Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Does Anybody Care About Making and Selling Beautiful, Comfortable Shoes? Heck YES!


Thierry Rabotin Gilbert black suede loafers from Hanig's Footwear Chicago
loafers - Thierry Rabotin

This is a shamelessly sponsored post! Yes, I was given a pair of shoes, which is a pretty sweet deal. But I hope that you know me well enough by now to know that if I didn't think that something was worth your time and effort, I wouldn't write about it - I'm not going to sell out and waste your time, and my good reputation...

Last week, I was invited to the Thierry Rabotin shoes trunk show at Hanig's Footwear. I've been buying shoes from Hanig's for... 25 years? maybe, and I've been buying Thierry Rabotin (1 pair every 6 months, VERY carefully chosen) since they began carrying them. So I just thought that they were inviting me because I'm an old, and pretty good, customer...

Heck no! They offered me a pair of CUSTOM SHOES, in exchange for a blog post. Honestly, I'd tell you about these guys anyway - they're really that good. Theirs was one of the first shoe stores that decided to focus exclusively on comfortable women's shoes - brands including my new friends Arche, Beautifeel, Cloud, L'amour des Pieds, Perlato...Their management saw the future of an older population that valued comfort, but that still insisted on style...

But THE TRUNK SHOW!!!! You could choose ANY style shoe made by Thierry Rabotin (and that's a LOT of styles...) and have the style made up, in their Milan-area factory, in any combination of leathers that they carry. The choices were sort of overwhelming...

shoes styles from the Hanig's Footwear Thierry Rabotin trunk show

For a long time, I was thinking about strappy flats - I've owned similar styles, and I knew that I could cook up some amazing color combination...

shoes styles from the Hanig's Footwear Thierry Rabotin trunk show

But I began to realize that something like oxfords might make sense... They have a lot of "moving parts" to customize...

shoes styles from the Hanig's Footwear Thierry Rabotin trunk show

In the end, I wasn't terribly adventurous - I bought oxfords in black suede, black calf and silver. I won't receive them until after the winter holidays - you'll get to see them, believe me!

If you don't want to customize a pair of really racy shoes, you could always turn to the classics that are always in stock, and make a small change to color or texture to make the shoes exclusively yours.

stock Thierry Rabotin shoes at Hanig's Footwear Chicago

And since I'm in the middle of this stupid Foot Crisis 2017 (copyright pending...) I got totally crazy and replaced my tassel loafers, which are now living on someone else's feet, somewhere in Paris. (I donated them to the Red Cross store). The loafers at the top of this post are what I bought - I'm pretty delighted!

So what can you take away from all of this?

  • The assurance that there are both manufacturers and retailers that still make and sell the best possible quality shoes, with a dual emphasis on comfort and style. Fast fashion has not completely taken over the world!
  • The comfort of knowing that you're not alone in struggling to find comfortable shoes; women from all over the US order shoes from Hanig's...
  • The "someday" dream of having a pair of shoes in exactly the color and style that you want. While the trunk show is ended, you can still work with the management staff at Hanig's to have a pair of shoes made to your specifications. It might be once in a lifetime, but it is a dream that can come true...
  • In a larger sense, the knowledge that there are still lots of people making creative and offbeat items of all sorts - we haven't all been smashed into an H&M, Ikea sort of homogeneity...
  • The delight in knowing that there are still places - IN THE UNITED STATES - where retail work is considered a profession, and where expert subject knowledge is prized.
  • Whenever someone complains about how much you spend on shoes, you can always say "But JANICE..."

love,
Janice

Does Anybody Care About Making and Selling Beautiful, Comfortable Shoes? Heck YES!
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30 comments:

  1. Dear Janice,
    Thank you from the sole of my heart! I've been craving getting out of my athletic shoes into something nicer that doesn't hurt my wide, tender feet for years. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
    Your Enthusiastic Reader

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  2. That style of loafers (the kind you bought) has a name, which I cannot remember and no amount of searching has triggered it. Do you know?
    Some of these examples are real works of art.

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    1. Belgian loafers. I believe...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  3. How refreshing that a company is listening and reacting by making glam stylish shoes that are a dream to wear too. The balls of my feet are calling out to them! Looking forward to seeing your new beauties, hugs, x.

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  4. I'm in. I'll be looking into buying a pair this year.

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  5. Those plum suede strappy flats in photo 2 are gorgeous!! But I have such wide feet and didn't see wide as an option :(

    Hey-I am missing your search feature. Been trying to find Back to TVF part 8- Vivienne's Valise part 2's first part before the accessories... I can't tell you how many times I've read that post. I love it even though i only wear dresses now. It's a lot harder to come up with mix and match outfits with only dresses and covers.

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  6. Thanks for the tip! I had not heard of this brand, but will be popping over the Hanig's to check it out. I have become pretty devoted to Traipse on Lincoln Ave. Love Cwywoq shoes and now have quite a collection. There is something magical about wearing well made shoes ๐Ÿ˜Š

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  7. Wonder if I need to plan a trip to Chicago just to look for shoes! Comfortable shoes are so difficult to find, much less attractive, comfortable shoes.

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    Replies
    1. Hey yeah! We could go out for tea...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  8. These are very beautiful shoes, all of them. They are beautiful because form and function are obviously both part of the equation. These are also not fashion shoes but shoes that are stylish forever!! We have a few great stores in Vancouver like Fluevog and Gravity Pope that only sell shoes for living.

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    1. Deb,
      Does Fluevog or Gravity Pope carry wider width shoes? I'm in search of new shoes for fall...

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  9. Wonderful shoes. But some women are on a narrower budget. Do not they deserve foot comfort and beautiful design as well? What is really needed are good-looking, healthful shoes in the well under $200.00 price range. Middle class women across America are suffering under the domination of worthless (in terms of foot health) dress and casual shoe companies that do not take the actual shape and size of women's feet into consideration when designing and selling shoes. This is not just an older woman's issue. Foot problems begin in youth, partly from bad shoes. But what is a woman to do when she hasn't got the discretionary income to afford shoes such as TR, even though she has a reasonably well-paying job? Not meant as a slam on anyone but more as a point of discussion.

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    1. I have two pairs of shoes from Taos, one that I bought at a resale shop and the other that I bought new (at a slight discount). They are both heels and I can wear both all day, walk around the city, dance all night, etc. In them. I have never had any heels like the before. The ones I bought new cost $129 -- I bought them as a Christmas present. I had never owned shoes anywhere near that price range before but figured that black heels go with almost anything and that they would be a good investment. So far I wear them at least twice a week, and they should last for years. I have very few shoes and it's worth it to me to spend that much -- I'd buy another set if they had oxblood in any heels right now! But on my budget I sure couldn't afford a closet full of them. But these are considerably less than $200 and for a staple show you can actually walk in.

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    2. And I want to add - my typical shoe budget is $40. Tops.

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    3. You're entirely right - I'm hopeful that this tendency will trickle down to all shoemakers, everywhere, at all price points. I'm fortunate to be able to buy these shoes, but I'm not unaware that they're very expensive. Thanks for keeping that in our minds - I appreciate it!
      hugs,
      Janice

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    4. Thanks, Janet and Gail. I love this blog, check in nearly every day and worried my comment might offend. I'll check out Taos. I have been thinking a lot about shoes lately because of simultaneous metatarsalgia in one foot and a swollen, severely bone-bruised toe that will take months to heal in the other. I've had to gradually replace all my shoes (except my battered old hiking boots) to accommodate the new reality.

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    5. NEVER worry about offending. If you're telling the truth and you're not being mean, you won't ever offend. This is a pretty open community for conversation and sharing, and I won't have it any other way!
      big Friday hugs
      Janice

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  10. Unfortunately almost none come in a wide width.

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    1. When are shoe makers going to realize the range of foot sizes in the world? Insanity...
      hugs,
      Janice

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  11. Janice, being only 5'2", I need HEIGHT! Would love recs for comfortable stylish shoes with at least a 2" heel! It took me trying on 15+ pairs of booties, but finally found Blondo Villa booties to be tourist comfortable. I am taking them to Europe today so will see how they perform.

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  12. Do you know if this maker allows for orthotics? I need to accommodate my high arch and that can be an issue. Love the designs and hope to be able to try them out

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    1. I would call the store and ask to talk to a manager - they're going to be much more expert in this area than I am!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  13. Jo B. Im in the same boat 5" I have found franco sarto to be the most comfortable heel at a reasonable price. They make great heels that work well with pants. DSW carries some so you can try them out locally. Everyone us different but the "last" in Italian shoes seems to worj better for me.

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  14. I was shoe shopping in Sydney yesterday, Thiery Robotin shoes are are around Us$350 to US$400 a pair, how does that compare.? Unfortunately they only come in a B fitting, my feet are much wider.

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    1. Similar priced - maybe you're actually seeing lower prices than I did. That's why I was only buying 2 pairs of shoes a year - it was beyond my budget at that level, but my feet are demanding!
      hugs,
      Janice

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  15. If only beautiful, comfortable shoes came in extra-wide widths....

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  17. I have always had difficulty getting stylish and comfortable shoes due to very long and wide feet. I have stumbled across two shoe manufacturers who are podiatrist and physiotherapists. Frankie4.com.au and bared.com.au. Both brands cater for extra wide feet as well as narrow feet and are orthotic friendly. I have two pairs of the ‘Nat’ sneakers from frankie4 and pounded the streets of London for 10 hours recently without any foot discomfort whatsoever. Well worth having a look at the shoes on offer.

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  18. I too am an old customer, and I love TRs but the price...! You can sometimes find new or almost new on eBay, and some stores have sales. One word of caution: a few TRs have •very• thin soles in styles like the classic "City". That makes them uncomfortable if you need more padding or want a thicker sole for the terrain, such as uneven streets. Also, the microfibre styles have only a thin layer so the toe pushes against only that fabric. They are slipper-like. I use mine in that style (which are light and easy to pack) as a second pair on a trip, or for evening. Other companies (Amalfi is one) have made very good "similar" styles.

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  19. Thanks for introducing me to a new shoe brand. Always on the lookout for comfortable stylish shoes.

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