If you are like me, you are sick to your stomach at the prices of shoes these days. It used to be that an expensive pair of shoes ran you $400. Today, that is considered main stream - and high-end begins at $790. What is the deal? After agonizing over this ugly reality with my friend, Kay, yesterday, I declared that I am on a mission. That mission is to find high quality shoes at decent prices. In my opinion, Michael Kors gets it. He has his high-end line, MICHAEL KORS, and two lower priced lines, MICHAEL Michael Kors and KORS Michael Kors. The KORS Michael Kors line isn't the best quality, however, it offers value and enables us to buy a hot designer shoe at a decent price. (Side note: MICHAEL KORS handbags are also priced really well - and love the quality!!) This mission of mine (and yours, too, I am sure) will bring attention to more lines just like this.

Case in point ...

mouse-shoesI fell in love with these mouse shoes back in December. And at the time I thought to myself, I must get these. They are too cute for words. However, I am not into spending a lot of money on trendy items. I am a "fashion staple" kind of girl and more apt to drop big dollars on timeless pieces. Just makes sense, right? So could I do without these adorable mouse shoes?

marc1Then these beauties came along. Also, too cute for words. You can find these Marc by Marc Jacobs shoes in high-end department stores, as well as online. But at $325 for a pair of flats that stand out so much that you can't possibly get away with wearing them often (not to mention potentially despising them next year), I couldn't bring myself to buy them (husband will be relieved to learn this).

Afterp3060182 getting a call from my sister, Kelly, the other day, saying that I must run to Target to check out a pair of Loeffler Randall ballet flats, I set out on a quest. Kelly is almost as much of a shoe snob as I am. However, in this case - she was really onto something. This was her second pair of Target ballet flats purchased. Yeah Kelly. But guess what? I not only bought the rose gold Loeffler Randall ballet flats at $29.99, I also found these darling silver Mossimo ones with white suede tips, for $19.99. Yes, I said $19.99. Yeah me! The woman behind me in line even reached over to see the shoes I purchased. Her eyes lit up! And while she may have been thinking, "what's she doing buying shoes at Target" ... you know she ran back and got some for herself.

In keeping with my belief (not spending a lot on trendy items), I faired pretty well. And I am okay if they only make it through the summer. I am not a "flats" girl to begin with. I adore wearing high heels daily (the higher the better). But who doesn't want ballet flats for the summer - good gracious they are everywhere in the most beautiful, vibrant colors. And now, at extremely affordable prices. You can thank Kelly! I did.
I recently read an article by Consumer Reports that shared the best online resources for shoe shopping. Although it is not all encompassing (and doesn't include a lot of the sites I typically frequent), it does a great job of outlining what to look for.

Best for Hard to Find Sizes
Jildorshoes.com starts with size 4! They carry some designer brands in sizes that will fit just about everyone. Standard shipping is $8 and you pay shipping for returns (up to one year). Great selection.

Best Stored-Based

At ninewest.com, you can search by heel size or price and the site includes a lookbook, trends, and scene & heard areas. The limitation is in the brand, obviously, but if you know your size from visiting a local store, online buying is made simple. Standard shipping is $7 and you can return at your local retail store (up to 30 days). Good selection.

Most Family Friendly
Onlineshoes.com provides complete family outfitting. The site is a breeze to navigate through and shoes are displayed nicely, with clear indication of clearance items. You can search by "occasion" - for example for kids, you can select playground, school or celebrations. There is also an eco-friendly shoe category. They guarantee the lowest prices. No shipping fee; though, you pay to ship back (returns taken up to 90 days). Great selection.

Best for Trendy Shoes at Good Prices
Piperlime, a Gap Inc. shoe store, has more brand names than I had anticipated. There are over 100 of the most fashionable shoe brands, including Tahari (my boots are there!!), Taryn Rose, Via Spiga and Donald Pliner. The site is nicely edited to suit the styles most relevant. Smart searches save you time - example, "office shoes," "hot trends," and "shoes to wear with dresses." No shipping fee and free shipping on returns (up to 60 days). Great selection.

Best Bargains
Smartbargains.com carries brands you actually want to buy like Kate Spade and Michael Kors. And they carry narrow - thank you! However, they don't always carry the latest styles with the widest variety. Shipping is $9.95 and return shipping is $8.95 (up to 30 days). Good selection.

Best for Dressy Shoes

carries dress shoes and even dye-able shoes for weddings. And styles such as Delman and Baby Phat. There are a variety of sizes, from 5 to 12 - and if they don't currently carry your size, provide your email address and they will let you know when your size comes in. Shipping is free, as well as returns (up to 1 year). Great selection.

Best Selection

No surprise, Zappos.com has the best selection, with almost 5,000 pairs of shoes. They even have a couture collection with designer labels such as Sergio Rossi, Giuseppe Zanotti and Marc by Marc Jacobs. Shipping is free, as well as returns (up to 1 year). Excellent selection. Tips:
  1. Stick with brands you know and love - and you know fit. And utilize the free shipping sites!
  2. When you receive the new shoes, try them on a carpeted surface so the bottoms don't get scuffed in the case you return them.
  3. Keep all original packaging.
  4. If the shoes don't fit, send them back quickly to avoid potential complications.
  5. To catch the greatest bargains, sign up for email updates.
I can't help but hear Alanis Morissette singing to me after experiencing irony myself over the weekend. My song is a little different though, it goes like this...

After attending an awesome CEO conference in the back woods of Minnesota, I headed south to Saint Paul to visit with my sister. Work has been crazy with no light at the end of the tunnel for more weeks than I would like to admit, so shopping was the absolute most necessary outlet for me. My sister obliged ... off to tax-free shopping.

First stop, 50th and France. If you have visited Minneapolis, you know what I am talking about. I picked up a yellow cropped jacket (I know, it's a weakness) and a vintage-inspired cream top. (My sister got the same top, too!) Then off to boot shopping. Not shoe shopping, just boots. I was definitely on a mission, after all, it's been 2 or 3 years since I have bought a pair of boots.

Second stop, Southdale Shopping Center. We entered through Macy's...and quickly made a B-line for the shoe department. As luck would have it, boots galore! I truly had a blast. I picked out a tall pair of (can't remember the brand name because I never came across them before) boots in black with a rounded toe and the coolest angled heel ever. Second pair, Elie Tahari boots a little shorter, in black of course, with a fold over and a very interesting medallion on the side. Third pair (if you read Shoo Shoo Foo Foo, then you know all shoe buying comes in threes), Cole Haan below-the-calf, but not quite bootie, boots in black with the most killer hidden platform under the toe but stilletto heel. And what's more fabulous than saving over $100 on my purchase? Totally justifiable.

We headed off to a fabulous dinner at Il Vesco Vino. Then while chatting, walking and opening up the exit door, ker plunk! I fell right out of the door. Who in the world put that step there, seriously...was it really there upon entering the restaurant? I sprained both ankles, one severely. Ouch! I remember laying there curled over for a bit, simply because I could not move my feet.

The next morning, right ankle scratched, the other unrecognizable, my sister drove me to the airport and insisted I be carted off in a wheelchair. Lovely. But honestly, thank goodness for those carts (I ditched the wheelchair once I got passed security and opted for the community cart). I don't think I could have managed otherwise. Once I landed and got home, with the help of my wonderful, but this-incident-has-one-glass-of-wine-too-many-written-all-over-it husband, I slept for an hour and then headed to urgent care. Air cast and crutches later, here I am.

Remember those fabulous boots? What good are they now! Isn't it ironic?
This post is named after my favorite shoe boutique in Sonoma, CA - Shushu Fufu. Shout out to you, Elizabeth! You introduced me to the world of high-end shoes, for which I will be forever grateful ... and my husband will forever regret!

This actually should have been my second post, behind rosacea - as I am obsessed with shoes. I became addicted to fine footwear seven years ago on a trip to Sonoma. I visited an incredible boutique where I discovered the candy-coated world of shoes. I must have tried on fifteen pairs. I couldn’t resist anything that fit perfectly on my foot. As difficult as it was to decide among all the gorgeous gems, I walked out with three pairs of sandals, each at a price that was 4x more than what I was used to spending at the time. My true appreciation for quality, consequently, was born. Giuseppe Zanotti, Robert Clergerie, and YSL were my new best friends. These expensive little sandals were beautifully designed and extremely well-crafted. I still wear them today throughout the year and they look fabulous. Amortize that!

Soon thereafter, I learned the art of justification. Let me clarify, though - I don't go shoe shopping a lot. I simply can't afford my taste. But the girl knows how to justify her purchases!

black2You've heard of retail therapy. But have you experienced shoe therapy? There is such a thing. Last year after having a deal fall through in which I worked really hard on, I grabbed my son and headed to the mall. Now honestly, I was just there to make a return. However, I was easily distracted by the pretty shoes in the window display at Cole Haan. My son and I walked in and five minutes later, I kid you not, I left with these beauties. And boy, did it feel incredible!

red-dots.thumbnailThis summer I really wanted ballet flats but was determined to find my own little spin on the trend. I was ecstatic to find these adorable red and white polka dot, peep toe ballet flats with ankle strap. What's not to love?

Fall Craves:

shoes3.thumbnailI absolutely must have these Christian Louboutin shoes. I mean, seriously ... suede stiletto zip loafers - gotta have these, am I wrong?

nmx0543_mn.thumbnailAnd check out these gorgeous sequined leopard-print Manolo Blahnik pumps. Yum!

bgx043w_mnAnd these Dolce & Gabanna kickin' boots would so perfectly go with my MK bag. To die for.

I could go on and on (and on) about shoes. I just love shoes. And in my opinion, you cannot go wrong splurging on shoes. Quality counts. In fact, two of my GZ sandals have been re-tapped a couple of times and the shoe repair place always comments on their craftsmanship.

You will see a lot of ankle and mid-calf boots being worn with skirts and dresses for FW07, as seen here. I adore the look. Although that doesn't mean you shouldn't consider knee boots, like my DG dream boots. I tested the look recently (I couldn't wait until fall) and really liked it. It's completely functional, too.