When I’m asked, as I often am: “What do you suggest as the best shoes for lots and lots of walking around Paris and, oh yes, I’d like them to have some style if you please(?),” I don’t really know what to say.
Let me admit up front, this is an area in which I am at a bit of a loss. I do quite a bit of walking around Paris, but probably not as much as those of you who come here on vacation and wish to cover a considerable amount of territory in a compressed amount of time.
I have all the time in the world to discover the city. That’s probably why I’m not au courant about the best shoe choices. I wear either my ballerina flats or moccasins. I love the look of derbies on other women, but find them rather masculine on me.
I might wear a simple Bensimon sneaker from time-to-time out here in the country, but I don’t like the feel of my bare feet inside sneakers, which is not to say I don’t like the look of those hyper trendy Converse high tops. I definitely do like the idea of them and think, to a certain degree, they’re ageless. I really don’t know if they are comfortable for hours of strolling around Paris.
Now that I have rambled on about what I don’t know, I turned to my pal, Duchesse, creator of the intelligent and beautifully written blog, Passage des Perles, with an abbreviated version of my quandary.
As you may recall, she was in Paris earlier this year and we spent a day together. Immediately I noticed her shoes and discovered she is quite the expert on the subject of fashion and function as it applies to footwear.
In her own words then, this is what she told me:
“Those particular brogues [the shoes she was wearing when we had lunch and did some shopping] were made for me by a tiny shoemaker in Toronto. However, when I recommend stylish walking shoes (or at least not ugly), I like Ecco and Arche. Both are well-made and have sole shock absorbtion and good arch support, which are essential for walking.
Arche nubucks are washable, which is a huge plus, and they come out beautifully — useful for a pale shoe. (Wash them in a sink or bucket with liquid detergent and water and dry on shoe trees.)
Though everyone needs shoes before they get to Paris, I always head to Paraboot — a particular look, not “pretty” shoes, but very cool, and last exceptionally well. But not for “lady” dressers.”
She then added that she found a “terrific shoe store in Paris where you can custom-order styles in leather (and other details like heel height and style) you want and they have to die for boots: Florence Koojiman, 4 rue St. Sulpice.”
She confided that she had a pair of sandals made there that have a heel she can wear all day, adding that the boutique offers “terrific service and quality for the price.”
I love it when a friend tells me about one of her Parisian secret shopping destinations. I plan on looking into a pair of kitten heels that “I can stand in all day,” or at least walk for short distances without falling down. . .
Barbara, see Monday’s post please, wrote to tell me she was bringing a pair of Clark’s lace-up shoes for walking in Paris. I found the patent derbies above and think they are snappy-stylish and adorable.
Please contribute to the conversation. What shoes have you found to be comfortable without being horribly ugly?