Shoes

Margaux Demi Flat

I’ve kept at least one pair of ballet flats in my shoe collection since I was in high school. However, it’s taken me quite some time to find what I would consider the perfect pair. I’ve come across two styles that meet my expectations, but today we’ll focus on the second of my discoveries, the Margaux Demi flat. (The other style, the Havana flat by Blue Velvet Shoes, isn’t available to ship to the U.S.)

I’ve never had a more glamorous shoe shopping experience than the one I had at the Margaux showroom in 2017. The business was located at 37 W 20th St. back then, and I’d made a special trip into the city for the occasion. (They’ve since moved to 387 Bleecker St.) Before the pandemic, I’d make up any excuse to be out and about in Manhattan. The building on W 20th was a high-rise with multiple business suites, and Margaux lived in number 1206. The plain, white hallway gave no indication of the beautiful decor beyond the door. The soft grey walls, the picket-fence-white shelving, the circular table that reminded me of a tree, the plush seating…all of this was surpassed by the sales associate who made sure I was trying on the proper size. Before departing the studio, I placed an order for two pairs of the Demi: one in black and another in navy/black. Having my shopping sent to me felt luxurious, like an experience from an era long gone.

When my Demi flats arrived, I put them to work right away. My two original pairs have since been put out of commission; they’re sitting in my closet awaiting new insoles. I recently purchased the style in platinum. In fact, I’m wearing them as I write this. They look pretty in the light of my desk lamp. Not only does the style’s low vamp accommodate my high instep, but the insole is comfortable and cloud-like. It has a little bit of a heel (not including the inside padding, I measured about a half inch). The grosgrain drawstring that is mean to be tied in a bow on top of the vamp isn’t just for show; it also functions. A feat of engineering indeed!

Works Sighted

Margaux Demi flats (platinum); Brooks Brothers Red Fleece skirt (old)

Slides vs. Flip-Flops

I’ve spent an unbelievable amount of time shopping for footwear to wear around the house; I needed something backless that didn’t require any effort to put on or remove. Prior to the current state of things, I would change into flip-flops at the end of every workday. I’d wear them from the time I returned home until the time I went to bed. In the fourteen years that I’ve worn them in this fashion, the style has never caused me any issues. Things started to go downhill this year once quarantining became a reality. After assuming my new role as a homebody, I began to wear flip-flops more often.

When considering a shoe to wear indoors, I know now that flip-flops aren’t the answer. I speak from experience when I say that wearing flip-flops constantly over a long period of time will cause damage to your feet. Thank goodness I was able to reverse mine. Heed this warning: you may not be so lucky.  

In my quest to discover why flip-flops are so damaging, I came across the website of a leading New York podiatrist named Dr. Miguel Cunha. His practice, Gotham Footcare, has two locations: one on 5th Ave and another on Broadway. Not only has Dr. Cunha lent his knowledge to outlets like Health magazine, PopSugar, and Refinery29, but he also writes blog posts to benefit the general public.

The three most important points that I’ve extracted from his writings concerning the topic of this post are as follows: 1) you should have a pair of indoor shoes 2) wearing flip-flops puts too much pressure on the forefoot and can lead to conditions like hammertoe 3) slides tend to cover a generous portion of the forefoot, which may keep unwanted conditions at bay (provided that you don’t wear them excessively). After months of searching for shoes to wear indoors, I’ve ended up with a pair of gold mules from J.McLaughlin and a pair of slide sandals from J.Crew (the Cyprus sandal in roasted pecan).

As you can see, I’ve worn my mules outside for photo-taking purposes. I wiped the soles down later for the sake of cleanliness. Although I love how they shine in the sunlight, I don’t wear backless shoes outside unless I’m leaving the nail salon or going through airport security. They’re not appropriate to wear whilst actively working towards my daily Fitbit goal.

Works Sighted

J.McLaughlin mule (no longer available); Spanx Perfect Black Pant, Ankle Backseam Skinny

Everything You Need to Know About the Superga 2790 Acotw

If you haven’t read the preceding post on the Superga 2750 Cotu Classic, have a look at it before diving into this one. Unless you’re a Spice Girl, I recommend getting acclimated to the Superga 2750 before acquiring the Superga 2790. In the preceding article, I discuss the comfort of the 2750’s 1-inch, vulcanized sole, which cushions the impact the wearer receives while walking. The sole of the 2790 is half an inch higher than that of the 2750, and, although you may not think a half inch would be significant, traversing the pavement in the 2790 is equivalent to walking on air. I am especially grateful for them when I am on my feet all day.

That being said, there’s one caveat. While the 2790 is exceptionally comfortable, I can’t wear them every day like the 2750. I tried wearing them every day for three weeks in 2018 whilst hopping around the U.K. My feet hurt after a week, and I had to buy a new pair of sneakers without a platform. However, let it be known that I was probably averaging 30,000 steps a day during this period—far more than usual. I’m still wearing my first pair of 2790s, which I purchase in September of 2018. The heels are a little worn down, but I haven’t replaced them yet. In contrast, I wear down several pairs of 2750s each year.

Originally, I ordered the 2790 in white, black, and navy. The white version looked like boats, and I decided against them. When it came down to choosing between the navy or the black, I gravitated towards the navy pair. I wondered if it made sense to own both the 2790 and the 2750 in the same color. Then, I came to my senses. You can never have too much navy.

Like the 2750, the 2790 is extremely versatile. I wear this style with skirts and dresses in lieu of heels. They also look amazing with skinny pants. I’ll now reiterate some points from my Superga 2750 post that also apply to this one. It is important to lace and tie these shoes during the fitting process. Your size in the 2790 and 2750 will probably be the same; this is true for me. They don’t have arch support, but the comfortable sole is fair compensation. You’ll have to break them in, but the process isn’t terrible. Don’t attempt to meet your 15,000-step Fitbit goal in these shoes during the break-in period. If you buy them in white, you may clean them in the manner descried in the preceding post. I wear Bombas socks with these too. Lastly, the 2790 is the most affordable platform sneaker of quality that I’ve found. I’m not paying $200 for a sneaker that can’t be resoled.

Works Sighted

Superga 2790 Acotw (Navy)

Everything You Need to Know About the Superga 2750 Cotu Classic

I bought my first pair of Superga sneakers six years ago in Firenze. We were walking by the Palazzo Pitti when I noticed a Superga sale sign in front of a shop by the name of Sportando. I’d tried on a pair in the past but had decided then that I was in between a size 39 and a size 40. Since the canvas sneaker didn’t come in a 39.5, I’d resolved that it wasn’t meant for me. Superga was born in Italy, and the opportunity to acquire a pair whilst in Firenze was too appealing to pass up. I left Sportando with a pair of the 2750 Cotu Classics in navy, and I’ve been wearing that style constantly for the last six years. Although I’ve owned them in black and white, I always have a navy (or blue graphite) pair on hand.

I’m not sure what happened the first time I tried them on, but I discovered that a size 39 fit me perfectly at my second fitting. According to the size chart, a 39 in European sizes is equivalent to a U.S. women’s size 8. I wear a U.S. 8.5 or 9 in shoes depending on the brand/type. To ensure the best fit, I highly recommend trying on two sizes. This may sound like a hassle if you are ordering online rather than trying on in store, but these shoes are worth the effort. I order most of my shoes from Zappos because shipping and returns are fast and free. When you are trying on your Supergas, you’ll want to lace them up properly and tie them too. The vulcanized rubber sole is heavy, and the shoes will not stay on your feet if you skip this step.

If you have any doubts as to whether this sneaker is for you after trying them on, I’d like to encourage you to sleep on it. Try them on again the next day. Walk around in your house a bit. The thick, vulcanized sole is the best part of the shoe. Vulcanization is the process by which the rubber is hardened. Thanks to this process, the 1-inch sole acts as a cushion and absorbs the impact from the pavement. I don’t think this information appears in any official writing; I know from experience. The 2750 Cotu Classic withstands a beating on old Italian streets like no other sneaker. I never leave the country without a pair. In fact, the one time I swapped this style for the 2790 Acotw, I regretted my decision not to bring both styles. The 2750 Cotu Classic is essential.

If I buy a pair right before a trip, I spend about a week breaking them in prior to taking off. You will need to break them in, but the process isn’t terrible. However, I don’t recommend trying to meet your 15,000-step Fitbit goal in these shoes during the break-in period. I know it is time to replace my sneakers when the heel has been run over with wear. I replace my navy pair approximately every 2-3 months. After they’ve expired, they become very uncomfortable to wear.

If you are wondering if these sneakers provide arch support, they don’t, but I find that the shock-absorbing sole is fair compensation. I don’t require a high level of arch support in general, so I wouldn’t be able to predict how comfortable these would be for someone who does. Also, I suspect that there wouldn’t be enough room to place an insole inside. They are cut a bit low on the ankle, and I couldn’t imagine wearing an insole on top of the already-cushioned sole anyway.

Now to cover the topic of cleaning. I don’t usually clean my Supergas. I might rub the sides of the cream-colored sole with a disinfecting wipe if I’ve worn them in the rain. However, the white pair is a different story. I don’t recommend submerging your sneakers in water and neither does Superga. The following are the official cleaning instructions to follow if you choose to use a washing machine: While we do not recommend washing your Superga shoes, you may be able to wash our Cotu styles. The best way to wash our Cotu shoes is in a pillow case, cool wash and powder detergent (not liquid), leave laces on so you don’t lose the shape of the shoe and hang to dry naturally, not on a radiator.

You won’t find me putting my sneakers in the washer; I clean mine with a firm toothbrush and a small cup of Tide (in liquid form) over the bathroom sink. I wet the toothbrush, dip it in Tide, and scrub the outer surface of the shoe. I rinse the brush clean and swipe it in a downward motion on the canvas to remove the detergent. Being careful not to get the inside of the sneaker soaking wet, I also hold the shoe upside down under the faucet to aid in the rinsing process. Placing washcloths inside the sneaker may be helpful, as is holding it with your hand inside for stabilization purposes. If you choose to wash your sneakers in my preferred manner, remove the laces before you begin. Wash them by hand in the bathroom sink and hang to dry.

It goes without saying that Superga sneakers are extremely versatile if you purchase a versatile color. I’ve even worn the navy pair with dresses to holiday parties. More often than not, I wear them with Bombas no-show socks (no other socks will do). Sometimes I wear them without socks, but I try not to make it a habit. I often wear them with tights in cooler weather. Supergas are truly a year-round staple.

Works Sighted

Superga 2750 Cotu Classic White; Boden skirt (old)

Espadrilles and Rattan Clutches

Espadrilles are my favorite spring/summer shoe. The sturdy jute wedge, textured canvas, and luxurious grosgrain ties had me at hello. During the summer of 2016, I wore a pair every day of the work week, and I remember how desponded I was when the time came to tuck them away in the closet at the end of the season. Back when we could enjoy social occasions like brunch, date nights at the movies, or vacations in general, my espadrilles were frequently cast as stars in my outfits. I’m not sure how I made it this far without an appropriate summer clutch to pair with them. This season, I made it my mission to find two clutches, either in rattan or straw, that would compliment my espadrille collection: one that would pair well with my dark espadrilles and one that would suit the lighter pairs. I decided on one style of clutch in two different colors. They are proving themselves very versatile, and the optional chain renders them exceptionally functional.

Works Sighted

J.Crew rattan clutch with chain strap; Castañer Carina 60mm Wedge Espadrille; Brooks Brothers skirt (old)