Who says you have to sacrifice style for comfort?

By Karen Gram, Vancouver Sun

Sometimes it seems like all the great shoes have towering stiletto heels, heels that only a select few can actually pull off with panache. The rest of us either look ridiculous wobbling along with our spines pitched forward, or years of heels have destroyed our feet and now we are resigned to sensible shoes and the feeling that we are dull in comparison.

Well, here is some good news. Our city has loads of low heels that pop with creativity and can't help but be noticed.

In fact, some shoe shops specialize in well-made, comfortable, yet really stylish low heels - sourcing brands from around the world.

A tour around the city uncovered some real gems. Some have cork soles, which are a dream to wear, others have wedge or chunky heels offering great stability. They all have style components that will have women coming up to you on the street to say they love your shoes.

Our search was limited to shoes with heels no higher than two inches unless they also had a platform sole. We did end up including one or two that stood 2.3 inches tall. But when we tried them on, they met the comfort test.

Ella Shoes, both downtown and on South Granville, has a large selection of beautiful low heels. Owner George Rodriguez buys brands like Gabor from Germany and Pedro Miralles from Spain, because high heels may be pretty on the shelf, but only a few women actually buy them.

"Women prefer low heels because they are more comfortable to walk in," he says, adding the shoes sold at Ella are also well made for comfort and staying power.

"In Vancouver, it is very easy to find Chinese shoes. But if you want to find quality shoes it is very difficult or very expensive. We try to offer values."

If Rodriquez had to choose favourites, he would choose the German brand Gabor for comfort. They are made in Portugal, are leather inside and out and their boots have different calf widths. For style, he loves Hispanitas boots.

"They play with colours," he says. "For me, in boots, the fall collection is No. 1."

Read more: http://www.vancouversun.com/life/fashion-beauty/lowdown+chic+shoes/6875046/story.html

Jorge Rodriguez
Jorge Rodriguez