Well-heeled flats

Flat-heeled styles are a shoe-in to provide comfort this season
Wednesday, March 30, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 11:45 a.m. CDT, Saturday, July 19, 2008

Women are ditching their often painful, pointy-toed stilettos for comfortable flat-heeled shoes.

Flat-heeled shoes are making a comeback, reminiscent of the 1950s look of Audrey Hepburn. Flat-heeled shoe styles reflect trends in fashion this spring — they have classic, feminine looks. Celebrities such as Kate Hudson and Sophia Coppola have been spotted wearing them.

The pages of J.Crew’s spring catalog feature loafers, ballet slippers and moccasins in a variety of styles and colors. Although most of the styles come in suede, there are also leather and silk flats, some with bright garden and floral patterns. Prices range from $98 to $138.

The Gap also has gotten in on the low-heeled shoe craze with its spring line. Styles of flats include suede ballet slippers and jeweled moccasins. Each pair sells for $39.50, and the shoes are available in soft, feminine pinks, greens and blues, in addition to tans and browns.

Kayla Sterling, an employee at Dillard’s in the Columbia Mall, said she thinks comfort plays a part in the popularity of the shoes. She is seeing college students move away from stiletto heels and look instead for ballet slippers and moccasins.

She said styles of ballet slippers and moccasins from designers Gianni Vini and Antoni Melani have been extremely popular. They range from $59 to $79.

Famous Barr also has a wide selection of flats, including styles from Nine West, Aerosoles, Naturalizer and Karen Scott.

Women can still get in on the flats trend without spending a lot of money. Stores such as Target and Payless ShoeSource offer designer look-a-likes for a fraction of the price.

At Payless ShoeSource, women can find flats in a variety of styles and colors for under $25 a pair, and ballet slippers are available in bright colors such as turquoise, lavender and pink for spring.

Laura Guerdan, a junior at MU, owns several pairs of moccasins from Payless ShoeSource.

“They looked comfortable to wear to class, but they were still stylish,” she said.

Guerdan also said she hates to wear tennis shoes, so flats are a much more appealing alternative.

Allyson Campbell, an employee at Shoebox, said flats appeal to women because they are comfortable and come in so many colors.

Shoebox sells moccasins from Steve Madden and Kenzie, and Campbell said she expects the store will have more styles as spring approaches.

Campbell said most women wear flats with jeans or Capri pants and casual skirts. College students wear them most during the day when walking around campus, but they are also a good option when going out.

“They’ve made them more interesting for younger girls,” Campbell said.

Katie Mellinger, an employee at Dryer’s Shoe Store, said flats are appealing to women because they are comfortable, yet cute and youthful.

“Women are tired of being expected to wear heels in order to look sexy,” Mellinger said. “They want something comfortable, especially if they are going to work or going shopping. Flats are a better alternative.”

Guerdan said she continues to wear heels when going out for the evening but loves wearing moccasins for comfort during the day.

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