5 classic comfy shoes

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Shoes can be all sorts of things. Yet when it comes down to it, the ones you love the most are the ones that manage to combine the magic properties of being both good looking (which isn’t that hard) and comfortable (which is harder). That elusive combination that makes for good looking comfy shoes is hard to find though, and mentally walking through my own collection I have quite a few in the former category, and significantly less in the latter. The litmus test is what can you endure for a long day of walking urban paved streets. Doesn’t really matter how awesome you think you look if you’re reaching for plasters, paracetamol and considering the virtues of going barefoot after the first hour.

So today, the Friday Five takes a look at shoes that are both classicly cool and comfy, combined in a package you can safely both use and be seen in. In no particular order, I give you…

Clarks Wallabee (also made by Padmore & Barnes)

Clarks Wallabees

Clarks Wallabees

I know, kind of an obvious choice. Everyone knows the Wallies, and knows how comfy the crepe sole is. They’ve been made forever, in a thousand variations of colour and uppers, beloved by pretty much everyone. Read more about the Clarks Wallabees here. Also not, Wallabees are also made by Padmore & Barnes in Ireland.

Mephisto Rainbow

Mephisto Rainbow

Mephisto Rainbow

A left-field entry perhaps? Very much appreciated by men of a certain age that like to spend an afternoon on the terraces though, and by gum, they are splendid for walking around in. With regards to the design, you either like it or loathe it, but they’ve been making them for ages and they’re still as popular as ever. Engineered shoes, to my mind.

Paraboot Michael

Paraboot Michael

Paraboot Michael

To complete a hat-trick of design classics, the Michael has also been made since year dot. Paraboot is known for the longevity of their designs and the sturdiness of the natural rubber sole. Even if you’ve never seen an actual Michael, the design will be familiar, as it’s copied and copied by all and sundry. The Michael is the original one though and a pair will last half a lifetime. Read more about the Paraboot Michael here.

Solovair Derby boots

"<yoastmark

The brand Solovair is almost a little bit secret. The name seems strange until you realise it’s really Sole Of Air, at which point you might see a link to another well known British shoe brand, Dr Martens. And yes, you’d be right, Solovair were very much part of the legendary Doc Martens story, making most of the original DM’s until the family company was sold. Since then Solovair is doing their own thing, in addition to making some of the classic Doc designs. The trick here though is that while most Doc’s had uppers made of fortified cardboard strong enough to make grown men weep while trying to break them in, you can also find versions like these that have a much softer leather upper while retaining the air cushioned sole. Definitely a win-win situation and no need to shed any tears. Read more about NPS, makers of Solovair, here.

Crown Northampton sneakers

"<yoastmark

I know, you saw this one coming. It’s no secret I’m a convert to smart leather sneakers. The uppers look nice (even if they’re not brogued, someone is missing a trick here) and the soles are thick gum soles that appear almost immune to wear I’ve yet to feel fatigue of the foot even after 20k steps in a day, at which point my feet are generally in much better shape than the rest of me! Read more about the Crown Northampton sneakers here.

Liked it? Take a second to support nick on Patreon!

5 Comments

  • Arnold Cohen 21/09/2018 at 18:46

    Padmore and Barnes are once again making the original Wallabees using the original lasts and with the same quality as when they were made in Ireland in the 70’s. I have both the new Clarks and the Padmore and Barnes-no comparison. My “foot memory” ranks the P-B the best. Agree with the Paraboots-a great and versatile shoe.

    Reply
  • Shaun Brown 21/09/2018 at 18:55

    I would add most of the Camper shoes, although the designs can be a little left field they are designed for comfort above everything. I still use the insoles from an old pair in my…….Solovair Boots, which are the most comfortable shoes I’ve owned.

    Reply
  • Brownie 22/09/2018 at 01:10

    A few other suggestions:

    – Sanders HiTop (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzFuj_DRRFs). Soft suede uppers, buttery leather linings and a massive wedge crepe sole that feels like walking on a cloud

    – Hebtroco Brogues (https://hebtro.co/product/hebtroco-brogue/). Looks promising but sadly no half-sizes so I’ll never get to own a pair.

    Reply
    • nick 22/09/2018 at 07:05

      The HebTroCo brogues are actually the Solovair sole with a brogue top, so could be win-win in many respects. Did you ask them about having a half size made?

      Reply
  • Elin 22/09/2018 at 06:36

    If you´re into minimalist shoes the Vivo Gobi are crazy comfortable.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.