Nothing says summer like the plaited jute sole of an espadrille shoe (mainly because they do not cope well with rain). There seems to be a lot of espadrille shoes around this summer, maybe shoe manufacturers know it’s going to be a hot one (we can hope). Unfortunately, these shoes, although pretty and flat, are not ideal for people with arthritis. The jute sole tends to be inflexible, which is fine if there is some cushioning there, but the sole also tends to be firm and not bouncy, giving little cushioning to the joints.
For this reason, I’ve shied away from espadrilles in the past, although I did succumb to this pair of Louboutin leopard espadrilles, which I wear for summer parties when I know there will be a lot of lounging with a cocktail and little walking about. They are beautiful and elevate any outfit, but they’re not particularly comfortable (does anyone find Louboutins comfortable? That’s a genuine question, so many people I talk to have sold theirs because they’re so uncomfortable):
But recently, I read about the company Air and Grace, a company that strives to make beautiful but comfortable shoes. This quote is from the founder, Claire Burrows:
“Great shoes make us feel amazing. But in common with most women I know, I’ve found the shoes I love haven’t always loved me back. My wardrobe is full of beautiful shoes I hardly ever wear. Sound familiar?”
Yes! It sounds so familiar! (I shouted at my computer screen). So, Air and Grace make shoes with memory foam cushioning inside, and the first thing I wanted to try were their trainers, which all look fantastic, especially these leopard print:
However, as they aren’t the cheapest of trainers (but by no means ridiculously expensive) I had to wait until pay-day to get them, and as I waited, they brought out a range of espadrilles, which I immediately set my heart on:
Leopard print with neon tassels! It’s like someone looked inside my head and designed the shoe from what they saw. However, given that I already have leopard-print espadrilles, I went for the red. Red is summery, and exciting, and I love wearing red shoes.
When they came, I was super excited to try them on, and they are SO comfortable! They’re like walking on little pillows but they’re not too soft that they’re unsupportive. The leather is also really soft, and the area in the foot-box is well proportioned: there’s room so that it doesn’t squish my feet, but they’re not so roomy that I feel they’re going to fall off (I have narrow feet, and have this problem). The tassels are perfect too. They just make a plain shoe have that wow factor. I can’t recommend them enough.
I also noticed that Clarks have also produced espadrilles this season, in a lovely bright yellow (as well as a nice cream-coloured lace):
The Clarks shoes also boast “Cushion Soft™ foam insoles”, and being substantially cheaper, I thought I should give them a go.
When they came, they do have a cushioned insole, most noticeably in a little pocket in the heel, it looked big but I couldn’t feel it when they were on:
They were soft and comfortable, but nowhere near as squishy as the Air and Grace shoes. There is a big difference in the sole depth:
In terms of fit, the Clarks espadrilles are quite large, and a bit too wide for me. If you have wide feet, they may be a better choice (the leather was equally very soft), but you can see the difference in fit between the two here:
So for me, Air and Grace espadrilles win hands down and are worth the extra money (also, tassels); however, if you especially swollen joints of wide feet, the Clarks espadrilles may be a better choice.
In any case, I am looking forward to getting more Air and Grace shoes. They also do brogues, and I am really liking the silver. Hopefully they will bring out more colours soon: