As leather shoes drop out of favor, cattle hides pile up

As leather shoes drop out of favor, cattle hides pile up

Allbirds, a San Francisco-based startup, makes shoes out of wool. (Allbirds)

In 1991, when Scott Starbuck opened City Soles in Chicago, most of the shoes his customers wanted were made with leather from cow hides.

Today, an increasing number of shoppers have a more vegan sensibility about what goes on their feet, demanding shoes with non-animal elements such as canvas, microfiber and plastic. Making the choice easier are advances in the quality of fake leather, which is now so good most buyers can’t distinguish it from the real thing.

“You see more and more people wearing other materials,” even if they aren’t vegetarians or vegans, Starbuck said.

That’s bad news for the leather industry, because footwear makers are by far the biggest buyers, accounting for 55% of demand. What’s worse, the world’s appetite for American beef is sending near-record numbers of cattle to the slaughterhouse, leaving a glut of hides as demand for leather slows.

Once a status symbol and a staple of formal outfits, leather shoes are falling on hard times. Not only has the casual-dress trend fueled the rise of sneakers for all occasions, but more shoppers are avoiding products made with animal parts such as hides and furs. While the shift partly reflects an abundance of choices in materials, consumers cite growing discomfort with the slaughter of cattle and concern over the environmental impact of raising them by the millions.

Turning cattle hides into leather is just one of many uses for cattle carcasses, which humans have been exploiting since early civilizations made food containers from intestines and soap from fat. While the most valuable parts today are those sold as ground beef or steaks, remnants such as bones, blood and fat end up in things like fertilizer, gelatin, medicines and textiles. Hides and other byproducts account for about 44% of the slaughtered animal’s weight but less than 10% of its value, government data show.

Hides are the key ingredient in a global market for leather goods that was worth $93.2 billion in 2016, according to Research and Markets. A single hide can produce enough leather for 11 cowboy boots, 20 footballs or one bucket seat. But supplies of the raw material have been out of balance for several years.

Cheaper alternatives

In 2014, the number of hides plunged after a drought forced U.S. ranchers to shrink their cattle herds to the smallest size in six decades. As a result, prices shot up. Manufacturers had to figure out ways of using less leather in their products, said Ken Maxfield, president of the Maxfield Report, a hide-market publication. Years later, demand hasn’t bounced back.

“The industry has struggled to recover,” said Stephen Sothmann, president of the U.S. Hide, Skin & Leather Assn. “We haven’t regained market share.”

Hide prices are among the lowest since 2009. They’ve dropped as much as 24% from the same time last year and are down by almost half since the peak in 2014, according to the most recent monthly report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The market probably hasn’t bottomed yet, according to a recent report by Harland M. Braun & Co., which supplies hides to tanners.

Younger consumers, in particular, prefer more casual footwear to dress shoes, and they are gravitating to non-leather products from companies with a compelling feel-good story about how the products are made, said Jocelyn Thornton, senior vice president of creative services at the retail and fashion advisory firm Doneger Group.

Plastic shoes

For example, Allbirds, a San Francisco-based shoe startup, makes athletic shoes out of wool. Adidas AG, the giant sportswear maker headquartered in Herzogenaurach, Germany, has made a million shoes out of up-cycled plastics.

“They’re not necessarily seeking out synthetics,” Thornton said. “They’re just looking for things that are better for the environment, better for the future.”

Leather shoes will retain the biggest share of $83.7 billion in U.S. footwear sales this year, according to Hamburg, Germany-based researcher Statista. But athletic footwear sales jumped 14.3% in 2016, while leather shoes tumbled 12%, a trend that’s expected to continue, Statista said.

Leather items that remain in vogue contain less of the material. Little ankle booties with synthetic cutouts have replaced knee-high leather boots, and generously sized leather bags have made way for smaller purses such as clutches, according to Maxfield, the leather market researcher.

Automobile makers are selling more cars, but they’re finding reasons to cut down on the leather they use. Some consumers demand a “fully vegan car,” and electric-vehicle maker Tesla Inc.’s new Model Y sport utility vehicle won’t use any leather at all, Chief Executive Elon Musk said at the company’s annual meeting June 5.

‘Dead-cow wallets’

Even the traditional leather billfold may be on its way out. Over the next decade, people will ditch “dead-cow wallets” as commerce moves to more mobile and digital payments, Dan Schulman, CEO of PayPal Holdings Inc., told analysts in a May 24 call. “They will be a thing of the past.”

To be sure, demand is growing for fine leather. There’s actually not enough supply of the high-end hides from pampered young calves that produce the soft, unblemished leather needed for the pricey handbags and other luxury goods favored by the wealthy, according to Don Ohsman, publisher of industry researcher Hidenet.

But those markets are small compared with shoes, which account for more than half. About 20% goes to cars, 12% to furniture upholstery, and 13% to bags, according to Sothmann, the industry group president.

Alexis Lavko, a consultant at Epsilon Economics in Chicago, has traded leather flat shoes for a pair of Rothy’s — made from recycled plastic bottles — that cost $125. She says they look stylish enough for the office and didn’t need to be broken in.

“I love the fact that this company was trying to figure out something to do with things that are getting thrown in landfills,” Lavko said. “I like them better than any other leather flats.”


7 Reasons To Stop Wearing Shoes In Your House

Your home might be your castle, but that doesn’t mean you have to treat it like some kind of dirty medieval fortress. Taking off your shoes inside can help keep your home in good condition, create a more relaxed atmosphere and cut down on dirt and dust.

However, that’s barely the beginning; keeping those shoes off inside can improve foot health, and overall hygiene around the home. So after reading these top seven reasons for why you shouldn’t wear shoes inside, you’ll probably agree there is pretty much no reason to be keeping those clompers on indoors.

1. It’s already more common than you think

Excuse me for indulging in an argumentum ad populum, but it’s worth pointing out that taking your shoes off inside doesn’t make you some kind of pedantic oddball. On the contrary, you’re weird if you don’t, according to this survey that found 87 percent of Americans take their shoes off indoors. You might be a bit surprised by that figure.

“But wait,” I hear you say, “none of my friends make me take my shoes off at their houses!”

That’s true. Indeed, the same study found around half of Americans don’t ask guests to follow suit. Naturally, this goes a long way towards explaining why everyone seems to think they’re the only ones who go barefoot indoors. The reality is though, that pretty much everyone is already doing it, and you just don’t know it.

2. Your shoes are disgusting

Sorry, but it’s true. Research from the University of Arizona found that a new pair of shoes can attract 440,000 units of bacteria within two weeks. Not only that, but researchers also noted that viruses thrive better on the bottom of your shoes than they do on toilet seats. So your shoes are basically Trojan horses laden with bacteria and viruses, clumping around your supposedly clean house.

3. The disgusting-ness of your shoes is getting everywhere

At this point, you might be wondering if it’s really that bad to wear dirty shoes inside.

Turns out it is. Remember that research from in #2? Those same researchers also looked at just how much bacteria is transferred from shoes to clean surfaces.

On clean tiles, researchers found a 90 percent transfer rate. If you think that’s bad, then don’t even think about carpet. Still, you might think that’s no big deal; indeed, most of the time it isn’t. However, according to Jonathan Sexton, a research assistant at the University of Arizona’s College of Public Health, the research indicates that wearing shoes indoors could be downright dangerous for small children.

Speaking to ABC, she explained that small children can put their hands in their mouths as much as 80 times an hour — those same hands they tend to play on the floor with. “That means that your child can possibly be exposed to every single bacteria that you picked up on your shoe […] all the bacteria from the park, the store, everywhere you went that day,” she said.

Not horrified yet? Well how about the fact that…

4. There’s always poo on your shoes. Always. Sorry.

We all know that depressing feeling when you sink your foot into some dog-do. Next time it happens to you, take solace in the fact that we’re all walking around with poo on our shoes. All day, everyday.

After all, that was pretty much the finding of a research projectcommissioned by the Rockport shoe company (make what you will of that) into just how gross shoes are. As the company discovered, basically the first thing us consumers do when we get hold of their product is — you guessed it — step in poo.

After swabbing 26 shoes worn for at least three months, researchers found all but one pair were infected with coliform bacteria. For the record, coliform bacteria is universally found in the gut and feces of large mammals (like for example, human beings with poor hygiene). While the bacteria aren’t dangerous in themselves, they are often used by health authorities to gauge whether something has been contaminated with fecal matter.

Even the researchers were grossed out by just how much evidence of fecal contamination they found on ordinary shoes. “I’m starting to make myself paranoid,” microbiologist Charles P. Gerba said. “It seems like we step in a lot more poop than I thought.”

5. They’re noisy

Poo isn’t the only threat to your health that your shoes pose indoors. Noise pollution can be genuinely harmful for your health. what’s the noisiest thing in your home? Boots, obviously, but shoes in general. So do yourself and everyone around you a favor, and trade those noisy shoes at the door for some silent slippers.

6. They are destroying your floor

Your shoes are destroying your hardwood floor. Or any even vaguely delicate flooring. Over time, shoes can leave scratches, dings and scuffs that can be expensive or impossible to remove. Save yourself problems in the long run, and just don’t wear shoes inside.

7. Your feet will be healthier

A landmark 2007 study found that shoes have secretly dedicated the past few thousand years to mutating our feet. The study compared 180 modern humans from three population groups (Sotho, European and Zulu) with 2,000-year-old skeletons. Who had the healthiest feet? The 2,000-year-old skeletons, of course.

Somehow, all our technological progress of the past 2000 years has succeeded in making our feet worse off — well, not quite everyone’s. Of the modern humans, the Zulu participants had the healthiest feet. The Zulu participants were also the least likely to wear full closed-in shoes in their daily lives, and most likely to go barefoot.

Researchers point to a number of reasons why our feet are worse off, but perhaps journalist Adam Sternbergh put it best when he said, “Imagine if someone put a cast on your arm when you were three years old and you never took it off. Your arm would stop working. That’s kind of what’s happened with our feet.”

Of course, we can’t all go barefoot all day, but at least at home you can get a reprieve from those devices that have destroyed your feet.

Do you wear shoes indoors? Why or why not? Let us know in the comments below!


Explore Artisan Handcraft at the Pasadena Bead & Design Show

Pasadena Bead & Design Show is Thursday, July 26th, 2018, through Sunday July 29th, at Hilton Pasadena. The largest bead & design event in California –with a growing record of attendance over the four days –is open to the public and everyone is welcome! We invite attendees to shop more than 300 exhibits of beautiful, limited-edition, artisan handcraft, including jewelry, beads, gemstones, clothing, paintings, crafts, pottery, glass, silver, ceramics, and textiles.

Pasadena Bead & Design Show was established by artisans who were inspired by the Arts and Crafts Movement and the traditional sidewalk art shows of Paris. They wanted to offer the widest range of artisanal products to be found anywhere –providing an opportunity to eliminate the middleman and buy direct from artisans and tradespeople –and at exceptional prices.

Artisan exhibitors are chosen for artistic ability and singularity of work. The original pieces are created by the artisans and are offered for sale here, often for the first time. Many have spent upwards of forty years, perfecting their work, reviving lost styles, using meticulous, time-honored techniques and age-old tools to produce fine, handcrafted, artisan design.

The more adventuresome attendees may want to roll up their sleeves and participate in one of the 150 workshops offered at the show, taught by an artist-in-residence. Workshops start at only $20, and offer step-by-step instruction for all skill levels, working in various media, including wirework, jewelry design, art clay silver, metalwork, chainmaille, champlevé, beadmaking, crystal setting, copper electroforming, enameling, mixed media, tassel making, and hand knotting.

Many products offered are much-sought-after collectibles: African trade beads, Afghan kilims, nomadic textiles, folk art, ephemera, buttons, Taxco silver, Victorian jewelry, Roman glass, ethnographic objects, ceremonial pendants, carved marble figurines, needlework, and art nouveau painted silk.

Along with its artisan exhibitors, Pasadena Bead & Design Show also promotes artisan tradespeople who showcase a vast assortment of beads, jewelry and design components such as conch pearls, amber, lapis lazuli, custom gemstones, opals, Burmese rubies, Jizera garnets, art deco emeralds, antique pearls, gold and silver pieces, hard-to-find decorative charms, vintage artisan beads, and handwrought findings.

Show hours 10am to 6pm, Thursday through Sunday, July 26 – 29. Admission is $8 online or $10 at the door, good all four days. Hilton Pasadena, 168 S Los Robles Ave, Pasadena. Visit

The Secret to Breaking in New Running Shoes—Without Any Pain

runner tying shoe

For over two years, I was devoted to my Adidas Ultraboost shoes. I ran my first two marathons in the first-generation, uncaged version and swore by their lightweight, knit uppers and cushioned foam soles. Then I ran my third marathon in New Balance Fresh Foam 1080s, which felt even more supportive without adding any bulk—I continued running in them for almost a year.

But a few weeks ago, while training for a half marathon in the 1080s, I decided I didn’t need so much support and switched back to my Ultraboosts for a quick 5K. But the shoe that I used to swear by suddenly murdered my feet.

My shoes are my lifeline in the sport, so the possibility that my favorite running shoes wouldn’t work for me anymore made me start to panic. But as it turns out, there’s a right way to transition sneakers.

As much as any runner loves their tried-and-true shoes, they’re eventually going to have to replace them. That’s because, “over time, and depending on what surfaces you run on and how hard you are on your feet, your shoes will break down,” says running coach John Honerkamp. It used to be that companies recommended replacing running shoes after 300 miles. Now, materials have gotten more advanced and more durable, so they can handle even more wear and tear.

“Once you break in most newer shoes—which only takes five to 10 miles—they’re stable for at least 400 to 500 miles,” says biomechanist Martyn Shorten, Ph.D., director of the Runner’s World Shoe Lab. Other shoes can last even longer: The new Nike Epic React, for example, is billed as wearable up to 700 miles, says Knox Robinson, cofounder of the Black Roses NYC Running Collective and a Nike Run Coach.

Nike Epic React Flyknit Women’s Running Shoe$150.00

If you’re replacing your old pair with the exact same shoe, “sneaker technology has evolved enough that you don’t need to spend as much time breaking them in,” Robinson says. “You’ll be able to wear those kicks fresh out of the box.” Sure, the shoe might feel a little stiffer than your broken-down pair, but your feet will already be used to the particular specs of that style.

But if you want to shake things up—maybe you want more or less support, you want to try a new brand your speedy friend recommended, you’re just sick of your old shoes, or a company discontinued your favorite style—it’s less about breaking in the shoe and more about breaking in your body, Shorten says.

“Your body can and does adapt to different shoes over time, but the key is to avoid sudden changes,” he says. “I wouldn’t recommend throwing out your old pair and immediately jumping into your new pair—make that transition over a period of a couple of weeks.”

That means you shouldn’t just toss your old shoes for a new pair as soon as you feel them breaking down (when you notice heavy wear on the soles or your toes poking through the uppers, or that you’re feeling more aches and pains or soreness in your feet, shins, or knees), Honerkamp says. As soon as you see or feel any of those telltale signs, though, that’s when you should start shopping. Once you find the right pair, keep running in your old shoes for another four to six weeks and start working in your new ones.

“Alternating your shoes will help your old ones last longer and give your feet time to adjust to the new ones,” Honerkamp says. Not to mention, runners who alternate two different pairs of running shoes have a 39 percent lower risk of running injury than those who almost always ran in the same shoes, according to a study in the Scandinavian Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports.

Don’t go HAM on your first few runs in those shiny new kicks either. “Start with an easy paced three- to five-mile run,” Robinson says. “Give yourself time to understand what’s going on with the relationship between the shoe and the sweat and the legs.” Then, as your feet adjust, you can slowly build up your mileage until things feel A-OK.

If you’re not swapping your old shoes for a fresh version of the same style, be smart about the shoes you switch to. Good running shoes don’t come cheap, so it’s important to seek out a pair that really works for you—not just the pair someone swears will take three minutes off your PR, or the ones Desi Linden won the Boston Marathon in.

“I always recommend going to a running specialty store where you can get really detailed about your needs,” Shorten says. “Just because a shoe is popular and selling well doesn’t mean that it’s going to be right for you.”

And make sure you test them out first. “I’ve noticed that we’re really in a moment where we’re going on feeling—a lot of brands are shifting the focus to how the shoe feels versus certain features, promises, or even aesthetics,” Robinson says. Because this is a case where first impressions really matter, “most running specialty stores will allow you to run in the store or even outside the store to test a pair,” Honerkamp adds.

“Base your decision on how comfortable you feel in the shoes,” Shorten says. “If you put it on your foot and it doesn’t feel right, that’s a good indicator of whether or not it will work for you.” And when you do buy a pair, Honerkamp recommends doing your first run on a treadmill so that you can return them if they don’t work well after a few miles.

Treadmill trial run or not, you need to ease into your new shoes. That’s because when your foot is used to a certain level of support, stiffness, or flexibility, changes at the ground level can have serious effects all the way up your body. Picture this: If you get a new shoe with a lot more cushion than your old shoe, that sole is going to be thicker, which means you’re probably going to have to pick your foot up a little higher than you’re used to—otherwise, you’ll trip. It might take a run or two to get your bearings.

“A lot of these shoes have so many features that there might be something going on in the shoe that’s working against your stride in a subtle way, so you need to feel it out,” Robinson says.

Whatever running shoes you choose, your body will adapt. You just need to be smart about the process and patient enough to let your feet catch up to your fancy new kicks.


For shoes that fit your style

For shoes that fit your style

For shoes that fit your style

Glam up your look with trendy shoes that can add to your personality. From mules to stacked heels, experts suggest many options.

Shreyasi Pathak, Stylist at Vajor and Harkirat Singh, MD at Woodland list down some top trends. Lace-up Espadrilles: If you want to update your casual summer outfit, add espadrilles to the mix.

Available in different colours, patterns and styles they can work with any style and look. Laced up espadrilles are ideal to add extra chic vibe to your outfit, these espadrille wedges with back tie-ups and suede finish are sure to make lasting impressions. They are casual yet classy!

Mules: Mules are backless shoes, and can be worn with pretty much everything. It can be paired with slim leg pants that hits above the ankle. A popping hued pair of mules can be beautifully worn with a muted dress and a sling bag to get a perfect balanc

This style makes it a go-to choice for any evening event! This is an ideal style for summers because of its breezy, effortless feel and iconic presence in every known fashion figure’s shoe closet.

Stacked heels: The short stacked heel has been doing the rounds since last spring and is a great staple footwear. Frequently seen in a wooden heel, these shoes are comfortable yet give that extra height. Stacked heels are perfect for both day and night looks! You can wear it with wide leg linen pants or denim for the day look. While you can opt for the fun printed midi skirt for your night look.

Boho sandals: For a more elaborate bohemian look, such sandals are your go-to choice. Embellished and embroidered, these strappy sandals keep your feet stylish and comfortable at the same time.

High top sneakers: High-tops have been around since forever and serve numerous purposes. The trick to styling such statement sneakers is to play down your rest of the outfit a bit, just straight fit jeans and regular looking t-shirt will do. And also, they are ideal kicks for off duty looks.

Slip-ons: Slip-ons are favourable choice for summers. They are very easy to wear and they look extremely stylish with any casual outfit. Go ahead and experiment them with desirable colour combinations this season.


Runners have many factors to consider when shoe shopping

Cross country running series...

Whether you are a novice or veteran runner, buying shoes can be very overwhelming. The style of shoe constantly changes, as well as the latest trends in running. The biggest mistake runners can make when looking for shoes is “bargain hunting.” This can lead to shoes that aren’t designed for your foot structure, causing injury, miserable runs and lack of motivation towards training.

There are a few simple steps that can be taken when purchasing shoes to ensure a quality shoe that is appropriate for you.

Understanding pronation vs. supination

Pronation occurs when the heel hits the ground and rolls through the toe during foot strike. This is how your foot reduces the stress of impact with running. Excessive pronation is when there is too much roll from the outside to the inside of the foot, causing the arch of the foot to collapse to the ground. Excessive supination is when the outside aspect of the foot takes all the shock and the foot is unable to maintain neutral position and absorb forces evenly.

Assessing foot posture

To determine what foot type you have, stand in front of a mirror barefoot. You should see an arch on the middle aspect of the foot. A neutral foot is when there is approximately a ½ inch of space between the foot and the ground. A pronated foot is when there is minimal to no space between the arch and the ground. A supinated foot is when there is greater than 1 inch of space between the foot and the ground. You can further assess your foot type with a dynamic motion by squatting down and watching what happens to your arch and foot position.

Choosing the right shoe

Excessive pronators should choose a shoe with a straight shape. Motion control shoes would be the most appropriate for this foot type as they help prevent the foot from rolling in too far and are the most rigid and controlling shoe.

Excessive supinators should choose a shoe with a curved shape. Cushioned shoes allow for more shock absorption and encourage increased foot motion with less medial support. Neutral/normal arches should look for a semi-curved shape. Stability shoes are the most appropriate as they provide an excellent blend of cushioning, medial support and durability. There are also high-performance shoes which are generally designed for race day. These shoes are lighter, have less cushioning, are lower to the ground, and have a lower heel to toe ramp. Because these shoes lack normal stability and cushioning, they are designed for “serious” or elite runners vs. the novice runner.

Properly preparing before shopping

Shopping at a specialty running store will help with having a second set of eyes to look at your feet. The sales representatives working at running stores have specialized training in properly assessing every runner for the perfect shoe.

A few key things to check off the list when heading to the store:

  • Shop in the afternoon when your feet are at their largest
  • Bring your old shoes for comparison
  • Wear the socks you plan to run in
  • Bring orthotics/insoles you plan to wear in the shoes
  • Make sure both feet are measured for size, because one foot is always larger than the other

Ensuring the proper fit

When trying on shoes, check to make sure there is adequate room at the toe box by pressing your thumb between the end of your longest toe and the top of the shoe. Make sure there is enough width in the shoe but not enough to allow your foot to slide around when running. Your heel should snugly fit against the back of the shoe without sliding forward or up and down when running. When the shoe is securely tied, make sure the laces aren’t pressing too tightly on the top of the foot. Last but not least, make sure you have the chance to run in the shoes, whether it is on a treadmill or outside. It is the only way you will truly know if they are the shoes for you.


Best slip-on shoes for men 2018: from Gucci to Vans

TODO alt text

If you’ve navigated your way to a round-up of the best slip-on shoes for men, chances are you’re a busy sort, which is lucky, because our list of the top laceless options in the shops right now not only saves you browsing time, but shoe-tying time too.

  • Whether you’re whipping a Rolls or a Renault, a gentleman’s shoe wardrobe is never complete without a pair of the very best driving shoes
  • If you know it’s a loafer you’re after, check out our list of the best loafers
  • Something for indoors, sir? These are our best slippers for men, for cosy toes and impeccable style

King of the slip-on shoes, and one that’s been making a huge resurgence lately, is the lordly loafer.

Not as dandyish or difficult to pull off as you might at first think, loafers can be amazingly comfortable but also smart enough to wear to work as well as out for dinner afterwards.

It’s with that in mind that we crown the Paul Smith Glynn Suede Penny Loafers our best men’s slip on shoes.

For their versatility and sumptuous luxury construction, they’re hard to beat, but for a more casual look, there are laid-back Vans slip-ons, retro Gucci loafers, and more.

The best men's slip on shoes


A smart suede loafer that takes you from desk to drinks to… well, anywhere

Best for: The office
Material: Suede
Size: 6-12
+Premium suede upper+Soft leather insole

A slip-on shoe that’s smart enough to wear to the office? It’s the holy grail of footwear, surely, but it’s not as hard to find as you might think.

These Paul Smith loafers are our best slip on shoes for work thanks to their sleek almond shape and premium construction: buttery soft suede, supple leather insoles that are said to make breaking in as painless as possible, and an overall minimal design that really shows off the quality build.

TODS Gomma Rafia Suede Skate Shoes


Part espadrille, part skate shoe, part loafer, all awesome

Best for: Premium skate shoes
Material: Suede
Size: 6-10
+Suede for a luxurious twist+Espadrille-style detailing

For a new twist on the espadrille, these TODS shoes hit the mark for casual weekend wear.

Their streamlined shape and premium suede upper leaves them looking a little closer to a loafer than you’d reckon for a skate shoe, but with just a hint of raffia for that classic espadrille style, a chunkier sole and a striped ribbon trim just off the vamp, they strike just the right balance: a throw-on-and-go shoe that still looks polished.

Vans Classic Black Slip-On Trainers


Whether for grinding rails or Saturdays at the garden centre, these Vans shoes always look iconic

Best for: Small feet
Material: Textile
Size: 3-8
+Ultra-comfortable rubber soles+Contrasting stitching for interest

Former skaters, rejoice. While we’re big proponents of the idea that you can’t age out of the Vans slip-on, if it’s a more grown-up look you’re after, we suggest foregoing the checkerboard and trying these all-black slip-ons instead.

This unisex shoe’s style is still iconic, the chunky rubber sole is still as comfy as you remember, and it’s still a thrill to be repping that little label, but with the added bonus of having a match-all shoe for off-duty dressing.

Gucci Roos Horsebit Embroidered Leather And Checked Tweed Loafers


They’re not just for Sloane Rangers anymore

Best for: Designer
Material: Goat leather, tweed
Size: 5-13
+New twist on a classic shoe+Luxury leather upper

Now that fashion bloggers aren’t old enough to remember yuppies, we think it’s probably safe to channel ‘80s power dressing again, and a great place to start is with these Gucci Roos.

There’s a lot to be said for the classic one-colour horsebit loafer, of course, but it’s back for 2018 with a brand new twist courtesy of a flashy checked tweed upper, and it ticks a lot of boxes. Use to brighten up a monochrome ensemble, or pattern clash, if you’re feeling brave enough.

Polo Ralph Lauren Thompson 2 Pique Slip On


No-rub and breathable, these are our best summer slip-ons

Best for: Style and comfort
Material: Textile, leather
Size: 6-11
+Breathable pique upper+Cushioned collar

Vans not quite your speed? For those of a preppier disposition, there’s a great alternative in the form of these Polo Ralph Lauren slip on shoes.

They come in a refined navy and tan colourway, with leather branding at the heel that’s both flash and functional, forming part of the padded colour intended to keep the shoe from rubbing, and the upper is a breathable pique textured for interest.

The elasticated inserts make it easy to squeeze your foot in and keep it there – oh, and it’s got a ruddy great horse on it.


Is it the shoes? For pro golfers, the choice is crucial

Image result for SPT-LPGA23p-7Each golf course is a six- or seven-mile walk, so professional golfers must be comfortable in their own shoes. And in the case of Lexi Thompson at the Marathon Classic last year, style is important as well.

Each golf course is a six- or seven-mile walk, so professional golfers must be comfortable in their own shoes. And in the case of Lexi Thompson at the Marathon Classic last year, style is important as well.

One of golf’s sacred rules is players can only use 14 clubs.

But for professionals, a 15th club on their feet can be as important as a putter or an extra wedge: golf shoes.

While weekend hackers nationwide simply drive to their local sporting goods store, try on the newest pair of Nikes, FootJoys, or New Balances and head to the cash register, professionals go through rigorous testing and research before they pick their footwear.

“Every aspect of design and development has changed,” said Chris Garrett, director of consumer marketing at FootJoy. “It’s really limitless.”

An 18-hole round on a championship golf course usually translates into a six- or seven-mile walk. That doesn’t include time spent on the driving range and putting green. In all, professional golfers spend about eight hours per day in their shoes. Comfort is king.

When FootJoy was founded in 1857, shoes were straightlined so you could wear them on either foot. The company manufactured boots for Union soldiers during the Civil War, ushering in right-foot and left-foot specific boots and shoes. The technological advances of the past 20 years dwarf what occurred the previous 130 years.

“Comfort is the first thing,” said Dottie Ardina, who splits her time between the LPGA and Symetra Tours. “My favorites are the FootJoy Emerges because there’s a cushion, as long they’re white. I like white golf shoes. And I like them with plastic spikes. The spikeless ones are slippery.”

Shoes can be tailored to a player’s swing and the elements that make them comfortable are cushioning in the heel and forefoot, as well as flexibility when bending the foot in a natural stride. Stability, mobility, and traction are the hallmarks.

“If it’s not comfortable, we don’t make it,” Garrett said.

Each week, tour reps from all the major footwear companies travel to stops on the LPGA, PGA, European, and Champions Tour events and cater to their clients. They communicate about discomfort, if the shoe is performing well, and if any adjustments need to be made. Then they pack up and go off to the next event.

“There are a lot of players who do consider footwear as equipment, so they take it very seriously and they’re very knowledgeable about it,” Garrett said. “There are players like Adam Scott who are very particular about their shoes. We’ll give him a new prototype pair of shoes, and he’ll walk us through all the features and benefits before we take him through them.”


LPGA pro Brittany Lincicome designs her own shoes for FootJoy and goes through at least one pair per month. She prefers white shoes.

Brittany Lincicome designs her own shoes for FootJoy and goes through at least one pair per month. She used to wear BOAs, which do not tie and instead use an adjustable ball to twist the laces tight. During a tournament in South Korea, the ball on Lincocome’s shoes broke and she didn’t have an extra pair. A crisis was averted when a new pair of shoes was shipped to her.

“I can literally pull mine out of the box and wear them the next day, which is amazing,” Lincicome said. “I like the all-white ones because they go with every outfit. I used to color coordinate, but you’d have to travel with multiple pairs of shoes, and that’s too much work.”

The days of “shrink it and pink it,” when men’s shoes were made smaller and hues of pink were added to make them women’s shoes have long since passed. As the number of women’s golfers has surged in the past decade, so has the inventory and options for women’s golf shoes. Data indicates women buy more than double the amount of golf shoes than men, a statistic Ardina doesn’t disagree with.

“I feel like I have more golf shoes than sneakers,” she said.

If you’re watching a tour event and a pair of golf shoes catch your eye, 99 percent of the time you can find them at a national retailer. Golf clubs almost are universally fitted for professionals, but shoes come right off the shelf.

Amateurs enjoy the flashy looks and vibrant colors offered in today’s shoes. But even if they don’t realize it, their shoes are rarely the correct size. Consider it a nationwide epidemic.

“We do tens of thousands of fittings and no matter where we do it or how often we do it, 70 percent of people are wearing the wrong size shoe, which is pretty remarkable,” said Garrett, noting golfers usually pick a size too big.

Another disconnect between pros and amateurs is spikes. Take a poll of friends at your local track this weekend, and you’re likely to find that a majority are wearing spikeless shoes. Old-fashioned single metal spikes are dwindling, but there remains a sizeable contingent of players who still wear some form of a metal spike. It’s often a soft spike with a metal nail in the middle.

“You don’t want to slip,” said Leticia Ras-Anderica, who estimated she goes through seven pairs of shoes per season. “I’ve used FootJoy since I was little. They’re just so comfortable. It’s really important. You can slip, and it affects your swing and your shot.”

Lincicome is another player who bypasses spikeless shoes because of the slip factor. The spikeless shoe phenomenon began in 2010, when Fred Couples wore a pair of Ecco Golf Street shoes at the Masters. The man who personifies cool sent sales of the casual shoes soaring.

Mel Reid could be considered the Fred Couples of the LPGA Tour. She’s a low-stress personality who makes everything look hip. The United Kingdom native has a casual style that translates on and off the golf course.

“I’m not a massive fan of golf shoes, so I think it’s important that you can walk off the golf course and have dinner with friends,” said Reid, who wears Nike shoes. “Obviously, you need traction too. Golf is getting modernized a bit, and I feel like people need to walk off the golf course and not have to change their shoes.”

Reid cycles through a pair of shoes every month and makes sure to coordinate them with the proper outfit. She’s never experienced an issue with slipping in spikeless shoes, and actually used to practice in Vans because she found them more comfortable than golf shoes.


The Shoe Designer Who Built Her Brand From The Sole Up

Designer and founder of Alejandra G. ShoesALEJANDRA G.

What woman doesn’t love a great pair of shoes?  When you can’t find what you are looking for it would be great if you could just make your own.  Shoe designer and entrepreneur Alejandra G.  had been creating a mark for herself with her out of the box style.  Since her first collection launched in 2012, the company hasn’t stopped growing.   Her shoes have been worn by Kylie Jenner, Tyra Banks, Giuliana Rancic, Adrienne Bailon, Christina Milian and many more. With comfort and style being of equal importance in her designs, women love them.

Joresa Blount: When did you first get inspired to create a shoe line?

Alejandra:  I’ve always been in love with fashion. I have a picture of me when I was about three years old, holding a special designer fashion kit.  My mom said I always loved drawing, and coloring in coloring books. It would always be really creative with the colors.

I didn’t always know that it would be shoes.  I’ve told this story before, and it’s the absolute truth. I was working for a television production company at the time.  I was making really good money, and I was saving up. I knew I wanted to start something. One of my friends had started a clothing line. She would take me downtown to all the manufacturers, but I noticed that there were no shoe manufacturers.  So, I was playing with the idea of first starting a clothing line.

One night I was having a dream. It was a very vivid, vivid, vivid dream of shoes. They were all candied shoes. One looked like Skittles. They were candy inspired shoes. The next day I went to sketch out what was in my dream. It was so powerful. The dream would not leave me.  I felt like it was my calling. I went and told my friend and family. They were like, what are you talking about? I didn’t know a single person in the fashion business.

Joresa: How can someone who doesn’t have a traditional background in fashion launch a business?

Alejandra:  I always recommend going to some type of school to understand what you are getting into.  With fashion specifically, it’s only 20% designing and the rest is knowing how to run a company. When I met my mentor who referred me to go to school in Milan, I just jumped in when I came back [to Los Angeles].  Before you decide to jump into running any company, especially fashion, make sure you get some form of education. Do as much research on how much it is going to cost to start a company, how much it will to take to run. The more you educate yourself in business 101, the less money you will lose and mistakes you will make.

Alejandra G. ShoesAGS

Joresa: Did you have a good support system when you decided to quit your job and go after your dream?

Alejandra:  Most people said, “what are you doing?”  I didn’t know anyone. It was like, okay, you have a great job.  How are you going to support yourself? How are you going to do this or that?  Why go backwards if you are already moving forward in the television production career?  They supported me, but they were surprised. No one said don’t do it. It was more shock. Then I literally packed up to go to Italy.

Joresa:  Did you have moments of doubt?

Alejandra: Before I was leaving [for Italy], I had a couple of those moments of doubt.  I had a boyfriend at the time. I had best friends I would see on the regular, and I was just putting my whole life on hold to go chase a dream.  I was excited, but I was scared. I felt like it was a complete new chapter in my life. When I got there, it was a whole lot more difficult than I thought.  Not just the school, but it was difficult being away.

Joresa:  You started school in your late 20s.  What would you say to someone who is changing careers later in life?

Alejandra:  People say, oh my God. I should have it figured out. I’m twenty-five [years old].  You have to play in so many different careers. I was a teacher’s assistant, then I got my real estate license, then I got signed to J Records when I was in a rap group, then I was a television producer.  I dabbled in a lot of different things. This is the longest I’ve done something, and I don’t see myself doing anything else. I always tell people it’s never too late to start any of their dreams. You can start in your 40s if you want to. People become successful at all different ages.

Alejandra G. sporting her recognizable shoe line.AGS

Joresa:  How did you gain visibility with your brand?

Alejandra:  My mentor referred me to a shoe rep. I didn’t even know I needed a shoe rep. My mentor asked me how I was going to get into stores. I didn’t know.  I got these key accounts very quickly like Shopbop. My designs took off. I found out later I need public relations, but I didn’t have the money at the time. Everyone I brought on board were independent contractors.  I brought on a PR person, who had been in the business awhile. She fell in love with my brand. She took me to do desk sides with editors, because she’s from New York. So, I met up with all these editors at big magazines, and they fell in love with my brand. We started to get a lot of press in magazines.  Then we started to push that I was latina, and Latina Magazine and Cosmo For Latinas gave me press. They were very supportive.

Because I have lived in L.A. all my life, I have a lot of celebrity friends. I was constantly contacting people to get my shoes on people.  A lot of celebrities who tag me are my personal contacts. It’s all about who you know too.

Joresa:  What defining setback have you experienced on your entrepreneurial journey?

Alejandra:  Spending too much money in the wrong places.  I would think do I have to stop for a minute, and get an investor. It’s always been the money. It takes money to make money.  If I had an investor right now, I would be further ahead.

Joresa:  What advice would you give to someone who feels stuck or not progressing in their business?

Alejandra: They say most startup companies fail within two to three years. If you can get pass those two to three years, then you are in good shape.  It’s the same thing that my dad always tells me. If you have a car and it keeps breaking down, you have to get a new car. You got to figure out how to do something different.  It doesn’t mean to stop doing your dream, but it means revamp. I’ve had revamping moments. If I don’t see a lot of sales coming in then I need to revamp the collection I just did.  I need to come with a new idea. When you don’t see something moving, you can’t keep doing the same thing. It doesn’t mean to switch into another career. It means you have to take another route on how to get it done.  A lot of people want to keep pushing forward on product or even music. If it’s not working you have to figure out a different way to do it. There’s a reason why things are not working.


Shoes made from sugar aim for smaller carbon footprint

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An eco-friendly New Zealand startup hopes to transform the footwear industry and reduce waste by making shoes out of sugar.

“We’ve taken what has been a petroleum-based foam, which is one of the most broadly used components in all of the shoe industry, and we’ve replaced that with sugar,” Joey Zwallinger, co-founder of Allbirds, said in an interview.

Instead, the company uses “Sweetfoam,” the world’s first “carbon negative polymer.” That means the material takes more carbon out of the atmosphere than it produces.

Sugar cane sucks carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and makes sugar. The leftover molasses is turned into ethanol, before undergoing a complex series of steps, which eventually form a polymer. The resulting material is molded into soles for shoes.

The company has  captured interest from some high-profile investors, including actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio. Now Allbirds plans to roll out the technology for all of its shoes, and Zwalling hopes other shoe makers will follow suit.

“It’s really the last piece that we hadn’t solved, so if you look at our other shoes, every single other material has a bio-based story and this was really the one major piece that had the void,” he said.