After some positive feedback from my recent post on the Clarks Ashland Alpine shoes, I learned that, shockingly, women are more interested in reading about shoes than men. So I figured that there could be a substantial niche at PRAKTICALA for content targeted at women.
It just so happens I have these Black Canvas Cork Strappy Wedges from TOMS that I think you people might be interested in. Hey I won’t fight against the basic laws of economics. Supply and demand!
I have always been personally indifferent towards TOMS. The girls I know who wear them love them, but they always seemed rather drab and overpriced to me (the shoes, not the girls). Yoselin from 6 Mono Media used to wear a pair of plain black TOMS almost every day for so long that I’m pretty sure they were in a state of partial decomposition until I finally made her throw them out because I didn’t want my house invaded by guys in hazmat suits.
Her birthday recently passed and she demanded that I “surprise” her with a pair of cool new TOMS. Being a good husband, I obliged the birthday request.
First, I grabbed a replacement pair of plain black TOMS that seem to be the staple shoe in every woman’s closet. They match with anything – flat soles, unassuming, yet instantly recognizable in appearance – you can wear them to work, to run errands, or to hang out with friends.
“I” also added to my cart a pair of fancy-schmancy wedges. What? I shouldn’t have been surprised that TOMS carries all kinds of shoes given the fact that my MBA team and I wrote a case study on their business model and marketing strategy, but I just always pictured TOMS as those boring, expensive, trendy hipster shoes that girls pretended were comfortable so they could look cool.
I look at TOMS as shoes. The fact that they supposedly give away a pair of shoes to a needy child with every purchase is a nice bonus/sentiment, but if that’s why you buy them, the justification is rather murky. Hence my impression of TOMS as overly simple and overpriced.
After this birthday fiasco, while I wouldn’t go so far as to call myself a TOMS believer just yet, I do see that they have a broad lineup of pretty interesting footwear for women (I won’t comment on their shoes for men).
The Black Canvas Cork Strappy Wedges are very cool looking. Yoselin hates (and I mean HATES) wearing heels, but conveniently found these to be “so comfortable.” I have indeed heard that wedges are less painful to wear than heels, although I cannot verify this for myself.
What I do like is the visual quality of the shoe. The design is attractive. The canvas and metal buckles give the shoes some intriguing texture. The soles are real cork, not the ridiculous printed crap you find on cheap shoes. No word on whether they will last in the real world though. No leather or goodyear welting here folks!
At 69 bucks a pop, they aren’t cheap, but you could pay a lot more for crappy “designer” shoes that aren’t as good, and also don’t even pretend to give shoes away to needy children.
Fine, I’ll bite.
A note on the sizing: according to Yoselin, this particular model seems to run a half to full size larger than normal TOMS. Yoselin ordered her usual TOMS size and found that they were far too big. A full size down fit her much better.
What do you know, she loves walking around in them. These are great shoes to wear to a wedding or special event, or even to work if you normally get kind dressed up for your job. Added bonus: she looks good in them. Hooray! Happy wife, happy life.
PROS: Good visual design. Nice detail and texture. Good-intentioned (but ambiguous) business model.
CONS: Not cheap. “Trendy.” Does not look particularly durable.
You can get the canvas strappy wedges from TOMS by clicking here. And guess what, you can use the promo code TOMS5OFF to get five bucks off your total!
Ladies, you probably love TOMS, right? Tell me why in the comments!