There are three kinds of shoes in this world. There are uncomfortable shoes — shoes that pinch, chafe, draw blood. There are shoes that feel like nothing. And there are shoes that are conspicuously and pleasurably comfortable — shoes that feel better than barefoot, better than treading across a balmy beach or over a cool marble floor. Shoes that you don’t want to take off at the end of the day.
“Shoes that you don’t want to take off at the end of the day” happens to be the slogan of SAS, a company based in San Antonio that manufactures a range of sensible no-fuss footwear with an aesthetic that I can only describe as “afashionable” (absent of fashion). But fashion is not the point of SAS. The point of SAS is Hippocratic: “First, do no foot-related harm.”
The eternal problem of footwear, of course, is that comfortable footwear tends not to correlate with attractive footwear. Browse the SAS website and you’ll see what I mean. To paraphrase Meat Loaf, “I would do anything for [podiatric satisfaction], but I won’t do that.”
Here’s what I will do: wear shoes that were manufactured by SAS, but conceived by a former Opening Ceremony designer with an eye for elegant simplicity, then beautifully styled and sold for $195 to $285 on a website that I do not have to leave my desk to visit.
This is the concept behind Hopp, founded by Eree Kim last year in Brooklyn. I own two pairs of Hopp shoes: a melon-hued mule and a three-strap patent sandal. They both weigh nothing and have arch support. The mule features a collar that prevents ankle-chafing, and it doesn’t make a “thwacking” noise when I walk, unlike every other mule. The sandal could pass for Jil Sander. I wear them on four-mile walks without a problem. They are made in the U.S., too. (Editor’s Note: Hopp no longer makes Molly’s three-strap patent sandal, but they have a very similar two-strap version.)
On a recent Monday, a co-worker asked me what percentage of my shoes were comfortable.
“100 percent,” I told him. “What’s your percentage?”
“Zero,” he admitted. On his feet was a pair of fur-lined Gucci slides. They looked like the perfect shoe for someone who never sweats or moves.
My melon mules, on the other hand, were not only cute but aerated. Bouncy, almost. Goldilocks would love them: Like the perfect mattress, Hopps are not too firm and not too soft, and they are perfectly suited to hiking miles through a bear-infested forest. (I assume.)