The Secret Is Out: “Comfort” Shoe Brands Actually Make Cute Kicks

Thanks, New York Times, for outing one of my top fashion secrets—”comfort” shoe brands like Aerosoles and Naturalizer. (OK, to be fair, if this is a NYT story, then it’s not like they were a secret to begin with.) These companies have, in the past, had the rep for being the shoes your mom and grandmother wore: austere suede and leather things with obvious added comfort soles. Basically, at one point, they were what you might think of as fancied-up orthopedic shoes. But slowly, these brands have been changing their tune, and adding hipper styles to the mix. Now you might walk into one of these stores to find super comfy versions of trends like motorcycle boots, lace-up wedges, and the like.
As the Times points out, young, fashionable women loyal to these brands aren’t quick to admit it: “Still, if you ask a younger woman wearing comfort shoes who makes her shoes, she will often respond sheepishly.” Which was part of the genius of being an Easy Spirit wearer. You’d puzzle others when they asked about your shoes, or you’d catch them totally off guard, and they’d be surprised and awed by your choice. The good thing is that most of these labels aren’t looking for some flashy makeover, and want to stay true to their original mission of comfortable shoes. The CEO of Aerosoles tells the paper, “Are we a high-fashion brand? No. Are we fashionable? Every day of the week.” So now you know. [New York Times]