Stylish Spring Cycling Shoes

It’s Spring and although it is currently chilly, I know it will soon be time for sandals! I’ve dusted off my warm weather shoes in preparation, and feeling a bit… uninspired… by my current collection. I seem to always be searching for THE perfect shoes, shoes that will go with everything, feel comfortable no matter what I’m doing, and look stylish and professional at the same time. Okay, this is probably a fantasy, but I do have high standards for my shoes.

My current collection - serviceable yet mostly uninspiring

My current collection – serviceable yet mostly uninspiring

First of all, any shoe I buy must be comfortable enough to walk to the Metro or a bus stop, to meetings and on outings. To me this translates into a slight heel and good arch support, plus some cushion between me and the pavement. (The mystery remains as to how my red reflective Cole Haan shoes remain my most comfortable shoe, since they fulfill neither of those categories…) Since I started biking, I have some additional requirements, but only a few – I don’t want to wear open-toed shoes on my bike, out of fear of injuring them somehow, and the super-wedge platforms make it hard for me to feel the pedals. So my new Dansko heeled sandals are not going to be bike shoes – open toes and a platform heel.

But this Spring, the trend is for *flat* shoes! What?!  you say – yes, all the magazine articles and ads are full of models in sporty looking flat sandals and loafers and other assorted flat shoes. It’s so refreshing. Additionally, many of the styles are menswear-inspired, oxfords and tuxedo slippers and kilties. These have my stylish bike shoe requirements – closed toes, sturdy heel, I can add insoles if needed, and most of them as professional-looking as well as stylish and casual. Here are some I am currently obsessed with:


I love the Nike X Liberty Air Rift trainers, because I owned four pair at one point; they were my favorite summer shoe. I thought Nike stopped making them, so I was pleased to see them return. Alas, I won’t buy a fifth pair, mostly because I don’t love the color of these, and besides, maybe I should move on.

I had to laugh when I saw that En Brogue had a whole blog post about Salt Water Sandals! I grew up in these, as did my little brother and cousin. I couldn’t wear them now because they are too flat, but even looking at the photos brings back memories of my new ones every summer. (PS – En Brogue is currently my new favorite style crush – she has the coolest flat shoes! #envious)

My cousin, my brother and I all in our Salt Water Sandals, circa no idea but probably 1982-1984

My cousin, my brother and I all in our Salt Water Sandals, circa no idea but probably 1982-1984

You can tell I’m totally in love with blush-colored shoes, can’t you? Those Finery London kiltie oxfords just make me swoon, and the gold Clark’s tasseled loafers, well, yes, lust. The Naturalizer Banner wedges shoes are the type of shoes I feel I should own, because they look so, well, business-y, in a casual sort of way, comfortable and practical. You call tell I like Clark’s, can’t you? I blame it on En Brogue again, especially after her recent report of next season Clark’s shoes. Clark’s is a company that I don’t normally associate with funky shoes, but they are doing a really good job of impressing me lately.

All of these shoes fall into my acceptable stylish cycling shoes category, so you could expect to see me in any of these shoes in the next few months. However, I don’t anticipate buying any of them any time soon. Let’s ignore the prices for a moment – I frankly don’t know what I’d wear any of them with! All could go perfectly well with jeans, but I don’t wear jeans that often, and definitely not to work. I’m in the process of completely redoing my wardrobe, complete with an appointment with a Nordstrom personal stylist for my birthday next month. And I’ve learned over the years that what I buy at the beginning of a season tends to not be the item(s) I wear throughout most of the season.

So I have to force myself to not buy new shoes any time soon, and continue to bike in the shoes I have.

But I really want these Danskos! Danskos have become my go-to comfy shoe, after years of denying that they could be cute and comfortable. Surely these would go with everything?!

But I really want these Danskos! Danskos have become my go-to comfy shoe, after years of denying that they could be cute and comfortable. Surely these would go with everything?!

Do you buy (non-bike-y) shoes based on certain criteria, the way I do? Or do you wear bike shoes, and change into work/dress shoes when you reach your destination? And am I the only one weird about not biking in open-toed shoes?!


Snow and Spring and Shoes

Yesterday’s snow storm was a bit unexpected – it started earlier than anticipated and seemed to snow more than expected (maybe 4-5″?). Then it turned to rain overnight, and with the morning temperatures above freezing, it was a slushy, sloppy mess when I went for a mid-morning walk. I wanted to see how the road conditions were, to determine how I felt about getting to work Monday morning*, but I ended up just cranky. I guess I have to write at least one winter weather-related cranky post per year. SnowstormWalking through the barely cleared slushy side streets of my neighborhood was somewhat annoying because there were too many large puddles, then there’s that whole no-sidewalks thing. Of course people were walking in the street, there is nowhere else to go! I did see people out shoveling in front of their houses. I love the way civic concern ends at the edge of one’s property line. Shovel all the way to the street? Clear the curb? Not my problem.

But once I got onto a main road, I started to get really annoyed. Here Arlington is a Walk Friendly Community, and it was impossible to walk across streets. Snow had been plowed into walls along the main drag, sidewalks cleared to almost the street, and slush puddles formed at every corner. It’s no wonder I saw these two guys walking down the middle of the road. Their feet were probably drier than mine, as I attempted to make my way across the mess. Slush 13Slush 10As I struggled along, I thought about how Arlington has made news because it is clearing the bike trails this winter. This is a huge victory for bike advocates and my friends at BikeArlington, but I have to confess that it makes me sort of crabby. It’s great that the trails are cleared – but what about the bike lanes?! I mean, there are plows out on the streets already, just clear the bike lane at the same time! And by the way – how do  you expect people on bikes to get to the bike trail that has been so nicely cleared?! I don’t tend to bike after a snowstorm because I know the roads will be messy, with the snow plowed into the bike lane, and the roads icy, and I don’t trust drivers in this sort of weather while I’m trying to take the lane. If you want more people to bike in the winter and the snow, think about the connectivity of the system.

So I decided to check out the route that I usually take from home to the bike trail, if I take the trail (which I don’t, because I prefer to take the bike lanes. It’s more direct to my office. Why go out of my way? And I find the trail boring. I’d rather check out the houses and restaurants and shops I pass). As expected, pretty messy. The only section where the bike lane was totally clear was the section where it goes between a right turn lane and a through lane.

The car is actually in the bike lane, because the right turn lane is still full of snow and slush. At least the bike lane is clear?

The car is actually in the bike lane, because the right turn lane is still full of snow and slush. At least the bike lane is clear?

See that white line almost buried by the snow? That's the outer edge of the bike lane.

See that white line almost buried by the snow? That’s the outer edge of the bike lane.

Where the bike lane ends...

Where the bike lane ends…

Bike directions, yay! No visible bike lane - it's under all that snow.

Bike directions, yay! No visible bike lane – it’s under all that snow.

Please, please, please, can we think about how everyone gets around, in all kinds of weather?

Now that my rant is over, I am going to think about Spring. It will be here eventually! I’m fantasizing about warm weather and wearing skirts on bikes, and Spring shoes. I don’t know why, I’m just obsessed with pink, blush or nude shoes right now. I really love the Inglewood kiltie oxfords from Finery London, in nude with a gold kiltie, and Cole Haan has a lovely basic blush oxford as well. Orla Kiely has teamed up with Clarks to make some adorable (yet expensive) shoes, and I love the pink slipper flats (and the pale blue kindergartener t-straps, which I think would be perfect with this Spring’s newest trend, culottes). Clarks has a few other pairs of pale pink shoes that I love, like their own pale pink/nude spectator oxford and even the dressed-up fishermans sandals.

Any one of these pairs would be adorable with a circle skirt – how many more days until Spring arrives?

 *PS – Although I took the bus, the warm weather appears to have melted enough snow yesterday to clear most of the bike lane….