Back in the middle of March, I got an email asking if I was interested in reviewing Earth Footwear. Since at the time it was 80 degrees and I hadn't bought any new shoes for the suddenly summer-like weather, I jumped all over it. They have a ton of shoes that are both trendy and designed to be comfortable, perfect for showing off my newly pedicured toes.
I excitedly took to Twitter to ask a couple fashion forward friends their opinions of the pair I was trying to choose. Thanks to Emily, I finally narrowed it down to the Paprika and the Tobasco. A few weeks later, the Paprika shoes showed up at my house.
I was pleased to see how they were packaged. There was cardboard holding the shoe's shape so that it would fit nicely once it arrived. As much as I liked the look of the shoe online, I was even more happy with it once it arrived. The leather was soft and gorgeous, and though it has a small heel, the shoes are extremely comfortable and well padded, including reinforced arch support.
The goal behind Earth Footwear is to make contemporary looking shoes that are comfortable and supportive for a variety of needs. They all include a cushioned footbed, whether you're looking for dress shoes at work or something casual for hanging out. And it looked like they had succeeded.
One other thing I really liked about the shoe is that it didn't require me to buckle and unbuckle the shoes every time I took them on and off. Instead, there's a nifty zipper that has a lining to protect your foot from the zipper. I thought that was an inspired piece of design. On my right shoe, it worked beautifully, but my left shoe stuck somewhat and required quite a bit of effort to get over a hump in the middle - that was to be telling, later.
I put them on to test them out in the house, but unfortunately that gorgeous summer weather had long since disappeared, and these shoes require warm weather to be worn - which is part of the reason this review is so long in coming. I didn't want to give only a partial review so waited for weather to warm again.
As I walked around the house, the shoes were comfortable, but a little loose. That buckle on the shoe? Although I didn't need to use it to put the shoes on and off, it was still functional. I was able to tighten and loosen it until it was perfectly comfortable on both ankles. And apparently I don't - yet - have cankles and needed to tighten the sandals.
And then I waited. And waited. And waited for the weather to warm up...
It finally did in the middle of May, and I happily put my sandals on and wore them for the day. The zipper stuck again, though not as much, on my left shoe. Where that bump was wore on my left heel, though my right foot was fine - leading me to believe it was an issue with my individual shoe and not anything with the design of the shoe. I was also pretty sure that the shoes just needed to be broken in a little and didn't want to ding Earth Footwear quite yet. Unfortunately, I ended up wearing the sandals the next day where I walked to and from a mani/pedi, well over a mile. I had thought the Band-Aid I applied would solve everything, but it feel off and ... I wasn't able to wear the sandals for awhile. That said, this was my fault.
Once my heel healed, I again attempted the shoes. And yes, they were well broken in. After a test run around my 'hood, I wore the sandals to Type A in Charlotte where I received a number of compliments on my fancy sandals. I wore them for two solid days in Charlotte in the conference and walking to and from dinner. They were supremely comfortable, and I didn't have so much as a scratch on my heel.
As for the comfort, I was on my feet the majority of the day there, and they didn't ache at all. The padding and arch support was awesome and definitely needed. When I danced the night away, I kept my sandals on - unlike the majority of women who had to discard their footwear.
In my mind, it cemented that I had one sandal with a small manufacturing issue that was unlikely to be common. The sandals were gorgeous, and I continue to get compliments on them. The fact that they're comfortable and I can wear them all day long is necessary given who I am. I'm sold. Though the Earth Footwear shoes aren't cheap - my Paprika sandals cost $89 - they were worth it. I'm currently browsing the catalogue to see what will be next. What do you think about the Bonsai?
In the interest of full disclosure, I received a pair of Paprika sandals from Earth Footwear for the purposes of this review. I was not compensated, and all opinions remain my own.