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My Other Sneakers Are Manolos

By Amalah

I could use your guidance re: casual footwear…I’m always perplexed about the type of shoe to wear with jeans or casual trousers…like on a Saturday when I’m running errands around town or grabbing a quick bite with a friend. The goal is to be fairly comfortable but avoid the dreaded “frump” feeling that occurs when one wears jeans and sneakers. I know there are those Puma-type sneakers but sometimes the color schemes look clown-ish, loafers are SO dated and ballet flats are just too much when worn 24-7. If there is a stylish alternative out there, I’m sure you’re familiar with it!
Thanks a million.

Sneakers are frumpy? Loafers are dated? Oh. Shit.
Okay, so I could spend an hour on Zappos finding links to casual footwear I like, but that’s 1) boring, and 2) dangerous, because I have zero money to spend on casual footwear right now. Also I already have plenty of casual footwear, and despite me now worrying that all my shoes are frumpy and dated, I DO NOT NEED ANYMORE SHOES.
So instead: photo time! May I present to you the Amalah Calvacade of Frumpy, Dated or Otherwise Totally Not Impressive Casual Footwear, aka The Photo Essay That Will Make You All Wonder Why in the World You Ask Me For Advice of Any Kind:
First up, Rocket Dogs. Similar idea to the Puma slip-ons you mentioned, although hopefully not too clownshoeish. They took some breaking in at first, but now are incredibly comfortable. And I’ve been pretty impressed at how well they’ve held up, being suede and all, and me being lazy and all and wearing them out in the rain multiple times without thinking. If I had to buy another pair (oh, like I could really avoid the Zappos links), I like these, these and these.
More sneakers! Ack. But I am sorry, you can take my Chucks when you unlace them from my amputated frostbitten feet, but I don’t hike or spend much time outdoors, so good luck with that. I think everybody needs a pair of basic black Chucks in their wardrobe, and then should head over to Converse’s web site and customize your own pair.
(Gratuitous and besides the point? Yes, but what are you going to do about it?)
Loafers. Oh, maaan. These are more like driving mocs, I suppose. Nothing super special — Anne Klein or something. The leather feels like bedroom slippers, and sometimes you just need a super basic pair of black shoes. These were a hardly worthy replacement for my all-time favorite pair of shoes EVER, which were a pair of kickass Coach loafers in wine-colored patent leather. A little different, yet basic enough to go with almost everything I owned.
My dog ate them. And I don’t want to talk about it anymore.
And lastly, my current favorite shoes, also known as the goldlady grandma shoes, because…yeah. They’re a tad Atlantic City bus tour. But they look really cute with jeans, and are especially useful if you think the rest of your outfit is a little boring. These are Michael Kors, but a quick glance at Bluefly and Zappos turns up about a zillion variations on the same shoe.
Not pictured, because all the photos made my legs look like tree stumps: a couple pairs of ankle-height boots for when I’m wearing jeans but want to be a step above sneakers.
Readers? What’s your favorite pair of casual shoes? You know, the ones you wear everywhere and love irrationally, maybe even though they aren’t exactly the height of fashion awesomeness? Or do you have an absolutely kick-ass pair that will make us all green with envy? And if so, do you have a picture? Or a link to where they are currently on sale for…hmmm….I have $5. Can I buy them for $5?

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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