Finding a “comfortable” shoe has always proved to be a challenge. I’ve attempted cloth slip-ons, only to find that they make me feel like I’m walking directly on the earth. Cushy, cloudlike soles have the opposite effect: They make the experience of walking on normal city streets feel like traversing a bouncy castle.
I’ve known about Danskos for quite some time — they (along with their Italian counterpart, Calzuros) are the gold standard for comfortable shoes, widely endorsed by Vocational Standers: nurses and waiters. They’re firm (a positive —I believe, like with mattresses, the older you are, the firmer the shoe you should wear), roomy, and offer ample arch support. There was just one problem: I was not willing to commit to becoming a clog person. Perhaps it’s their aggressively orthotic silhouette. Or the the hard phonetic C and guttural G: klahhg. Who’s to say? Luckily, while scrolling through the Dansko site, I discovered something wonderful: The brand makes lace-ups. More specifically: It makes what is possibly the most neutral-looking lace-up I’ve ever seen in my life.
The appearance of these lace-ups is so mild, so inoffensive, they’re almost like shoe tofu — they have the ability to take on the style of whatever you wear them with (I will say that the derby top and the sporty sole does have a certain Prada energy). More important: Because of the hefty, cloglike sole, they absorb impact easily without making you feel like you’re squishing around when you’re walking in them. You could be standing on marbles and be none the wiser.
The best part, though, is the height of the toe, something I previously never even knew I wanted in a shoe. Generally, shoes come to a sort of tight, sloping, almond-shaped point in the front, which jams your toes miserably together. These lace-ups, conversely, are spacious in the front, which allows you to wiggle your toes around as if you’re barefoot.
My first day wearing them in public, I paired them with a baggy blazer and cuffed jeans. The look felt almost Old Celine; the feel was deeply comfortable. I showed them to my co-worker and asked if they were ugly. She responded with the highest compliment a person can receive in 2019: “They’re fashion ugly.” Success.
And Another Pair of Strategist-Approved Oxfords, Courtesy of Columnist Chris Black
Almost every time he wears these Dr. Martens 1461 Mono derbys, people think they are Pradas, says our resident cool guy, Chris Black. Which is not why he bought them initially. “I chose these,” he says, “because they are far more subtle than a lot of other Dr. Martens shoes that feature yellow stitching and the brand’s logo (details that, to me, make Docs too quickly identifiable). The Mono derbys have neither of those things; instead, they’re far more subtle, combining muted, tonal stitching and the classic three-eye upper of most derbys.”
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