The sandal quest

04.13.10 | 5 Comments

Finding a good pair of sandals is not as easy as I thought. I wanted to find sandals that I could walk in for a long time, that could go in the water, that didn’t hurt my feet or needed long breaking-in time, and that were somewhat fashionable. I know, it’s a lot to ask! But my feet knew they could find a match to their sensitive and temperamental moods. I think I tried all the sandals there are to find in all stores. Well, maybe not, but I did try the major sporty/casual brands out there.

I started with the Chacos ZX/2┬« in black thinking they are sturdy, waterproof and look fairly cute. Granted we (Justin got a similar pair) put them through a 7 mile flat hike the first day, the result wasn’t too positive. The toe loop wouldn’t stay loose, bits of gravel kept getting stuck and the shoe ribbing was sanding my precious little body carriers raw. Ouch. I did take advantage of REI’s awesome return policy.

At that point I had exhausted all of REI‘s sandal offerings as well as Sports Basement, who offered pretty much the same options. So, after the sports stores, what was next? DSW! They actually have a surprising number of “sports” and “comfortable” shoes. There again, I tried everything on. The only pair that had somewhat a potential were the Teva Tirra, which I had tried at REI already and didn’t quite win me over. The second try at DSW had more positive aspects, but I read that Tevas sometimes fall apart when they get wet, which makes me nervous… uh yeah, I think I want to go rafting again sometime! I left DSW empty “footed”… mwah-ha-ha.

Gosh, when DSW has nothing to offer where do you go? I went to Macy’s. I remembered they had brands that were targeted to hard core travelers, so I thought hard core traveler = comfort + style + function. They indeed had quite a bit of options. The pair that came really close to winning were the Privo┬« Seabreeze sandals. The only thing that kept me from buying them is the fact that they didn’t have brown (only crazy blue) and that they were super duper sporty looking. I thought, no problem, I’ll look them up online and order them or something. Couldn’t get myself to do it.

No sandals found yet. I think my intention was to go back to Macy’s on a weeknight when there would be less tourists and give it another round. Saturday morning we went to the Farmer’s Market at the Ferry Building to get a few fruits and veggies. On our way back, we walked a stretch of Market Street that we normally pass. At some point on Market between Pine and Bush, there was a little shoe repair shop with some shoes inside. The shoes looked exactly the type that would carry the sandals I’m looking for. After some browsing and getting advice from the shop owner (one of those guys who has been in the shoe repair business for a long time, carrying the pride of being a cobbler) I found this pair:

They are Clarks Unstructured sandals made out of waterproof leather and a breathable sole. Yep, my feet chose them almost immediately. They are comfortable, sturdy, ultra-light, pretty cute and colorful. Sold! I was super happy to finally find the pair of sandals I’ll probably hang onto for a while in a small local store who cared about what they sold. I mean, the guy sprayed an extra waterproofing layer for free just because I mentioned they may be used around water. Pretty sweet, don’t you think?

I wore them for the first time today to walk to work. I’ll be honest and say that I did feel a couple of tender spots after two miles, but nothing that can’t be overcome by wearing them a couple more times. I love them. I’ll stick with them.