Springing into summer: 5 trending shoe styles serve double duty
In the Midwest, summers are the golden hour — or rather, season — of life.
The beautiful weather encourages those of us who have been cooped up all winter to get outside for various activities including weddings, family vacations and reunions, local events and weekends at the lake. With a full schedule, the shoes on your feet must be packable, versatile and comfortable for all of summer's great adventures.
"You can have cute shoes but still live in them and be comfortable — not just the 'sit-and-look-pretty' shoes that live in the closet," says Wendy Monton, co-manager and buyer at SHU by R&G in Fargo.
When it comes to trends for spring and summer 2017, shoes that serve double duty are key. Colorwise, rose gold is a hit. "That's definitely the on-trend color and we're seeing it in anything from sandals to sneakers," Monton says.
Here's a look at five staple shoes you can live in as spring transitions into summer.
Monton says sneakers are "hot, hot, hot right now."
When it comes to styles, different textures — leather, canvas, suede, mesh, crochet and sateen — are popular while patterns, florals and prints, such as paint splatter, are also trending. Shoppers will also see prominent, white soles.
Sneakers provide the closed-toe option for cooler mornings while being fashionably versatile.
These days, you can wear sneakers with anything, Monton says. "People are wearing them with skirts and dresses all the way to rolled-up jeans," she says.
Fashionable sneakers are also perfect for outdoor concerts, festivals and street fairs.
"I wear them with shorts if I know I'm going to be hiking or covering a lot of ground — anytime you don't quite know how long you're going to be on your feet or on asphalt," says Alicia Underlee Nelson, travel and Midwest lifestyle blogger of Prairie Style File.
"We're seeing a lot of peep-toe booties or peep-toe caged sandals where you get more coverage but still a little bit open — which, in our area, is great because you can wear them when it's not quite sandal season yet," Monton says.
Ankle booties are the epitome of double duty.
"You can wear them instead of heels and you still have that more finished look with a little height for the slush and snow when the weather is still a little soggy in the spring," Underlee Nelson says.
As summer approaches, fashionistas can ditch the tights and jackets and opt to go bare-legged.
When ballet flats first became popular, they fit the classic Audrey Hepburn style. But as time wore on, the style evolved. "I specifically wear them very casually in place of sandals for the summer but you can also dress them up: flats and a sheath dress is classic," Underlee Nelson says.
Comfort has also progressed over time. "There's so many more options out there now where you can get a ballet flat that isn't flat — something that has good support in it, too," Monton says. Some brands — like Vionic — even come with a built-in orthotic.
Platform wedges or sandals
For wedding season, wedges are key. Classic stiletto heels may sink into the grass at outdoor events. With wedges, attendees don't have to think twice about their feet or worry about picking grass or dirt out of their heels.
Platform wedges and sandals can also be dressed down and paired with pants, alleviating the need to hem longer jeans. For a more formal look, a wood stacked heel — and other natural materials — are trending.
"In our area, Birkenstocks are still big on trend," Monton says. "We're definitely seeing it trend a lot younger than it has before. "It's so funny how many grandmothers are like, 'My granddaughter stole my Birkenstocks.' Three years ago, you couldn't have paid her to wear them."
Birkenstocks have engineered a foot bed that includes a raised toe bar, deep heel cup and arch support, which provides more comfort than the typical $2 flip flop.
SHU by R&G's most popular seller is the Mayari — the more feminine style of Birkenstock with a toe loop. "Then there's always the classic, two-strap Arizona — those will never go out of style in my opinion," Monton says.
"When we're looking to invest in things, it makes much more sense to make sure we have our bases covered with the basics first," Underlee Nelson says. "Then we know when to wear those statement shoes."
The key is in doing research before you shop — see what's available and trending so you know what you're looking for in regards to color, style, heel height, details, etc.
"If they're not perfect, leave them. If they hurt you or they don't feel quite right after 2 seconds of trying them on in the store, they're going to sit there. Don't buy them."
Monton says — above all — don't buy for trend, buy what fits.