Designer heels

Designer heels that look like Birkenstocks


F. Martin Ramin / The Wall Street Journal, layout by Anne Cardenas

MARION PARK doesn’t want people calling her shoes comfortable. So I apologize in advance, but having personally tried them, I can attest that they redefine comfort. It’s hard to forget the hidden softness of its Italian-made heels once you’ve experienced it.

Points of distinction

  • 1. Sempatico Sole A specially designed shoe shape provides more support for your arches, distributes weight more evenly, and prevents feet from getting sore after hours of wearing.
  • 2. Delicately considerate The thin buckle straps are delicate but strategically placed to avoid cutting the ankle bone or creating other discomfort.
  • 3. Arise and shine The maneuverable block heel measures just over 2¼ inches, high enough for flattering lift but low enough to let you spend hours on your feet without regret the next day.

Dr Parke, a former podiatrist who launched a shoe line last year, points out that it aimed to avoid the classic orthopedic look: “The insole is not brown or orange with perforated holes.”

Still, she used her medical training to banish the pain that chic shoes often cause. She has developed a shape – the technical term for the mold around which a shoe is created – that provides additional support to the arch of the foot. “It gives more contact area between the bottom of your foot and the shoe,” she explained. It also distributes the weight more evenly to reduce pressure on the ball of the foot. Inside the sole is a thin, medical-grade foam called the P-cell – used, among other things, to cover prostheses – that molds to the feet over time.

The solid block heels are 60 millimeters (just over 2¼ inches high). Dr Parke went for a reasonably chic mid-rise based on the aesthetic. Another aesthetic decision: the delicacy of the width of the straps. They are, however, strategically placed to avoid friction with the ankle bone or anywhere else.

A potential irritant: all those buckles that have to be tied up and unbuckled. The adjustable straps help the shoe to better fit women with high arches, said Dr Parke, adding, “The zippers would detract from the delicacy. I understand we all live busy lives, but slow down and take a minute to buckle your shoe. Sandals, $ 625,

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