Five styles of drive-friendly shoes for when you’re buckled in or stepping out
By Liz Gumbinner
I’m a bit of a shoe...aficionado. (Yes, there are other nouns we could use, but we’ll stick with this one for now.) In New York City, we wear shoes made for walking and the occasional cab-hailing. But I also spend my fair share of time in Los Angeles, where walking is…well, they don’t do it. I know that a lot of those women can somehow get away with sporting platform wedges in the driver’s seat, but for me that’s not going to cut it.
Here are just a few shoe styles I think are terrific for dual duty; in other words, total comfort when you’re tapping the break on and off in traffic, and great style when you’re stepping out—even if it’s just to the rest stop on the highway. (What’s wrong with that? You never know who you might run in to!)
Plus, one of them is actually a driving shoe inspired by the Chevy Malibu and created by one of the biggest high-fashion designers in the world. Sweet.
Ballet flats are back with a vengeance, and the slim size means they’re perfect for stashing in the glove compartment should you need comfy car shoes in a pinch. The Air Bacara Ballet Shoes at Cole Haan come in a dozen hues, from neutrals to a lizard-embossed orange patent. They’re made with Nike Air technology, meaning they offer a lot more support than your average ballet flat.
For something a little more affordable, these ballet flats from Lucky Brand are pretty darn adorable
The other big trend I’m seeing are foldable ballet flats in their own carry pouches, like the ones from CitySlips designed so you can keep an emergency pair of flats in your handbag. (There’s something kind of reassuring about “emergency flats,” right?)
When I think driving shoes, the very first brand that comes to mind is Tod’s, which is known for driving moccasins that are nothing like the ones you might have seen in the 1970s. This season, Tod’s is showing some gorgeous patent leather and suede shoes, in vibrant blues, roses and a great deep purple. There are also some really swanky metallics. The one drawback: the cost. At these prices, they’d better last at least as long as your car.
You can avoid running shoes. I have faith in you! But if you can’t bear to part with the comfort, TOMS’ new fall line includes their classic comfy slip-ons with corduroy uppers which are a nice compromise between fashion and “I can’t seem to get out of these gym clothes.” Plus, they feel good in a meaningful way—every pair you buy means a brand new pair is donated to a child in need.
I pretty much live in boots all fall and winter long. I find if you’ve got a low heel, maybe under 1.5 inches, they’re also great in the car. I’m totally coveting these calf-length lace-ups from La Canadienne. You could wear them with pretty much anything, which makes them a smart choice if you have to be meeting-ready when you get to where you’re going.
If you prefer ankle boots, these Sam Edelman boots in taupe or black faux suede get fantastic reviews. Just make sure to keep those boot heels in shape if you spend a ton of time driving.
The Malibu Collection (seriously!)
I was pretty psyched to learn that none other than design guru Isaac Mizrahi was designing his own gorgeous driving shoes inspired by the 2013 Chevy Malibu. I love the way he talks about finding inspiration in clean lines and crisp shapes, which had me clicking refresh on the Malibu Style Facebook page until I finally got a peek. No disappointments; the beautiful poppy red hue of the soft Napa leather makes me smile before I’ve even put them on. You’ll find them exclusively at Living Social at a very nice discount. My only hope: More, Isaac! More!
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Liz Gumbinner, along with partner Kristen Chase, is the co-publisher of Cool Mom Picks and Cool Mom Tech, which have been named top parenting resources by Real Simple, InStyle and Time. She can often be found doling out shopping tips and offering common-sense wisdom on parenting trends in Martha Stewart Living and on Babycenter.com, the new KatieCouric.com and NBC’s TODAY Show.