For those of us who have worn too many stilettos and want high style yet comfortable shoes, a wide range of wedges, platforms — and depending on your legs — elegant tapered ballerina flats, can be great. But let’s explore the dynamic of why some brands are designed for comfortable elegance rather than solely fashion design-driven.
Let’s start at the top (read expensive) …
After observing how the first factory that produced shoes in the U.S. simply ruined people’s feet and studying anatomy at the University of California, Italian-born designer Salvatore Ferragamo swore he would only make comfortable footwear. He is considered the creator of the wedge, among other innovations.
Today his legacy includes extended size ranges (more lengths-widths for both men’s and women’s shoes than fashion shoe brands). And, his design codes today are still based not only on comfort, but also on timeless elegance, contrasts in precious luxury materials, artisanal handcrafted excellence and superior quality.
Taryn Rose – The Ultimate Luxury Is Comfort
Founder and former orthopedic surgeon-now-shoe designer Taryn Rose combines comfort, high performance, and exquisitely fashionable silhouettes. Design features focus on anatomy, with an altered foot bed that is built on an asymmetrical form, giving toes more wiggle-room, and streamlining the shoe. Mobility is increased and fatigue decreased by supporting ankles, knees, and hips.
For mid-priced comfort and great looks …
From cushioning, waterproofing and grip to exceptional lightness, softness, flexibility and breathability, Clarks sets the pace. Precisely placed and anatomically targeted dual density cushioning reduces strain on the ball of the foot, supporting the biomechanics of walking — the foot’s natural gait — and providing lasting comfort. Styling is contemporary, including sandals, day and evening styles plus boots that range from ankle height to over-the-knee.
Dansko — one of the most popular clog brands on the market — claims that wearers can walk five-to-six miles in them comfortably. And true to form, the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA) gave Dansko a “stamp of approval.”
Although some of the more fashionable designs have higher, chunkier heels, in metallic or pearlized leather or Mary Jane straps, it would still be a stretch to wear them with a designer dress to a fashionable event.
The distinction has to be made between professional clogs like Dansko and what podiatrists call “fashion clogs.” Dr. Johanna Youner of the APMA says, “they are cute, but your body is not meant to walk distances in that heel height. They’ll put your back out, hurt your feet … potentially create bunions or stress fractures. If heels are tight, you can create neuromas, or inflamed nerves. And you can literally shorten your Achilles tendon.” Ouch!
American Podiatric Medical Association – APMA.org
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