I recently found these shoes (needed with all the walking we've been doing in San Francisco). They are a bit pricey (I found them almost 50% off at Nordstrom Rack, and they were still not cheap), so I thought I'd share my thoughts with those of you who might be debating whether to make the leap or not...
I have been searching for the perfect pair of black flats FOREVER. And my trusty brown pair - you know, the ones you can actually walk in all day without blisters - finally died during our trip to Ecuador. (I would have had them repaired, but when the sole is lost, there isn't that much to be done.... Plus there turned out to be damage on the leather. I got at least 3 years from a pair of thrifted $4 shoes, so I certainly can't complain!)
So, I was really feeling the need for something comfortable that looked appropriate for the ministry work I do. And I don't always want to wear lace-up sneakers, even when they're cute and I'm in casual clothes. Enter my little evening solo foray to Nordstrom Rack. I think I heard the angelic chorus when I saw these little beauties in my size (the only pair I spotted). I immediately tried them on and walked around in them as I continued shopping (I did mention I was solo, right? Obviously I shopped my tail off, even though I only purchased these...). They felt heavenly, especially considering I had been walking all day (we visited Golden Gate Park that day and walked and walked and walked). I then wore them the next two days while I walked and walked and walked - all without any blisters or issues. I have rarely found shoes that are not "broken-in" that are fit to be walked in right away. Truly a miracle. Totally worth the price. And, for the time being, a long-time search is successfully ended. Hallelujah!!
REVIEW OF Cole Haan Air Monica flats: (currently on sale - see color options below!)
Size: True to size. I wore my normal size, and they fit great. The slightly elasticized back helps customize the fit, without being so tight that it hurts or makes marks (I've stayed away from elasticized backs in the past due to experiencing exactly that).
Width: I bought the regular width, and found them comfortable. As my feet are on the wider side, you may want to try these on in person if your feet are extremely narrow. They also come over my bunions, rather than cutting across it, something very important for me (I hope you don't have to worry about that!).
Color: True black, with patent and regular leather sections. The hardware is gold-tone.
Sole: Non-skid rubber, and very lightweight.
Heel: A small wedge (super tiny) makes these more comfortable to wear than truly flat shoes.
Arch support: While there isn't an arch supporting insole, there is that wonderful Nike Air technology within the inner sole, which makes them so comfortable. And the lining is more cushioning than even some of the nicer ballet flats. (Somehow shoe companies seem to think ballet flats don't need any cushion or arch support at all - duh.) If you need orthotic support, probably don't spend the money on these, because you're wasting all that yummy squishy support that will be hidden under the orthotics.
Quality: Very good, as expected from this brand at this price point. The studs seem well connected and there are no flaws in the leather or construction.
Style: These are very cute and classic. They are a tiny bit cutesy for me, but it's growing on me. I included some similar styles without a bow below, in case you prefer that.
Comfort: So, so comfortable. As I mentioned, I have already walked for hours in these, without blisters or pain. My feet are a bit tired at the very end of the day, but nothing like they would be in any other type of dressier shoe.
Comments: If you're looking for something cute and comfortable, give these a try! They're on sale right now, so it might be a good time to give it a test-drive for yourself. I'm very pleased with my purchase. I'd rather have less shoes, but ones I can actually live my life in.
Here are some additional shots:
Here are some similar "Air" technology versions by Cole Haan, as well as other color options for this exact shoe - the sale prices are awesome, as these retail at $168: