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Manolo the Columnist | Manolo's Shoe Blog

Manolo the Columnist

Manolo says, the latest column of the Manolo it is now available for downloading at the Express of the Washington Post.

Today, the Manolo discusses one of the horrors of modern life, the “comfort shoes.”

Dear Manolo,

Can you please recommend some stylish comfort shoes for me?


Manolo says, ayyyyy! Few things in the language of the English can inspire such cold dark horror in the breast of the Manolo as the phrase “the comfort shoes.”

More atrocities have been committed, by the comfort shoes than all of the Mongol hordes, the oil tankers, and the chainsaws combined.

It is the truism of the Manolo that the word “comfort” allows the shoe companies to believe that they can foist upon the peoples the most hideous sort of the shoes; shoes that appear to be constructed out of the rubberized burlap and dried dung, shoes that would not have been tolerated by our cave-dwelling ancestors.

This it is not to say that the comfort and style are incompatible, indeed they are not.

But rather it is to note that those shoe companies who market only based upon the comfort are, to the mind of the Manolo, equal to the Big Tobacco in the damage they are doing to the tender and gullible soul of this nation.

If you wish to see the shoe that is stylish and comfortable, but emphatically not the “comfort shoes” then the Manolo would present to you the Physical by the Stuart Weitzman; simple, atrtractive, classical, and designed to be worn on almost any occasion.

To this the Manolo can only add that this past weekend, the Posse Manolo tried on the wedge variation of the Physical by the Stuart Weitzman, and to the woman, they characterized it as being among the most comfortable shoes they have ever worn.

34 Responses to “Manolo the Columnist”

  1. furlagirl June 23, 2006 at 2:16 am #

    Bloody hell! I bought a pair of those three or four years ago in Harrods and they were the most conmfortable summer shoes I have ever owned – I wore them till they fell apart. Are you telling me they are still available. And in a WEDGE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. furlagirl June 23, 2006 at 2:27 am #

    Where can I get sight of the wedge? I found the original on the Zappos site, but not that wedge. Ayyyy! as the Manolo would say. I am sick with excitement.

  3. furlagirl June 23, 2006 at 2:38 am #

    Ayyyyy. I have found the kitten heeled version on the SW website and they ship internationally. But where are theose wedges?

  4. laura June 23, 2006 at 8:26 am #

    Manolo, you have got to stop mocking comfort shoes. Some of us have really bad feet and physical problems. It’s bad enough I can’t wear 95% of the shoes you mention in your blog without having to endure mockery for the shoes I can wear. That Stuart Weitzman has no support for my arches. So if I wore it, I would feel stabbing pains from my plantar fasciitis every step I took. Sorry! Some of us would rather wear the dreaded Crocs flip-flops and not have stabbing pains in every step we took rather than look fashionable and be in pain. I mean, really. Leave those of us who can’t wear stylish shoes alone–we have enough problems without being mocked.

  5. Cath June 23, 2006 at 9:35 am #

    The Stuart Weitzmans are only comfortable for those who have feet shaped like the Alpine skis. Those of us with superfantastic medium-width or wider feet will feel like we have begun the torture of the Inquisition when we slip them on.

  6. Kourtney June 23, 2006 at 9:37 am #

    My dear Laura – I feel you are being overly sensitive. Which I can understand – the feets, if they’re unhappy, the person is unhappy too. My interpretation is that the Manolo is not mocking you; he is decrying the marketers who refuse to make comfortable, attractive shoes. There is a lady in my office who can wear no heels, has a broad foot & high arch (that needs support), and she always has fabulous shoes. True, she has to hunt for them a little harder, and spend a lot more… but she looks smart! Together! Happy! And those are all things that the well-styled shoe can bring. Despite my best efforts, I can’t endorse the Crocs for anything other than gardening or dental hygenists.

  7. Nancy Friedman June 23, 2006 at 9:46 am #

    Ladies, your search for the Physical Wedge is over. It’s at http://www.berenshoes.com. Just enter “Physical” in the search field. P.S. The wedge is mock tortoise. Ay-ay-ay!

  8. furlagirl June 23, 2006 at 9:53 am #

    Dear Cath

    I have wide feet and Stuart Weitzman’s are one of the few brands that are always ok for me. The Physical is elastic so it stretches.

  9. laura June 23, 2006 at 9:54 am #

    In addition to physical pain problems, I have size 12 feet. I’m perfectly happy to wear Crocs in the summer and Birkenstock loafers in the winter, but what gets on my nerves is the mockery for having to do so. Surely we can admire pretty shoes without mocking those who can’t wear them–just as we can admire couture clothing without making fat jokes.

  10. furlagirl June 23, 2006 at 10:11 am #

    Ayyyy! Berens ships internationally!

  11. Elizabeth June 23, 2006 at 10:13 am #

    Okay, did you guys see the article in the NYT about “comfort” brands stepping out with some fashionable styles?

    “The aggressively hip look of shoes from these companies may signal a new front in footwear: fashion finally meets comfort. Many women, particularly those upward of 40 who are fed up with decades of torture-inflicting shoes, now view the choice between fashion and comfort as an anachronism, and shoe manufacturers known for their practical styles are responding by adding zing to their summer lines.”


    I have sincere lust over the Dansko Raven slingbacks they feature. Dansko has really been trying to moderize their styles lately, something my sadly wide, flat feet have absolutely appreciated. That said, the Heidi Klum Birkenstock line? Awful, garish and tacky. Still, it’s a start (I suppose).

    Other cute Dansko styles (I swear I don’t work for them, I’m just fanatical):

    Roxy http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/7547655/c/33309.html

    Raquel http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/8523720/c/8994.html

    Suzette http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/8523673/c/1133.html

    Regina http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/11686009/c/60.html

    Rayne http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/7831094/c/208.html

    And my current love, Raven

  12. newlove June 23, 2006 at 10:17 am #

    Long-time listener, first-time caller. I do love the Manolo. I am a woman of a certain age — young enough to be stylish and old enough not to put up with high and/or uncomfortable shoes. I have found that the shoes of the Donald J. Pliner are nearly ALL exceptionally comfy. I have wedge sandals, platform sandals, flats, small heels and a kickin’ pair of high black boots. I can wear any of them all day. So if the shoes Manolo recommends here don’t work for you, go look at Pliners.

  13. Nabushi June 23, 2006 at 11:09 am #

    I just checked, and I’m surprised this has not yet been commented on: on the Beren site, Physical wedge comes in different WIDTHS!!! Only up to C, but still! Dude, that’s my width!

    Yes, my feet are wide, and I’ve found that Dansko is starting to make some shoes (not clogs) that are not completely out-of-the-question hideous …

  14. furlagirl June 23, 2006 at 12:17 pm #

    Nancy Friedman, thank you. Berens ships to the UK for $20 less than the SW site which doesn’t have them anyway. They are ordered. You star.

  15. Nancy Friedman June 23, 2006 at 12:25 pm #

    Dear Furlagirl–it is the pleasure of the highest magnitude to solve for you the problems of the feets. Ciao, Nancy

  16. Anne June 23, 2006 at 3:29 pm #

    Can I ask, why is that black microfiber elastic stuff so popular? An I the only one who thinks it looks institutional and would prefer practically anything else in the world?

    Other than that, I’d be sold on those wedges too.

  17. furlagirl June 23, 2006 at 3:50 pm #

    Georffrey Chaucer interviews Paris Hilton here http://houseoffame.blogspot.com/2006/06/shes-yonge-shes-sexie-shes-riche.html

    GC: Ich do begge pardon. Ye waite upon Gode Queene Anne, yet ye do manye othir projectes. How wolde ye descriven yower crafte and place in societee?

    PL: ‘Tis harde to saye. Lyk, ich am a woman of businesse, ich am an actresse, ich do inspyre men of chivalrie to noble deedes, ich do founde chantries ful of preestes who praye for the soule of my chihuahua who of late did perisshe.

  18. Nancy Friedman June 23, 2006 at 4:18 pm #

    If there is anything funnier in the entire blogosphere, Ich knoweth not what.

  19. furlagirl June 23, 2006 at 4:24 pm #

    That is my thanks to you, Nancy, for the Physical wedges.

  20. The Charlotte Allen June 23, 2006 at 5:07 pm #

    Laura, Manolo has often recommended the Taryn Rose line for ladies who are on their feet all day or have foot problems that make it difficult to wear other brands. Here’s his Taryn Rose page:
    And I’m sure there are other, newer styles at the shoe sites.

    And may I also suggest Donald Pliner? My husband gave me a pair of cork-sole Pliner wedges for my birthday that are not only lighter than air and amazingly comfortable but also exceedingly stylish, with chic, 1940s-style gathered vamps.
    No one is making fun of you (at least if they have a grain of politeness) for wearing Birkenstocks–it’s the Birkenstocks themselves that are so miserably ugly. No one should have to settle for them in order to be comfortable.

  21. Gigi June 23, 2006 at 5:44 pm #

    As someone who is on her feet all day (which can mean up to 18 hours during the busy season) I can tell you that it is very possible (easy, even!) to find fabulous shoes that are very comfortable and supportive. Trust me, I have had two foot surgeries and do not take the health of my feet for granted! Just because one has bad feet does not mean one is condemned to wearing Ugly Shoes for life.

  22. deja pseu June 23, 2006 at 6:03 pm #

    The Stuart Weitzmans are only comfortable for those who have feet shaped like the Alpine skis. Those of us with superfantastic medium-width or wider feet will feel like we have begun the torture of the Inquisition when we slip them on.

    As one of the ladies with the wide feets, the Deja was delighted to discover that this lovely shoe comes in the width of Wide, and ordered immediately.

  23. deja pseu June 23, 2006 at 6:11 pm #

    Other cute Dansko styles (I swear I don’t work for them, I’m just fanatical):

    The Deja wants to put in a plug here for the Dansko “Raquel”…the Deja has in two colors and it’s one of the most comfortable shoes with a heel ever in the Deja’s experience, and can be worn all of the day while on the feets with no pain.

  24. Nancy Friedman June 23, 2006 at 6:57 pm #

    And as long as we’re on the subject of stylish comfort, allow me to point out the stratospherically priced, sublimely lightweight, Gallicly chic shoes of the Thierry Rabotin, whose followers are slavish in their devotion. These too are available at http://www.berenshoes.com (more styles arriving in August). And yes, full disclosure, I do have a connection with the Berens–I’ve written their catalog copy for a bazillion years. But they do not pay me to write the PR; that I do out of love for my fellow shoe-istas.

  25. jenny June 24, 2006 at 3:58 am #

    Dang, Gina! These babies are expensive for elastic shoes! D’you know, there are so many similar shoes out there that are still graceful and comfortable, but which cost much less. Use the word “elasticated” as a search on a site like Zappos, or try brands like Stride Rite, Trotters, and Naturalizer.

    Then again, if you’ve got the funds these babies are very summery and delicate, and about as far from “orthopedic oxford” as you can get while still staying comfy…

  26. Kim June 24, 2006 at 9:16 pm #

    Why would you be at a SHOE site, especially a SUPERFANTASTIC shoe site, like the Manolo’s and be peeved about those who decry Crocs and Birkenstocks?
    Those shoes are ugly.
    Shoes are not about ugly.
    Also, they’re not about mocking you.
    There’s always Payless.

  27. Please! June 25, 2006 at 1:00 pm #

    Manolo, I share your opinion of the crocs etc., but these are *not* comfortable shoes. For starters, kitten heels are horrible to wear if you actually have to be on your feet for any period of time (never mind walk across cobblestones without breaking your neck). How about chunky heel?

    I agree with people about the Birkenstock shoe– it is butt ugly and unnecessary. But how about a pair of Born wedges? They are attractive, the heel is not overwhelming, and they are as cozy as bedroom slippers, trust me. For that matter, what’s wrong with ballet flats?

  28. laura June 26, 2006 at 9:29 am #


    Don’t be a rude jerk.

    It is possible to like looking at pretty shoes and reading amusing posts by Manolo without needing to be insulted about the kinds of shoes I can wear. Just like I can like looking at Vogue without being required to be told I’m fat and ugly because I don’t look like a model.

    Ballet flats offer no support. I’m not necessarily writing about comfort, but the need for arch support for those of us with bad feet.

    As I said above, some of us would rather wear Crocs thongs–which are no uglier than any other flipflop–or Birkenstock loafers–again, no uglier than any other loafer–and BE ABLE TO WALK WITHOUT PAIN than to wear prettier shoes and hurt every time we take a step.

    It really shouldn’t be that hard to understand. Praise the pretty shoes, but don’t dis those of us who can’t wear them.

  29. Patricia June 26, 2006 at 1:22 pm #

    I love your words in this post!!!!! Fully agree.

  30. jenny June 27, 2006 at 2:05 am #

    Bravo, Laura. Well spoken.

  31. pbird June 27, 2006 at 11:58 pm #

    Heaven’s yes. No need to be horrible Kim. Some situations are flatout medical.

  32. dani June 28, 2006 at 9:07 am #

    For people with bad feet, Manolo’s helps by pointing out the great styles, which we can then modify to our situation. To paraphrase Tolstoy- happy feet are all alike- every unhappy foot is unhappy in its own way.

    The one good thing about “comfort” brands is that they really are made for people with bad feet, like Laura and me. I look at these lovely shoes, see they have no padding in the footbed, and say, “Ayyy! I see pain in the feets.” I look at the lovely little heel and say “Ayyy! I see pain in the ankles.” But the wedges- ankle pain solved! Now, I will go searching for something similar with a padded footbed, and probably a lower heel. I know they’re out there somewhere!

  33. Maria June 28, 2006 at 12:53 pm #

    What a relevant discussion! With all the flip-flop bashing that has been going on I have been at a loss for footwear that will see me through my daily commute, which taking into the worst possible scenarios, must meet the following conditions 1) be able to run for the bus, in the rain 2) walk at least a mile 3) stand for at least an hour on a moving train 4) be cute and open toed for the summer, and not look horrendous with a suit or dress 5) not break the bank .

    Manolo, I’m sorry, but no matter how comfortable those Weitzmans are, they just won’t cut it for all of the above. I spent many precious hours of my weekend cruising virtually every shoe store in the area looking for something that would fit the bill, and finally came up with these http://www.zappos.com/n/p/dp/11041186/c/3.html from the Indigo by Clark’s line (Laura, you should check this line out! http://www.zappos.com/n/br/b/435.html). Although they are not totally superfantastic, they’re cute and there is some very supportive, cloudlike squishy sole action going on. They may look like heels, but there is truly very little rise when you take into account the platform. And to the delight of flipflop haters everywhere, I have foresaken my cute sparkly gold ones.

  34. furlagirl June 28, 2006 at 3:58 pm #

    Clarks is a venerable, very well-known brand in England which has recently improved its styling dramatically. Most British adults of my age wore Clark’s shoes when we were children because they had proper measuring and specialised in shoes for growing feet. I happened to have 15 minutes to kill this morning and was passing a Clarks and went in to have a look. A lot of their shoes are designed for comfort without being hideous. Manolos they ain’t but if comfort is your most important issue then they are a very good option.