Favorite Summer Shoe
Summer shoes are problematic for me - do you find that, too? Flip flops and sandals are great for wandering around, but on long walks they start to chafe, and sometimes it's just too hot to consider socks and sneakers. What do you do about those really epic-walk days, when you still want something cool and breezy?
My solution is Fernand Footwear. They're not the most stylish shoe out there, but I live just over the border from crunchy Cambridge, after all. I first saw my friend Devon wearing them, many years ago, and she told me she got them in Northern Michigan - they're handmade there, in the town of Benzonia. This was before the advent of global Internet shopping, so I forgot about them for another many years until it occurred to me that this local artisan shoemaker might have put together a web site.
While some of the styles are incredibly dorky, I think the simpler ones like "the Chinese" Mary-Jane, "the West Indian" T-strap, and "the Floridian" slide are all pretty cute, in their earthy boho way, and I like that woven detail around the back of the ankle on the buckle styles. The leather is really soft, especially the insole, and after awhile the shoe molds to your foot in a unique-to-you fit. If you're not quite sure which size you take you can send in a tracing of your foot at no extra charge and they'll match you up to the closest fit. At $100+ per pair they're not the cheapest, but mine have lasted through three years of heavy wear, and I just noticed you can send your shoes back for resoling and conditioning for a pretty reasonable fee. These shoes are meant to last until the leather gives out.
So, for all these reasons, I go with my Fernands to get me through the dog days of summer. But probably most of all, the way it often is with favorite clothes, because each time I put them on I get to think of my friend.