Sunday, June 12, 2011

Flat Foot Floogie

We've been noticing a bit of talk in the fashion media saying that flat shoes are coming back into style. Much as we really did love and admire and covet the shoes on stalactites that have been so popular for the last several seasons, we really couldn't wear them, what with our respective foot issues. So flat shoes can't come back fast enough for us. At first we thought this was an old lady issue, but we've been surprised at the number of women half our age who complain that high heels are painful and exacerbate their tender and sensitive feet.

The conventional wisdom is that shoes can't be flat and wonderful at the same time, so we thought we'd fly in the face of conventional wisdom and show you some of the flat shoes we wear and love. In the above two photos we're showing off two pairs of flats, although all you can really see is that irresistible pink aurora. (Valerie says: I foolishly dressed for the weather; Jean shrewdly dressed for glamor. By the time we took these photos it had stopped raining. Lesson learned.)

Some of Jean's Favorites

Among my favorite flats are my Alexander McQueen black patent leather cut-out high top sneakers by Puma. They came with a metal mountain lion talon on a chain, which I immediately incorporated into my charm necklace. (Take our word for it: Run, don't walk to the "Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty" exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum before it closes in early August. It is positively breathtaking.)

Leave it to Lee to make goth althetic footwear sexy. The orange and burnt-out red dot scarf is from Japanese designer Nuno. It was an incredible thrift shop find last winter. The McQueen logo appears discreetly at the tongue and heel of the shoe.

Bloggus Interruptus! I paused to download and size the McQueen pictures and when I returned to shoot my next pair of shoes, found that my spot was "occupado"! DeeDee had decided to take matters into her own hands and commandeer the set.

My Pataugas ankle-strapped, rubber-soled black leather flats are terrifically comfortable. The black and white striped socks are my homage to the Wicked Witch of the West. The crinkled scarf, designed by Yoshiaki Yuki, is from Gallery Gen. The shoes, which are made by a French sneaker company founded in 1950, were purchased at A Uno.

My Underground London brothel creepers from Trash and Vaudeville in the East Village are technically flats. Although they creeped Valerie out when I was trying them on in the store, they later elicited her "They're not as bad as I originally thought" sentiment. Background is a pea green Issey Miyake Fete skirt.

Among my flat boots, these Trippens are probably my favorite. Made in Germany, Trippens have a wide variety of soles -- all of them quite comfortable. Background is a geometric Issey Miyake Pleats Please skirt. (Valerie says: I love these too! I don't know anything about leatherwork, but I suspect they are a technical marvel. Have you ever seen leather twisted into shape like that?)

For the record, my customized Dansko clogs are high off the ground but actually have a relatively low instep. Red and black leopard scarf in the background is a street fair purchase from a couple years ago.

My flower bedizened black plastic BCBG Girls sandals are a chic beachwear alternative to Crocs. Background is a rust colored Pleats Please skirt by Issey Miyake.

These Adidas stretch mesh slip-ons weigh nothing, and pack easily in a suitcase, so I take them with me on business trips to use as slippers and gym shoes and an emergency fill-in. They look vaguely oriental and work great with a long Miyake skirt for evening. Background is a leopard sarong purchased at the Southampton Surf Shop in 2002.

These Reebok Easy Tone trainers have the most amazing round mounds on the soles that cushion the heels and balls of the feet and the big toes. If I went to the gym, I'd wear these. (Note to file: the pristine condition of the shoes is a dead give-away that I don't actually go to the gym. Lack of appropriate footwear would no longer appear to be a viable excuse.)

Some of Valerie's Favorites

The soles of the shoes below are said to be made of shredded tires. The uppers are made of fragments of molas, appliqued textiles made by the Kuna Indians. This pair is fun because the left and right shoes are not mirror images of each other.

The red leather boots below (with the cool quilting at the top) are by Maud Frizon. They're harder to wear than I expected because the high legs are really made for miniskirts, not midiskirts, under which they bulge out in odd directions. I wear them with pants, and stuff the legs into the boots.

Sharp-eyed readers will look at the faux ostrich boots below and say 'Wait a minute, Valerie says she can't wear pointy toes!' Well, if they were strictly my size, no, but if I buy them a bit on the big side, the pointy toe becomes irrelevant. I can't do that with all shoes - some will fall off my foot. But shoe sizes are peculiar, just like dress sizes. You just have to find the maker that's right for you. These are by Two Lips.

The great and recently disbanded team of Sigerson Morrison made this pair of light gray flat boots below. This length is good for mid-calf skirts or dresses, but also goes well with pants.

And here's a pair of low flat gray boots to wear with pants.

I can't wear everything that Arche makes, but they are among the short list of vendors I can trust for both style and comfort. And they're well made, so they stand up to a lot of punishment.

I surprised myself when I counted four pairs of blue shoes and boots in my closet. This was unplanned, but I don't blame myself. They all have something that differentiates them from the others, they have different seasons and different clothes they should be worn with. Once I went literally five years without finding a blue shoe I liked (and I was actively searching), by which time the blue shoes I had were dead or dying, and I wound up buying one of the most expensive pairs I've ever paid for. I think all four of the shoes here cost less than that one pair. To be fair, that expensive pair gave me excellent service before it also went the way of all shoes.

Pollini boot. Actually, it's too narrow for me now, but it wasn't always, and I'd buy it again in a flash if they had it in my new improved foot size.

Wish I could tell you the manufacturer of this comfortable and slightly eccentric shoe. Manufacturers: make your logo intelligible!

I bought this Land's End shoe style on the advice of a friend with similar foot issues. If they still made this style, I'd buy it in other colors.

I suspected these shoes would cause me trouble because their soles are so thin, but they've been great. They were well priced and have a lot of interesting little focal points.

This pair is now too short for me, but long after my neuromas began to trouble me I was able to continue wearing them. The style fascinated me because the color goes from pale to dark as your eye moves from back to front. The label says "Attica".

The shoes below, red velvet Pradas, are sort of exceptions to the rule because they're platforms. But, as Jean did above, I count them because they're flat. Full disclosure: I haven't worn them yet. Too much information: having just recovered from a broken wrist, I'd probably have to be nuts to wear them now. Maybe I'll wear them someplace where I'm completely immobile.

People who remember the original Frye boots will remember that they were characterized by a really strong, thick leather sole, and chunky leather heel. Frye has modernized by making a flexible sole and flat heel.

This designer took the snake theme that starts on the instep and continued it by making the strap coil around the ankle. These are made by Inspirit.

A Little About Today's Actually Very Naughty Title

Jean says: Greetings from your favorite latter-day Jazz Babies! When Valerie and I discussed a posting about flat shoes and I suggested calling it "Flat Foot Floozie", she thought the song title was "Floogie". Amazingly, we were both right: The 1938 jazz song was written and first performed by Slim Gaillard as "Flat Foot Floozie (with a Floy Floy)" but was changed to "Floogie" to allow the song to be played on the radio. But, wait, Kiddies, it gets even better! Apparently, the floy floy is, um, a euphemism for STD, and we don't mean Short Term Disability. Who knew such an innocent-sounding blog title could be so racy?

Here's Benny Goodman doing his version of Flat Foot Floogie:

Here are the complete lyrics:

Oh, the flat foot floogie with a floy, floy,
Flat foot floogie with a floy, floy,
Flat foot floogie with a floy, floy,
Floy doy, floy doy, floy doy.

Yeah, yeah yeah, byah, oh, baby!
Yeah, byah, byah, oh, baby!
Yeah, byah, byah, oh, baby!
Yeah, byah, byah!

Whenever your cares are chronic,
Just tell the world, "go hang,"
You'll find a greater tonic,
If you go on swingin' with the gang!

Flat foot floogie with a floy, floy,
Flat foot floogie with a floy, floy,
Floy, floy, floy, yeah!
Send me on out there!

Whenever your cares are chronic,
Just tell the world, "go hang,"
You'll find a greater tonic,
If you go on stumblin' with the gang!
Hey, hey, hey, yes, yes!

And just for the record, neither of us is old enough to remember this from when it first came out.


  1. If I had those blue boots I'd build a whole wardrobe around them.

  2. I have my own foot issues (size 10 and bunions) so I know how important it is to have comfortable flats that are also stylish (a difficult thing to find here in Ontario, Canada). I would definitely wear the Alexander McQueen high tops and those snake sandals. I love it when other women are willing to share their shoe collection, it makes me feel less self-conscious about my own!