A seriously everyday look and new attitude on shoe-buying!
So, I wanted to start talking on this blog about my everyday. I don't wear most of these dresses or wedges or bright sandals most of the time, even on weekends.
Really, I wear a lot of black, denim, navy, and olive. I wear jeans or black pants to work, and I love button-up shirts, stripes in classic colors, and textured sweaters. I have an olive cargo vest and an olive jacket, and 3 jean jackets. I have 5 pairs of black flats of some kind. On weekends and evenings, I wear yoga pants because I'm usually going to work out or hike at some point in the day--or after a workout, I wear them so I can sit on the floor and roll on the foam roller. Floral dresses and heels do not fit into my lifestyle!
And I've gotten rid of a LOT of clothing in the past few years. Lessons like "You wear 20% of your clothing 80% of the time," the capsule wardrobe, and this book have encouraged me. I love having more space in my closet and less to choose from!
But, I come from a background of collecting cheap, ill-fitting clothes and shoes because it was fun to have new, stylish things. I counted my shoes in high school once and had something like 70 pairs (stuffed into my messy, small bedroom closet). Now that I want to own fewer but better, more comfortable pairs of shoes, I actually have a hard time finding the perfect pair of shoes--knowing I'm only going to have one new one that season or year.
When I wrote earlier this year about our new hobby, hiking, I mentioned I was having a hard time finding minimal hiking and other shoes. A blog reader and fellow Oregonian, Sarah, wrote to me because her company, Soft Star Shoes, has high quality leather minimal shoes made right here in Oregon. Was I interested in trying a pair? Of course!
For many years I had back and neck pain, and a chiropractor even ordered me custom orthotics. They didn't help. Only now, when I've stopped wearing high heels except for special occasions, stopped wearing massively supportive running shoes, and started strength training has my pain gotten better. I still see a chiro and physical therapist occasionally, but my neck, back, and hip pain is SO much better with my increase strength and movement capability. (And I stopped using a pillow at night! Crazy.)
I've also worn ballet flats for many years, so I thought I was ready to try a pair of very minimal shoes like Soft Star flats. Sarah sent me this pair and they are SO comfortable! And they go with my usual work uniform!
These are the Adult Ballerine Flat in perforated leather. They come in universal whole sizes so I went with a 7 regular instead of the 8 or 8.5 Wide I usually wear. The leather is soft and molds to my feet.
They are definitely different than any shoe I've ever worn, but they are beyond comfortable and easy to wear. I love that I can wear them to work without looking like I'm wearing something as comfortable as slippers! They remind me of those packabale ballet flats Gap had several years ago, sold in matching baggies, but those were usually pinchy and fake leather. These are SO much better than those or any of my other flats!
One of my fave movement experts, Katy Bowman, just did an interview/post feature with the founder of Soft Star Shoes - read it on her blog here for more info about them!
A little warning... even proponents of minimal footwear say you can hurt yourself if you switch to it too quickly. As someone who used to buy the most supportive Nikes I could find and at one point wear heels to work every day, I can say making the gradual shift has been completely worth it. Back pain, neck pain, hip tightness, constantly knotty, sore quads and glutes... so much improvement after ditching the heels for flats, switching to a standing desk, and lifting heavy weights (properly and carefully). But, you do have to know your body and be intentional and careful.
It means I'm not shopping for new wedges and heels every season, but I do value investing in really good quality leather truly comfortable shoes. If you feel the same, check out Soft Star Shoes!