20 In Style

Fashion Takes A Hike

Rainbow Swarovski boots

I’m a shameless lover and wearer of  impractical beautiful shoes (like these rainbow boots).  I can still wear high heels at my age, but I have a feeling this won’t last much longer. Luckily over the past several years, fashion has delivered a strong offering of flat shoes for women. These are worn INSTEAD of heels in an intentional, too-cool-for-stilettos kind of way. In fact, the worse they are, the more stylish they are if that makes sense. After vintage-style Adidas Stan Smith trainers were embraced by everyone from fashion editors to school run mums (courtesy of Phoebe-Philo-era Celine), Balenciaga correctly read the crowd and wheeled out their ‘ugly trainers.’ The point was to wear a girly dress and juxtapose its prettiness with a pair of geeky Dad-style white chunky sneakers. Did I buy into this trend? No. Definitely not. I’m wary of any fashion trend that doesn’t involve lots of colour or sparkle, in much the same way I’m wary of people who don’t like dogs.

Last summer, rubber pool slides, flip flops, and Birkenstock sandals were all over the runways as well as the streets, along with embellished colourful sneakers. This summer, in the battle to incorporate both comfort and shock value in one shoe, designers are copying Teva hiking sandals, velcro straps and all. The ‘tourist sandal’ has officially stepped into the fashion pantheon. Yes, Marc Jacobs and Tommy Hilfiger did their versions but neither of these designers registers even a blip on my personal fashion radar. However when Miuccia Prada does something, I do the equivalent of folding my newspaper down and staring intently over the tops of my reading glasses. Dear reader, I present to you the Prada Nastro hiking sandal…complete with shouty can-see-from-space logo. If you’d like to be parted from £540 or $685 of your money for them, you can do so here.


For my own money, I’ll stick with the OG, the REAL Tevas. Relaunched by Teva through Outdoor Voices, you might fall for these jellybean coloured ones like I did. Just imagine the pedicure possibilities!

I can see them working particularly well with a simple loose white maxi dress or a long tiered skirt. The colour-clashing plus extreme comfort sold me. I bought the coral and lilac pair and had them shipped to my Mom’s house in the US. She opened them and said, “Well, they ARE BRIGHT!” I asked her to walk around in them and apparently they are indeed super comfortable (phew!). I’m planning to live in these when I get back to the US this summer (expect a “How To Style Hiking Shoes– From Overalls to Ball Gowns” post in late July, haha).

I do love heels, but do I wear them all the time? No. Will I walk around in heels in the heat of New York and Savannah this summer? Also no. Collectively, I sense women aren’t keen to give up comfort and step back into high heels again for everyday wear just yet.

A flat shoe is stylish, age-friendly, comfortable, and after years of platforms and vertiginous stilettos, they feel like a well-deserved fashion break. In many cases, a flat can look MORE stylish than a heel; a heel can sometimes look a bit dated and try-hard, depending on the outfit. I’ll be wearing flats this summer to run around in for everyday and to add a bit of laid-back style to my fairly structured wardrobe. I’ve already been wearing the flats in this post on repeat. Sneakers have their place in my wardrobe, but like ripped jeans, they just aren’t my style. I think I’ll feel more at home in my new bright ugly sandals than an ugly sneaker!

The key thing to remember if you wear an ugly shoe is to keep the rest of the outfit stylish. They only work with something like a sweet dress, a sharp suit, or an edgy colourful skirt. It needs to look intentional. Ugly shoes don’t work terribly well with jeans and a tee shirt.  If you wear a relaxed outfit like jeans and a tee, go the opposite direction on the shoe– a sparkly flat, a rainbow mule, or a bright bow-embellished sandal. It is the strong contrast of casual with elegant that looks fresh and modern.

I solemnly swear this is the only pair of hiking sandals I’ll ever buy. Subscribe below if you’d like to make up for all the people who will break up with me over these Tevas!


linking to:  notdressedaslamb

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  • Reply
    May 22, 2019 at 4:23 PM

    I NEVER Owned a PAIR when they were the IN SANDAL of OUR YOUTH!However, these colors SPEAK VOLUMES and FLAT is ALL I DO!
    Now, when in SAVANNAH look for the round about with GENERAL NATHANAEL GREENE!!!MY relative!He is also buried there in that FABULOUS OLD CEMETERY!!
    Eli Whitney, remember that name from high school history class?He was the Tutor of GENERAL N. Greenes kids!He supposedly invented the COTTON GIN!!I think most likely MRS. GREENE had a bit to do with THAT but of course at that time NO WOMAN GOT ANY CREDIT!That is your interesting FACT of THE DAY!!!
    NOT losing ME!

    • Reply
      May 22, 2019 at 8:03 PM

      I never owned a pair in my youth either! It will be interesting to see how I get on with these Tevas! Thanks for sticking with me through my sometimes misguided fashion adventures, Elizabeth!

      Thank you for your history lesson, I shall INDEED look for that when I’m in Savannah. I’ve not been for a whole two years, so I’m looking forward to it (but not to the searing heat and humidity). xx

  • Reply
    May 22, 2019 at 5:08 PM

    UGH. Flats. UGH UGH UGH. As a woman whose spine is compressing and who has never gotten over the childhood prediction made by her father that she would be tall, I love a little heel. A bit of a platform. A chance to lengthen my leg. But I agree heels aren’t practical in the day-to-day, and they do have that whiff of “Grandma Barbie” so to speak. Love the Kurt Geigers you linked to. And I’m also a proud owner of several Birkenstocks. They are like slippers.

    • Reply
      May 22, 2019 at 8:01 PM

      I agree, Mithra, a heel makes almost everything look better. They’re impractical for so many situations, of course. Fashion and society are really having a moment with flats (who can march and protest in a pair of heels?)(well, probably me…) so I thought I’d give ’em a whirl.

      Ah, Birkenstocks. I wish they were as comfortable for me as everyone tells me they are. I have them, but I like more squish, more pillow under my feet. I’m hoping these Tevas are cushionier than my Birks. Shall report back. xx

  • Reply
    May 22, 2019 at 11:27 PM

    Thoroughly enjoyed your post (you know I adore your writing) and totally agree on the “how to wear” part but not likely to actually wear these any time soon. Eeeek!
    Also, although I sort of like sneakers with a dress, I absolutely hate Dad trainers or sneakers or whatever they are because it feels so overly intentional ugly. Does that make sense?

    • Reply
      May 23, 2019 at 2:13 PM

      Thank you, my love. I hate any sneakers with any dress, on me at least. Just isn’t my style, so your view totally makes sense to me. I have no idea why I’ve fallen for these Tevas. I love them styled really awful with socks on young girls, but again, doesn’t work on me at all! It should be interesting seeing how I figure out to wear them! xx

  • Reply
    May 23, 2019 at 9:06 AM

    Oh, I wore my favourite heels to a party recently for the first time in an age and couldn’t believe how agonising it was after several hours – my feet were a wreck for days afterward. I blame my current predilection for ballet flat-type shoes, it can’t possibly be that I’m in my 50s now!

    Hiking sandals? No siree! Velcro on a shoe is verboten in my book. There’ll be plenty of time for that palaver when I’m in my dotage. And before you think my proclamations come from a lofty Fashionable Pedestal, I had a good belly laugh when I saw some photos of myself this week when doing a bit of a clean up. Early 90s-Seinfield look of blouson-y t-shirt with cartoon print tucked into pale blue jeans, white socks and trainers with a camel coat on top. In every single photo of my first trip overseas. (Styled, of course, with a French braid and blow-dried fringe).

    It may have been the 90s but it was proof positive that ugly shoes don’t work with ugly clothes, even when you may be in the flush of youth. Will I lift them in future with a lovely dress? Probably not. I’ve not had enough runs on the board with nice outfits to ruin it now, haha!

    • Reply
      May 23, 2019 at 8:19 PM

      Ha! MAYBE the sore feet are from being in your 50s, but I imagine it is more what your feet are used to. I remember when I was working in heels all the time, I felt so uncomfortable and sore in flat shoes on the weekends.

      Yeah, everyone seems to pretty much hate the hiking sandals, here and on facebook. I did at first, but they’ve grown on me, like a fungus, haha. I don’t mind getting it ‘wrong’ sometimes fashion wise. The experimentation is half the fun.

      Your retro photos would probably be super fashionable with the 20’s crowd today, I bet! They love all of that style. I do wholeheartedly agree that these ugly shoes need just the right outfit to make them work (like a maxi skirt to hide them, perhaps!!). I figure if all else fails, they can be my beach shoes for the next 20 years. xx

  • Reply
    May 23, 2019 at 4:27 PM

    While I’ve been spending my life in flats (Prada loafers to be precise) since having kids, I’m afraid this version of flat is a big no no for me. And since I only do sexy footwear, these sandals don’t exactly fit into that category. But hey, I get the idea of comfort they must provide … Loved hearing from you Lisa! xx Abby

    • Reply
      May 23, 2019 at 8:23 PM

      Everyone really hates these shoes, so you’re in good company :-). Quite a few unsubscribes, as I suspected! I always like to experiment and challenge myself, but maybe we’ll look back on this and laugh at it as the Hiking Shoe Tragedy of 2019. I did buy the rainbow crystal boots too, so maybe I’ll be forgiven for the sandals… one day! Sending you love, Miss Abby. xx

  • Reply
    Little Red
    May 24, 2019 at 6:37 AM

    Never!! I feel so fashion forward with my decision to pull out my white Superga’s and wear them with dresses and skirts this summer. These are a bridge too far even if they are rainbow-colored which I normally love.

    • Reply
      May 28, 2019 at 3:25 PM

      See, and I can’t do sneakers with dresses and skirts! These sandals are pretty awful, but I love them somehow 🙂 xx

  • Reply
    May 24, 2019 at 10:55 AM

    Like you I spent years working in heels, but then (as I told people) I was working at a desk… it’s not as if I was walking around in them all day!!

    There are some flats I adore and some I don’t… I haven’t seen ANYTHING like your Tevas before in those colours – I just know you’re going to look so fabulous in them. My “compromise” for wearing flats is adding a huge flatform sole – the white Sindy doll-style sliders I just bought are definitely love-em-or-hate-them shoes, but I love that they’re flat but also give my legs length. Ugly yes, comfy yes. Win some, lose some!

    And for goodness sake woman, will you just hurry up and buy those rainbow boots?!! You’ve been going on about them long enough, haha!!!!! 😀 😀

    Superb writing as always Lisa

    Catherine x

    • Reply
      May 28, 2019 at 3:28 PM

      Thank you, Catherine!! The rainbow boots have FINALLY arrived, you’ll be pleased to know.

      I can’t wait to get the colourful Tevas on my feet. I know the world will hate them, but I bet they’re insanely comfortable. I’ll figure out a way to make them work. Plus, #iwillwearwhatilike, right!?! xx

  • Reply
    Annika Olsson
    May 28, 2019 at 3:36 PM

    Hated these kind of sandals until I wore them for a hiking holiday. OMG, like walking on sand, but I would not ever, ever use them in the city, until now!!! That colour combination is fantastic, only problem is I cannot find them online anywhere in Europe, and when I try the US site I keep getting redirected. Anybody has a clue how to get hold of them? Please advice, I am yearning!

    • Reply
      May 28, 2019 at 6:06 PM

      Hi Annika! Yeah, I can’t find them in Europe either, that’s why I had them sent to my mom’s house in the States. Do you have anyone in the States who could order them and then mail them on to you? I am going at the end of July, so if you’re not in a rush I’m happy to do it for you when I’m there. xx

      • Reply
        May 30, 2019 at 9:39 AM

        Thanks! Husband goes to Detroit in June so I keep my hopes up:-) thanks for the offer, and love your blog. Would be superhappy if you could share some insider tips on colourful London shopping!

        • Reply
          June 1, 2019 at 5:22 PM

          Oh, that’s lucky Annika! Your’e so welcome, and thank you for your kind words. 🙂 I am DEFINITELY going to share The Sequinist’s guide to London very soon. I’m working on that at this very moment. There will be lots of colour for you. xx

  • Reply
    No Fear of Fashion
    May 28, 2019 at 4:03 PM

    Okido, this is the fourth attempt to leave a comment. I sent you an email.
    First of all: lovely rainbow boots… haha
    Like you I never wear my high heels all day. I do wear them during the day in the office (flat surface, carpets, long sitting sessions in between walking). And I do love them. I have been training my poor knee to support high heels again as well.
    Some sneakers I like as you know. Others I hate.
    Hiking shoes like you showed, like rubber pool slides, flip flops, and Birkenstock sandals: NEVER. But I will admit that the colourful Teva’s look rather cute. Who knows… I might. As I have very sensitive feet in summer. Lots of blisters.

    • Reply
      May 28, 2019 at 6:08 PM

      The rainbow boots are finally in my clutches. I saw a 50% off sale for one day, and I POUNCED like a Ninja.

      I can’t wait to see how I get on with the Tevas. I’ve never had shoes like this, and I’m keen to see if they are THAT comfortable. I’m already looking for long maxi skirts to wear with them! xx

      Off to look into the commenting issue…

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