Sunday, April 18, 2010

Comfort or Style—Can you have both?

“From corsets to sky-high stilettos, women have been suffering in the name of fashion for years” (Namkung, 2010).

Often, humans feel as if they must decide between buying a comfortable shoe and buying a stylish shoe. As researchers have found that certain shoes can have positive or negative effects, (see recent post) the decision is becoming more important. Not only can uncomfortable shoes hurt, they can have lasting ill effects on feet. According to research done by Alyssa B. Dufour, women who wore supportive shoes early in life greatly reduced the amount of foot pain they experienced (Rabin, 2009). Now, some brands, such as Crocs and Dana Davis are designing shoes that are supposed to be comfortable and stylish (Namkung, 2010 & Newman, 2010).

Wearers of Crocs praise them for their comfort. However, since 2007, Crocs brand has not made a profit. Part of the issue is their appearance. According to Newman (2010), “The Web sells T-shirts with slogans like ‘For those about to Croc, we refute you’ and ‘Friends don’t let friends wear Crocs,’ while an anti-Crocs group on Facebook has more than 1.5 million fans.” Crocs has spent millions on advertising campaigns for their shoes. These campaigns usually focus on the comfort of the shoes. One recent slogan was, “It’s ugly but it gets you there” (Newman). After experiencing years without profit, Crocs is realizing that comfort alone is not enough. Their most recent campaign stresses comfort, but also highlights new styles, such as loafers for men and flip-flops for women (Newman).

Similarly, shoe designer, Dana Davis, is trying to make the high heel comfortable and supportive. Her line of heels includes customized arch supports and strategic cushioning. Furthermore, they are designed so orthotics can be placed inside; previously, this was impossible in most dress shoes. According to Davis, her shoes are designed to be worn for the whole day. Davis’s shoe line has been seen on the red-carpet, worn by actresses such as Penelope Cruz, and Anne Hathaway (Namkung, 2010).

Given the choice between comfort and style, as seen in the profit decline of Crocs, consumers seem to prefer style. However, some shoe brands are realizing comfort and style do not have to be mutually exclusive. These brands realize that shoes consumers want to buy should not harm their feet (Namkung, 2010 & Newman, 2010). Thus far, Dana Davis’s shoes have been successful (Namkung). Hopefully, other designer will follow her lead and humans can have their shoe and be comfortable.

Namkung, V. (2010). High-heeled shoes your feet won’t hate you for. Los Angelos Times. Retrieved April 16, 2010 from,0,5795903.story?track=rss.
Newman, A. (2010). ‘Crocs’ and ‘style’ in the same breath. New York Times. Retrieved April 16, 2010 from
Rabin, R.C. (2009). High heels and pumps now, foot pain later. New York Times. Retrieved March 31, 2010 from

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