They DO Exist!

No, not aliens, not Samsquantch… cute, stylish, funky orthopedic shoes!!

Regular readers will remember my post of about a month ago in which I bemoaned the lack of cute shoes, whined about ugly puffy sneakers and theorized that my chiropodist was out to get me. Thanks to my good pal Erika, and some folks on the Toronto LiveJournal community, not to mention a whole string of drug shoe mules who are currently at work transporting my beautiful boots from Buffalo to Toronto, my feet are happy, healthy and clad in some sweeeeet looking stylz.

Finding stuff I liked was not easy. The internet was incredibly useful, but shoes don’t look the same in photos online as they do in real life. I had picked out some Naots styles that I liked and then headed up to Prairie Dog, the Naots store in Toronto, to try them on. The shoes I liked online were not to my liking in person, while the Seashell Mary Janes I didn’t care for so much in photos were gorgeous when I saw them up close. They’re pink inside! With pink stitching! I literally hugged these the whole way home. I’m afraid to wear them for fear of having them get scuffed.

The boots I had planned on buying were less impressive to me irl, and my heart was stolen by the Oysters. I tried to talk myself out of them for a couple of reasons; first, Erika has a pair and wouldn’t we look dumb going places together wearing the same boots? But also, the Oysters are an older style, and the store didn’t have them in black in my size. Two shades of red, green, beige or mushroom, but not black. But I needed them – bad. Thus began a wild goose chase that required me to order them from a shop in the US. That store doesn’t ship to Canada, so I had them sent to a beer geek buddy of Greg’s in Buffalo. Another friend will pick them up this weekend when he’s there for a visit and bring them back. I feel like a mother anxiously waiting to be reunited with her children.

A word about the Naots – they’re not cheap. These shoes are handmade in Israel and have a cork footbed similar to Birkenstocks. If you’ve only got minor foot concerns, the footbed they come with will conform to the shape of the foot. For those of us with our own crazy $500 plastic inserts, the footbed is removable, while still providing decent support, cushioning and shock absorption. These shoes average around $150 – $200, but these are serious shoes. The majority of the line is sandals and clogs, but the collection of boots, mary janes, oxfords, etc., are definitely worth looking at if you want something funky and unique.

For walking shoes I headed to Walking On a Cloud, a chain of speciality footwear stores in the GTA. It was there that I found all of the styles of the ugly puffy sneakers from the running store I was sent to originally – at prices about 50% less. Which made me especially happy I didn’t succumb to the running store clerk’s verbal abuse and hand over $140 for the ugliest shoes ever. Because getting ripped off and insulted would have put me over the edge.

At WOAC, I found a pair of Rockport Viviana walking shoes that made me especially happy (again, I totally overlooked these when looking online). With a fairly delicate cut and some nice detailing, these were nothing at all like the “pillow wrapped in garbage bags” type shoes I was expecting to get stuck with. They’re super comfortable and the orthotics fit quite nicely.

Since I’ve been getting piles of hits to my other post about trying to find cute orthotic shoes, here are a few more links to online shops where I did see some stuff I liked. If you found this post while looking for some version of “cute orthopedic shoes”, I send you plenty of good wishes in finding a pair that you love. Please do make an effort to try them on before buying though, as those orthotic inserts can be tricky, and buying things that need to fit properly on the internet can be risky.

FootSmart – online shop specializing in orthotics and hard to fit sizes, based in Georgia, USA
Healthy Feet Store – online shop specializing in orthotics, more fashion style – based in California – ship only to USA
Walking on a Cloud – Specialty shoe store with both an online shop and locations across Ontario. Selection is better online, but you can order stuff online and have it shipped to the store of your choice to try on