It's been oft-noted that the great thing about shoes is that they aren't subject to some of the frustrations — sartorial and physical — that clothing is. Your shoe size stays (pretty much) the same no matter how much weight you gain or lose, shoes require minimal upkeep, and while shoe styles can definitely change with the times, it's also relatively easy to find classics that will work with many ensembles for years to come.
This autumn, I've been keeping my eye out for just those pairs of boots, flats, pumps and wedges that I know I can wear through 2016 and beyond; my existing collecting has all been going strong for three to five years, so I know that good-quality shoes will last at least that long for me. I reguarly clean them and re-sole them (I walk a lot in NYC), and even though I choose to spend a little more at the front, I wear my shoes longer, while not sacrificing the health of my feet (or my back — your choice of footwear can wreak havoc on your spine).
Here are my favorites for fall:
Cocolico's Ndakkinna booties are my number one choice for this season, as they are beautifully understated, but rock some delicious details as well: the tiny lacing and bow at the top of the heel is sweet, and the way the (veggie-tanned, sustainable) leather is nailed to the wood platform (I love walking on wood heels!). In addition, the company produces its shoes in a factory in Spain that "pays living wages, sustaining high standards and remaining dedicated to minimizing their overall environmental footprint."
A great pair of flats like these Ultragirls will serve you well in all sorts of circumstances, from running errands to being paired with slacks for work. A bit of sparkle adds some interest, and Melissa's, which are made in a closed-loop factory in Brazil (which means no nasty pollutants make their way into the water supply there), last forever. And they're waterproof!
What says autumn better than corduroy? These cute Wine Cord Wedges by TOMS are a part of the company's amazing one-for-one program: your shoe purchase ensures that a child in need of shoes gets a pair too.
Naya's Sabre boot is a classic, slightly chilled-out motorcycle boot. Paired with jeans, a long skirt or a short skirt with leggings.
The Olsen Haus Muse is a black pump with a twist and shout. The pop of color where you'd least expect it really makes these vegan, eco-friendly heels just that much more interesting on a dull workday.