There are so many beautiful shoes available, but they are not all comfortable and certainly not all attractive on large feet. I fall into the large old feet category. I take good care of my feet, but there really is nothing I can do about the size 10.5. So, when I find well-made shoes that are attractive and comfortable, I am happy. This summer I came across two companies: Charleston Shoe Co. and Arcopedico. They each reach a different market.
(At Luxe Beat Magazine we do test the products we review, so the information we give is as accurate as possible.)
The Charleston shoes came in many styles, and best of all, they were attractive and comfortable and made in North America. These styles go from morning to evening in every combination you can imagine.
I have given these shoes a good test run for two months and would not hesitate to order other styles. There are quite a few that I like. The heels have not worn down and the elastic has held well and I like the way they look on my feet, which is always a challenge.
Neely Woodson Powell is the founder of the Charleston Shoe Co. She created her business in 2009 and worked with a fourth generation cobbler in Mexico while attending Savannah College of Art & Design. She opened first in Savannah with the Savannah Shoe Co., which sold hand-sewn sandals, and expanded in 2010 to a small storefront on King Street in Charleston called Charleston Shoe Co. Now the Charleston Shoe Co. line is sold in over 150 boutiques nationally.
You can shop online to locate the stores, check out shoes by style, lookbooks and learn about attending or hosting a trunk show. You can even build your own shoe. I’d encourage you to check out Charleston Shoe Co.
Let us move on to Arcopedico. I absolutely adore these shoes from Portugal. Elio Parodi, inventor of the original knit shoe, founded the company in 1966. In 1983 Virginia and Manuel Simas discovered the shoes and became the sole US distributor of Arcopedico. The company is now run by their sons, Dan and Doug Simas.
“The hallmark of all Arcopédico shoes can be seen in two fundamental design principles: the “barefoot” upper—a soft, non-binding design that that conforms to the top of the foot to allow circulation and all-day comfort—and the patented, metal-free twin arch-support soles (made from molded polyurethane), which protect the foot arch and allow the distribution of body weight through the entire plantar surface.
“In 2011, Arcopédico introduced the patented Lytech® material to the line, an innovative, ultra-light blend of polyurethane and Lycra®, which allows the shoes to be easily packed for traveling (shoe pairs weigh as little as 10.9 oz.) and machine-washed. Arcopédico’s Lytech shoes are also BioCalce Certified, introducing an eco-friendly, vegan, water-resistant and biodegradable option for Arcopédico customers.”
I have been trying out two different pairs. First, the 2261 Lolita, which comes in orange, red, blue, light green, yellow, black and violet. I have the blue. These are called the Easy Walk Experience®, as they were designed for an active lifestyle. The shoe is supportive, comfortable, conforms to your foot and is washable. But that is not what sold me. They are ideal for going through airports and on airplanes. With as much traveling as I do, having a shoe that does not get tight as my feet swell on long flights is absolutely wonderful.
The other style I have is the Stripe. This pair is dressier. It’s a regular ballerina style with a sculpted satin/cotton fabric upper horizontal stripe pattern and a rounded toe silhouette. The shoes feature rubber soles with a narrow foot bed and feather-light design. Mine are beige/white, but they are also available in blue/white or black/white.
The Summer Knits Vega knit sandal really are tempting me, and I may end up getting a pair. Living in Phoenix, we have a long sandal season. The Vega sandal weaves into the Arcopedico cork sole with a Greek –inspired v-strap design. The cork and latex sole has has a PU outer sole. I like the soft nylon knit strap across the vamp, so it will not irate the toes. Vega is known for its contoured footbed, with reflexology technology providing comfort and circulation. These come in red, demin, yellow or black.
Here is my difficulty with these shoes. When I started my research with Arcopedico shoes, I discovered I wanted to discard 75% of the shoes in my closet and replace them with several different styles they have available. In addition to Spring and Summer, some of the Fall and Winter styles are outstanding. I was not prepared to like so many different styles. Though you can go to the website to learn about the company, ArcopedicoShoes.com or Zappos.Com is the best place to order shoes.
There is room in my closet for both my Charleston Shoe Co. sandals and my Arcopedico shoes. I highly recommend both brands. If you try either brand, I would enjoy hearing about your experience.