them away. An example of some of my most versatile shoes are my black 704b boots which I've worn like this, this, this, and this. And that was just in the past month! I also have a pair of black patent Privo Arbors (they've not yet made it onto the blog - it's just getting warm enough for sandals here!) which are similarly versatile - they're sporty enough that I can wear them with jeans and casual outfits, but the patent leather and narrow straps make them dressy enough for work (well, my work anyway). That's the type of thing I try to keep in mind when I shop. Since my workplace is pretty casual and I tend to dress up a bit everday, most of my shoes are right on that dressy/casual border - which also makes them more versatile!

6)Cuteness. That one's pretty self-explanatory isn't it?

Of course, there's always the exception that makes the rule, right? I have a pair of baby blue Anne Klein Lola's that I love more than words - they're my favorite wedding/going out/fancytimes shoes. And what are they? 3 1/2" high, uncomfortable, spindly heeled devilshoes. AND I LOVE THEM. And that's OK.

.... the Junipers meet my criteria?

1)Yup! Zappos says they have a "burnished leather upper".

2)Definitely. I'm not familiar with this brand, but I did some research and everything out there seems to be good - great comfort and support.


4)Not really applicable, since these are flats. But they look stable enough.

5)This one is a bit trickier. My reasoning can become clouded by the shoe fumes (yes, shoe fumes travel through teh intartubes!). But I think these have a lot of potential. They're sort of earthy-vintage, so I'd wear them with my jeanskirts, with jeans, some of my fuller cotton or linen skirts, and then button-down tops (like my Benetton one!) or simple tees and cardis. I'm about 90% sure I can work with these :-)

6)So subjective, I know. But - yes!

I may go to Marshall's and TJ Maxx this weekend and see if anything else catches my eye, but I think that these babies may be finding their way to my front porch soon :-)

Do you have shoe shopping guidelines or rules? How strictly do you self-enforce them?


Alissa said...

My rules for shoes:
1. Must be cute. (that's subjective to the individual)
2. If they are over 3", they must be well-made, otherwise they are impossible to walk in.
3. Must be able to think of 1 outfit to wear them with.

I'm not a fan of "comfort" shoes, but being in the corporate world, I can't really wear anything other than heels, peep toes or flats. In my casual life, I stick to ballet flats, flip flops and wedges.

Diana said...

Those shoes are gorgeous! I think my shoe-buying criteria is almost exactly the same as yours.

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