Can You Recommend Cool, Winter Slip-On Shoes For Moms With Young Babies?

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Reader Question:

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.

Any advice?

Thanks!

-Jess in Seattle

Answer:

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.

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Traditional Clogs & Mules

 JanuggabbieclogJansanitaclog
 

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. 

Janfryeharnessmule 

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. 

Loafer Inspired

Janpikolinos Jansanukchill
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.
 

Classic Birkenstocks

Janbirk
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

Gretel_10567_top_23D    Janpatagonia

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

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Well, well, well.  These shoes certainly caused a flurry of texts between M and I the other night:

"Cute!"

"Not Cute!"

"Fugly!"

"No, Blingy-er!"

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?

xo,

S

 
 

18 COMMENTS

  1. You forgot my favorites! What would I do without my Toms? PLUS, in a bit of “good mom karma,” they send a free pair of shoes to a developing country for every pair you buy. Perhaps that’s why I own them in 3 colors. Seriously, they slip right on and wear like iron, considering they’re just canvas.
    And, of course, my Minnetonka moccasins. Yeah, I know they don’t completely fit the rules of the question (the top of your foot shows, and they’re not sock-friendly)…but they’re still the most-worn shoe in my closet.
    And I’m loving the crocs. Super cute. Super comfy. 🙂

  2. I rely heavily on my Tsubo Ingas on weekends – what about a full-coverage Tsubo? Like the Doro or Storni. Oh so comfortable. And exudes Japanese dork/hip cache.

  3. In addition to all the “mom requirements” mentioned in Jess’s initial question, I’ve got a foot condition that requires shoes with a lot of arch support. So I wear the Dansko’s that you mentioned out of necessity and therefore have to just tell myself that they’re SUPER CUTE whether they are or not. ; ) (I have multiple colors.)

  4. My friend has those fuzzy Crocs and they look adorable (when worn with the right outfit, of course). I was shocked to hear who made them. I still plan to boycott the traditional Crocs, but I won’t lie, the fuzzy ones are tempting…
    I do concurr, though – traditional Dansko Clogs take the cake when it comes to comfy mom shoes.

  5. I recently purchased the Privo Nhala as my “mom” shoe… my non-athletic shoe to go with jeans and casual mom outfits. I found them comfortable and cute. I always seem to lose my shoe when I wear clogs or mules, so that style just doesn’t work for me, plus when it’s wet outside, I like a fully enclosed shoe.
    I also got Clarks Dellwood Birch for a little more dressy stuff. I can wear those to the office and chase around the toddler and walk around the city.
    Just recently found this site from your guest post on Rookiemoms. Love it!

  6. Amy – I LOVE Toms! I left them off the list because I didn’t think they were winter friendly. Are yours holding up well, even in the cold & wet?
    And seriously – everyone really loves those Danskos. I heard someone refer to them once as “sex for your feet”. LOL
    Love the two Tsubo picks, Jbal. They are a bit more sneaker-like, so I don’t know if you can really just cram your foot in hands-free, but the Stornis I LOVE.
    Liz – my favorite Merrells are the Plie in black patent. Readers, what do you think?
    Plie: http://www.zappos.com/merrell-plie-black-patent
    Reena – I’ve started noticing that Clarks seem to be stepping up their game, fashion-wise. Last year I blogged about boots that I still regret not getting. Thanks for the reminder about Clarks! http://www.aintnomomjeans.com/2008/11/found-a-comfortable-high-heel-boot.html

  7. S – My Toms are awesome. When I wear them in the rain…they dry. And I can put them in the washer. But I wouldn’t wear them in the snow (but that would just be dumb). Also, I have a pair of the suede ones (yes, in blue!), and they definitely work as fall/winter shoes. So long as you have a pair of shoes for really cold weather, you’d be totally fine!

  8. Hey, thanks for the suggestions! You guys rock. I love that Patagonia mule.
    I actually ended up going with the Groundhog 52 Oxford (which has laces, but doesn’t need to really be tied, they’re more for show) and the Keen Wear Around Lace (again, has laces, but it’s slip-on). The Keens look heinous online, but are surprisingly pretty cute in person.
    About those Dansko’s, I’ve heard the same thing about how comfortable they are, but they kind of just look like these giant, heavy, black bricks. I guess I shouldn’t knock them till I try them though, eh?
    Thanks again!

  9. I have spent numerous hours searching online for a mom shoe that I think is stylish but still accomplishes what i want – comfortable, low heel, clog-slip on style. My husband wants to burn my Danskos. What I came up with (before reading your post) is the Frye belted harness mule. I plan to order them shortly – I have my fingers crossed.

  10. I ditched the Keens, it turns out they really are ugly once you try to wear them with anything other than that one, specific pair of jeans and not as slipn as I thought.
    The Groundhogs are holding up and still slip on.

  11. Thanks for the follow-up, Jess! Sigh. That’s so often a problem with comfortable shoes – they only look good with that one, specific pair of jeans. Good to hear about the Groundhogs, though!
    xo,
    S

  12. Months later….I am actually waiting to buy the Frye Carson Clog –
    http://www.thefryecompany.com/Product-Women-Shoes-Clogs_Mules-70160LBN.aspx
    Bought them online from a department store in a 6 (my usual size) and they were too long but otherwise perfect. I couldn’t find a black pair anywhere. Turns out, Frye had stopped making them and only just made them available again in mid-April. This is my perfect “mom shoe” – beautiful, comfortable. I don’t exactly need them now – I’ll wait until fall.
    Wearing these for summer:
    http://www.donaldjpliner.com/product/PENNY,925,6.htm#

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