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Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Rollasoles: Dance Club Rx for your Tootsies

Every once in a while, a new idea changes the way you think.  Today, I’d like to feature one such idea:  Rollasoles.  As the video here shows, Rollasoles are shoes that can be bought from vending machines, mostly in dance clubs.  Matt Horan, the 27-year-old inventor of Rollasoles, came up with the idea after noticing the intense pain his lady friend suffered from dancing in stilettos.  Like a true knight-in-entrepreneurial-armor, he designed a pair of flats that can fit into your purse. Okay, by his own admission, he was mostly spurred by his girlfriend’s complaints, but still, I imagine that quite a few damsels-in-footwear-distress have been saved by Mr. Horan’s invention.

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Tuesday, July 28th, 2009

One Hundred Year Feet — er, Feat!

A local shoe retailer in Fremont, Michigan will celebrate its centennial mark this coming September, according to a local newspaper. Vredeveld Shoes opened September 9, 1909 and has been serving its community by selling shoes ever since. The current owner, Lon Vredeveld, is the great-grandson of the shoe store’s original owner — meaning the store has seen four generations at its helm. As a result, the store is filled with all kinds of shoe-related antiques — so many, in fact, Vredeveld plans to start a mini-museum on the second floor of the store. Like many other businesses though, Vredeveld Shoes has suffered at the hand of the economy, but Lon still sees hope in the future. “We’re not getting to 100 years and stopping,” he told the paper. And I must say, an 100 year-old independent shoe retailer is an impressive accomplishment. Now, if only shoes would last that long

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Sunday, July 5th, 2009

Shoe Buyers Flock to Vegas for WSA Convention

An exhibitor at The Collections at WSAEver wonder who gets to choose which shoes appear on store shelves?   Those lucky individuals are called shoe buyers, and a whole flock of ‘em will descend on Las Vegas for the World Shoes Accessories show from July 29th through August 2nd.  How I wish I could be there! Here’s my daydream itinerary for a fabulous WSA weekend:

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Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Shoe Retailers Offer More Midpriced Merchandise

Although unusual and outlandish shoes have always been a sign of wealth, the recession has retailers scrambling to offer more affordable footwear options. As Stephanie Rosenbloom recently reported in her New York Times News service article, “Retailers switch how they do business,”* high-end stores like Neiman Marcus and Saks are offering more mid-priced merchandise. Furthermore, in a shocking turn away from his typical mortgage-payment prices, Jimmy Choo recently announced that a pair of his shoes will be available for as little as $55 in H&M stores in November. (I never thought I would write “retail” and “Jimmy Choo” in the same sentence.)

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Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Shoe Shopping Tips

LadonnaI came across this article the other day about tips for shoe shopping. Normally, I’m skeptical of these types of articles since most anybody can offer a few general pointers that end up sounding more like common sense that legitimate suggestions. I was surprised, however, to find the author really did her research, including visiting a podiatrist for some expert advice. As a result, she came away with some pretty handy tips that even an old shoe-shopping pro like myself thought useful. Here’s a taste of what you should be aware of the next time your shopping for that perfect pair of soles, courtesy Rosalie Robles Crowe: (more…)

Thursday, May 28th, 2009

Shoe Rental: Try Before You Buy

One upside to the dismal economy: an increase in national creativity.  Across the country, consumers are taking creative approaches to obtaining fashionable footwear. Some are taking their old favorites to repair shops, rather than shelling out precious greenbacks for new kicks. Others are swapping clothes and accessories with friends, as the Associated Press recently highlighted in an article titled “Squeezed by Economy, Shoppers become Swappers.” Still others are turning to an age-old technique for preserving limited funds: rental. As highlighted in the video at below, Maggie Snow and Shannon Valitzek, sisters hailing from Boise, Idaho, are offering consumers a chance to save both the earth and a few bucks by renting formal shoes out of their store, One Night Stand.

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Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

FiveFinger Shoes: Barefoot Running for Better Posture

Classic Vibram FiveFingers shoe, in womens lilac/whiteOur hometown of Portland is obsessed with running. It’s nearly impossible to go anywhere in this city without seeing at least one jogger, even in our drizzle-icious winter months. Given how many Portlanders are passionate about running, it never takes long to see the latest running footwear trend pounding the PDX pavement.  I can’t wait to see some brave Portlander running around in the newest development in running technology:  barefoot running shoes.

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Tuesday, May 12th, 2009

Retail Trends: Exclusive Hole-In-The-Wall Gallery Shoestores

Advertisers use many methods to attract consumers. Think back to seventh grade Health.  Remember all of those different persuasive methods? The Bandwagon Approach screams, “Everyone else is doing it!” The Celebrity Endorsement cashes in on fame.  Showing a beautiful person enjoying a product implies that whoever buys said product will somehow (magically) become more attractive as well. Well, a shoe store named RSole in University City, Missouri is successfully implementing a lesser-known method of attracting customers: secrecy.

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Thursday, April 23rd, 2009

5 Questions to Ask to Find Eco-Friendly Shoes

Payless celebrated Earth Day yesterday by launching a new line of inexpensive eco-friendly shoes.  Called Zoe&Zac, the new collection features shoes made from organic cotton canvas, linen, hemp, non-PVC foam beds, recycled rubbers, and water-based glues.  Model Summer Rayne Oakes is the spokesperson for the new line, and said, “The most common misconception about sustainable fashion is that it comes in one color and looks one way- neutral, boxy, baggy, shapeless. The best sustainable fashion is invisible and that’s what zoe&zac is all about.” I’m not sure that I want my fashion to be invisible, but I do like the idea that eco-friendly designs are now nearly impossible to distinguish from more traditional options.  As more and more eco-friendly shoes hit the market, it will be increasingly difficult to distinguish real earth-savers from poseurs hoping for a tidy footwear profit.  Here are a few questions to consider when shopping for sustainable shoes.

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Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

5 Tips for Thrift Store Shoe Shopping

Fashion has always been about creative personal expression, but creativity is especially crucial in these days of economic woe.  As they say, scarcity is the mother of invention, and history proves that limited resources fuel innovation.  Recessionistas are already scouting out garage sales, thrift stores, and deep-discount sale racks for “new” pieces for their wardrobes.  Although such locations can harbor incredible deals, it’s not always easy to find them.  Here are a few tips to help you navigate the jungle of second-hand shoe shopping:

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