Monday 15th August 2022
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Taking (challenging) requests: flats

want les essentiels shoe

So many of you have written me asking for a post on flats, and I have been avoiding it for the longest time because I personally can not bear to wear a shoe that doesn’t make me at least a little taller (hence, my love of clogs, and their unbeatable combination of height without pain). But I understand the desire for a comfortable, walkable shoe, so I decided to stop procrastinating on this one and just get down to it. I like the contrast of the crepe sole with the shiny leather on this Want les Essentiels pair.

churchs oxford

You can’t get a whole lot more classic—or natty—than a pair of Church’s wingtop oxfords: they’re not especially cheap, but are well-made and will last forever.

frye loafer

This pair from Frye reminds me of a much more expensive pair from Zero + Maria Cornejo.

lucky brand loafer

The lines on this pair of stylized loafers are nicely streamlined.

doc martens

I know many of you guys still love your Doc Martens, and I’ve got a big soft spot for them too, even though it’s been a while since I’ve owned a pair. I like that this one has a black sole.

everlane loafer

These loafers from Everlane come in a few colors, but I like the idea of going for a pair in navy.

penny loafer

I think penny loafers can be quite chic if you pair them with a slightly edgy outfit.

everlane street shoe

These street shoes, also from Everlane, are technically sneakers, but I think they’re sophisticated enough to wear bopping around town.

everlane babo

These will obviously be better once the weather turns warmer, but they’re really cool-looking.

mansur gavriel shoe

This is a splurgy option—it’s Mansur Gavriel—but that pink is pretty irresistible.

weitzman loafer

This has a nice loafer shape, but it’s as lightweight as a ballet flat. (Here’s a cheaper version).

rachel comey shoe

I love the D’Orsay shape here, and the fact that this one seems very versatile.


Posted on February 9th, 2018 39 Comments

39 Responses

  1. Emily says:

    These are seriously the most comfortable flats around. Super cute, machine washable, and made from recycled water bottles. I love the camo prints.

  2. c.w. says:

    Great selection––you’ve been on fire lately, Kim!

    I often wear “flat” shoes even though the desire for height runs strong in me!

    The Frye & Zero Maria Cornejo flats remind me of the shoes jazz dancers wear. I love them. Something you could slip on with jeans, trousers or dresses.

  3. Maggie says:

    I just bought these bronze oxfords and they are super cute and comfortable (and only $90). I have bad feet and walk everywhere, so flats are a necessity:

  4. supermaggiemay says:

    I’m obsessed with everything this shoemaker does and have two pairs of her fabulous shoes. Handmade. So comfy and unique.

  5. Leslie says:

    I recently discovered Freda Salvador shoes. Really well made and different.

  6. Francine says:

    I must be in the minority here. I detest flats in all forms. Mind you, I’m not in stilettos 24/7, but I gotta have a heel.

    True story….

    About 10 years ago, when my oldest son was about 3, I figured, ok – maybe I need a pair of flats for pick-up and drop off. First (and last) time I wore them to pick him up from preschool, he looks down and sees my shoes. Very loudly he said, “MOM, What are THOSE??!! Take them off NOW!”

    • EW says:

      so with you there. at ‘5″10, I don’t ‘need’ to wear heels but I just don’t feel right without something. even my ‘flats’ have a wedge or a platform ; )

      I was read where Victoria Beckham said wearing flats made her legs look like hockey sticks …and she’s a rail!

      • Francine says:

        One of my favorite quotes EVER (from one of my favorite shows ever, 30ROCK), Elizabeth Banks, “Flats are for quitters.” It’s perfection 🙂

        • EW says:

          Again, with you there. When Netflix took 30rock off I immediately ordered the whole series on dvd. Can’t go w/o my 30rock!

    • Mamavalveeta03 says:

      Those of you that detest flats must never have suffered from foot problems. After 2 torn Achilles‘ tendons, surgery to correct them, and over a year’s recovery, I’ll take flats anytime, thank you very much.

      • suz says:

        Same. I am happy to give up heels in order to actually walk. Foot problems come to us all. Heels are no ones friend in the end.

  7. EW says:

    The wing tips look just like what my BF wears to work!

    I have the everlane’s in grey – they are awesome. I am lusting after the Tod’s gomminni drivers at the moment – they have pair in orange suede with tassels! so pricey though….

  8. sc says:

    if you’re choosing your footwear to never have sex with a man again, you crushed it.

    not that i think all our choices should be for dudes (there’s a time and place)

    but as a chick who a. loves a good flat and b. still wants my husband to find me fuckable –


    i like a sexier flat. statistics show Americans sex lives suck. i’m fighting back on all fronts ; )

    • Lorange says:

      Geez, sc, that’s pretty harsh. Luckily, not everyone finds the same things sexy necessarily.

      • sc says:

        humor. and breathe…

        I am but one opinion. if you love these shoes, do you –

        • Stephanie says:

          Pls share your sexier flats finds!

        • mare says:

          Humor doesn’t have to involve the dismissal of other points of view. I too tend to favor more traditionally feminine flats–though I love a pair of oxfords I recently picked up–but I don’t really get the connection between footwear and fuckability. On a list of the top ten things I consider before buying a pair of shoes, whether men will find me fuckable doesn’t enter into the top twenty. My (monogamous) partner couldn’t pick my foot wear out of a line-up.

  9. Nicole says:

    I was on Team Flats for a long time, but haven’t been in a while. I am on Team Sneakers, though, if that counts. However, I do find that what I like in a flat is a pointy toe and a lower vamp. Makes my legs look longer. I also like a lace up. Things I stay away from are round toes and anything with a bow. Makes me feel like Frumpasaurus Rex.

  10. Lucy says:

    I don’t know if they are available in the US but I am in the U.K. and I live in my Grensons:

    I even have a pair which were a collaboration with Liberty – unfortunately they were a limited edition:

  11. Amy says:

    Almost all black, and all with a high vamp. 🙁

  12. moi says:

    Used to be, you wouldn’t catch me dead in a flat shoe unless it was a running shoe. But in the past five years or so, I’ve begun to give in ever so slightly. I started with the Everlane loafers, which really are all that. Comfy and cool. I also own a pair of Eytys platform sneakers that I like to pair with an oversized slouchy linen suit in summer.

    • Dana D says:

      I find some of these responses disturbing…

      • Mamavalveeta03 says:

        I do, too, Dana. And quite anti-option and anti-feminist.

        • Alexa says:

          How so?

          • DeDe says:

            Because they present heels as your only option if you want to be considered attractive by men. It’s one thing to not be into flats yourself, and that’s fine, but it’s quite another to call others who do like them unfuckable.

          • Mamavalveeta03 says:

            I didnt mean to offend, Alexa, but DeDe summarized my feelings very well. Feminism is about choices…and not just in reproduction, but even, yes…heel heights!

            This blog has always been a judgement-free zone and I hope it stays that way.

        • DeDe says:

          Me three.

          • Alexa says:

            I missed that, in my skimming. And I took the “anti-feminist ” comment personally, because I take everything personally some days 😉
            Thank you for clarifying.

      • KimFrance says:

        I did too, Dana, mildly. And I wasn’t certain whether or not to intervene, because typically in these situations you guys work things out amongst yourselves beautifully without me getting involved. GOACA is growing, and that means new readers who haven’t been around long enough to quite get how supportive we are of each other. Let’s show them how it’s done.

        • Dana D says:

          I replied so late, I didn’t really think anyone would still be reading…

          Yes, we are supportive and yes, hopefully tolerant of a wide range of views.

          We are. most of us, feminists. As a feminist, I don’t want to be “fuckable” because of something I wear…I want respect at all times and good sex when it is kind and doesn’t objectify the other. Because for me, that is what it means to be human.

          You are an excellent referee and we love you for it!

  13. Viajera says:

    I know a decent amount of women who hold a version of the flats=quitters idea.

    I am more bothered by it as a workplace issue. Where I think it should be drummed out of existence, for men *and* women. As in, it should be *gone.* If men don’t need to wear heels to look polished, then they must not be necessary.

    What is a bit odd is, some of these same women won’t wear pink, or have anything goofy in their office. And these are established career women. At that point at least, I feel as if people ought to feel a little more free.

    So I guess I’m a big bag of contradiction too. Well, that is, It is not that I look down on women who wear heels at work. I do not. (Unless they are too CFM.)(does this make me a bad person?) Anyhow it’s not like I say anything to them…

  14. sk says:

    I don’t understand the whole “flats are for quitters” thing and I don’t know many women who subscribe to it. It seems a bit of a dated notion. I think heels can sometimes cheese up an outfit and flats (chunky heeled and/or flatter heeled) add edge and interest to just about any outfit. Not to mention that they are comfortable for walking. I don’t mind a small wedge or cuban heel every once in a while but flats are what get me through my day to day reality. I recently found an incredible pair of like-new vintage men’s 1970s Florsheim royal imperial black leather bench-made oxfords at a thrift store that just happened to be just my size (narrow enough too) for $9.99, and they are basically the same as the amazing $700 Church’s oxfords that you posted here. I have had my eyes on the Church’s forever and now don’t need to drop the cash on them. You can find good vintage Florsheim oxfords on ebay and Etsy sometimes btw.

  15. EW says:

    well, at the end of the day, I think we all want every woman to have the agency, ability, good taste and common sense to wear the shoe that meets her needs of the day…whatever they are, and not because she’s trying to use footwear, or any-wear to gain something she already has inside her…(love, acceptance, respect, attention, strength)

  16. Irma says:

    OUTFIT 23 SOURCES // tee – Everlane, responsibly made // jeans – Levi’s WaterLess, made with water-saving efforts // blazer – Steven Alan, secondhand (similar eco-friendly) // loafers – Emerson Fry, old (similar made responsibly) // necklace – vintage (similar made in USA) // lipstick in Jam – Glossier // mini purse – Baggu, made in USA // sunnies – Ray-Ban I can’t stop thinking about Audrey’s suggestion that more structured shoes look more expensive.   It gets to the heart of what is not quite perfect about these slipper-y loafers, for me.   I still love them and find them really easy to wear, but I know I want me next pair to have more of a heel and more detailing–and I linked to a very cool blush pair that has both.

  17. GS says:

    When I saw the Rachel Comeys I gasped. They are now on their way to me. You are very bad for my budget.

    And I second all the responses about keeping this community tolerant. We have room for flats and heels, thank God—that is what feminism is all about. Love this space, love the people who keep it kind and real, most of all love you, dear Kim!