Can you recommend some good, winter slip-on shoes for moms with young babies?
I loved your sneakers post, but when I have a baby strapped to me or clinging to one arm and a purse in the other, I just can't bend over to tie my shoes. For the same reasons, my zip up boots are getting more and more tiresome.
So, I'm looking for cool, comfortable slip-on shoes with full winter coverage (in other words, ballet flats just aren't going to cut it – no socks or tops of the feet visible please). I've been looking at the Privo Nahla and the Keen Charleston, but it's so hard to tell.
-Jess in Seattle
Jess, I have to be honest: I was skeptical. You are looking for the Holy Grail of Mom Shoe. You are looking for a shoe that is flat, comfortable, slip-on and stylish, while providing the coverage of a short boot. [snort] My first thought? Good luck.
But, I do love a good challenge. And while I won't claim that my picks below are the cutest shoes in the world….they are growing on me. So here we go….
First off, thank you for providing an example of what you are looking for. The Privos and Keens you mentioned are pictured below. I don't love either of these shoes. They aren't horrible, but I think we can do better.
Traditional Clogs & Mules
The first shoe type that came to mind was a clog. Clogs are always cute, and you can slip in-and-out of them easily. The downside is that they typically get cuter as the heel gets higher, and if you are as un-coordinated as I am, they can be a bit hard to walk in. I have a tendency to kick clogs right off my feet when walking. If you don't have this problem, however, clogs are certainly the most stylish pick! NOTE – you can wear clogs with cute wooly socks. It's all part of the cozy-clog-cuteness.
I like Ugg's Abbie Clog, $130 at uggaustralia.com. You can find cheaper traditional clog than Ugg's Abbie Clog…but only Ugg's has sheepskin in the footbed. Bliss. Or, try Sanita's Marian Clog with the faux-sherling detail, $109 at the walkingcompany.com. But stick to the brown, the black looks weird.
I also think Frye's Belted Harness Mule, $168 at piperlime.com has promise (shown above). Frye has a way of proportioning the heel and footbed so it looks as though you are wearing a bit of a heel, but it doesn't feel that way. I like that these would give you a more sophisticated, sleek look than most of the other slip-on options. You'd want to stick to dark socks, though, not fuzzy wooly ones.
There are lots of really, really bad loafers out there. And Pikolinos' La Palma Slip On (above left) is dangerously close to being one of those bad loafers. But I keep coming back to it. The shape is just ever-so-slightly feminine due to the curve of the exposed seam on the top (click the image to get a better look), and I like the slightly rough-hewn vibe. My vote is cool, not orthopedic. The Pikolinos can be purchased at Nordstroms for $149.95.
Another option that I love (but may not be practical for Seattle) are the Sanuk Slip-ons. Sanuk makes these cool canvas shoes with a rubber sandal bottom and a canvas upper in cool fabrics. I'm really loving Sanuk's Donna Chill Slip-on, which in addition to a cream-tweedy fabric, lines the whole thing in fuzzy fleece. These are sold out almost everywhere, but I found a few sizes left at Amazon.com. Sanuks retail for about $50.
Are these the cutest shoes in the world? No. But Birks are a classic, and I would be remiss if I didn't mention them in this post. For an everyday mom shoe, these are fine. Not great, not super stylish, but fine. Classic. Shown above are the Nashua Stone Birkibuc Clogs, found at birkenstockusa.com for $80.
My Two Unlikely Favorites
Sigh. At the risk of losing all of our readers due to complete disgust….I heart the fuzzy, adorable Crocs, pictured above left. I know, I know. Feel free to leave hateful comments – I'm a big girl, I can take it. But it won't change the fact that I do love these shoes. Instead of the typical weird, plastic duckfoot-with-holes look, these Crocs are a bit sleeker. And the furry liner with a bow makes them completely (in my opinion) cozy and adorable. These are the Gretel Crocs in Espresso/Mushroom, $50.
Lastly, I'm not typically a fan of the sporty mule, but the Salt & Pepper shoe by Patagonia, $108 at Zappos.com, has caught my eye. It's basically a wooly slipper that comes with a detachable outsole to wear outside. (NOTE: Avoid the Khaki – it's horrifying). So why is this cuter than, say, the Keen clogs listed at the top of this post? I think it has to do with the fact that the Patagonia shoes are slightly fuzzy and cozy. It makes this whole look more intentional somehow. Like cozy is the vibe you are going for. Where the Keens just look a tad boring. Like you gave up looking for something cuter.
Included in the Name of Editorial Integrity
The one thing everyone can agree on is that these shoes, the Dansko Clogs (roughly $120), are "sooooooooo comfortable". They have almost become the ubiquitous mom shoe. What M and I were both able to agree on, is that these clogs, when worn with bootcut denim (so only the toe is peeking out), do look cute. These shoes should never be worn with skinny jeans or cropped denim, and even straight leg styles are iffy.
Now that I think about it…my mom has a closet full of shoes that cause my sister to roll her eyes: "UGly" she proclaims. But when my mom steps out in her "comfort shoes" and hot Rock&Republic bootcut jeans, she looks amazing. And the shoes do look cute.
Fashion is SO subjective. The only real rule, whatever you choose, is to OWN it. Right, M?