September 12 OOTD: Outdoorsy

I just recently returned from spending some time at my in-laws lake house. It’s a bit outside of Yosemite and has a bunch of gorgeous hiking trails, camping spots, and such.

Unfortunately, outdoorsy clothes aren’t exactly cute, are they? I mean, sure there are people that own that ish, but it’s hard to put the outfits together given the just general blah-ness of what we have to work with. So without further ado, here’s a cute outfit for your fall adventures (specifically for mildly cool, not-too-rugged conditions).

Fall Hiking Outfit

TOP: Kuhl Aspira Tank Top – $22.99

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Breathable and layerable, a good base layer for your trekking!

SWEATSHIRT: Alternative Apparel Athletics Hoodie – $15.24 – $54

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I love Alternative Apparel – they’re super duper soft, really breathable, and not too confining. This is not a heavy sweatshirt, so you won’t overheat if you are on a tough trail in cool weather. Nothing worse than getting sweaty and picking up a chill…

VEST: Uniqlo Women’s Ultra Light Down Vest – $39.90

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This is such a great added layer – it scrunches into a tiny-sized carrying case that you can pop into your backpack and pull out as needed. I’d suggest going for a bright color, like red, though this burgundy shade pictured is nice, too.

PANTS: KUT from the Kloth ‘Diana’ Stretch Skinny Jeans – $36.97

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If you’re not getting super rugged, a pair of jeans with comfortable stretch should do the trick. I’m all about premium denim, but not for an activity like hiking, where I’m almost guaranteed to destroy my pants. If I dropped $180 on jeans that snagged on thorns, I think I’d cry.

BOOTS: Kodiak Surrey II Hiking Boot – $121 – 170

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Don’t skimp on price for anything that connects you to the ground! Meaning, don’t cheap out on shoes, tires, or your mattress/bed. Seriously – you’ll thank me later. Having destroyed my feet in fast fashion high heels on cobblestones for a few years, I can assure you that the scars aren’t prettier with each year. And particularly with an activity like hiking, you want your shoes to be sturdy and safe. Make sure you break these in sufficiently, and always wear the appropriate socks when hiking!

OTHER (MAYBE ESSENTIAL?) ODDS AND ENDS

 

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly: Comfort Shoes

I’m not talking about the orthopedic insoles your grandmother wears – I’m talking about common-sense arch support.

Having flitted some of my early 20s away on cobblestones in synthetic heels, let me tell you– I have scars beneath my ankles all the way around my feet, raised pink skin that Mederma couldn’t totally save. Plus, my arches hurt all the dang time. I learned the hard way- when you wreck your feet, there’s no going back.

I got a little bit of advice too late in life: fast fashion is great and all, and you can have a closet full of the latest style, but don’t skimp on anything that separates you from the ground.

That means don’t be cheap when it comes to your mattress, your tires, or your shoes. Remember: there’s a difference between cheap and being frugal. Just because you spent a lot of money on an item doesn’t automatically make the quality exceptional. Nor does spending very little on something always indicate a poor quality item.

Unfortunately, good comfort shoes tend to run at a slightly higher price point – that’s the bad news. So that means, if you’re on the fence about spending a few more dollars on a quality shoe that provides good arch support and fits appropriately, consider these things:

  1. Are the shoes multi-purpose or do they just match one outfit in your closet?
  2. Do you think the workmanship is good – namely that their uppers are made of leather or natural fiber, their soles are well constructed, the insoles have good support, and the shoes as a whole seem like they will last?
  3. Do you think you can make them last at least one year with regular wear (i.e. 3-4 times per week)?

If you answered “yes” to the above, reframe your perspective. Amortize the cost across 12 months to see if it makes sense for you to splurge, and the number you come up with will seem much more palatable (and you can budget/save for it).

Here’s the good news – because you’re looking at brands that specialize in ergonomic design, there are a lot of similarities in styles. Research. Set up Wikibuy, Shopify, Ebates, etc. — and price compare. See if you can find the same shoe for cheaper elsewhere. See if a department store with sales will price match (Nordstrom is great about this). See if another comfort shoe brand has a similar style at a lower price point. The good news is you’ll probably find them.

Now, here’s the ugly: the shoes themselves.

Here’s what I’m betting you visualized when I said those horrid two words “cooooomfoooorrrttttt shooooooes…..”:

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Hopefully you imagined this in a ghostly voice, because this shit haunts my dreams, and I’d rather avoid wearing these in the future (if I ever begin wearing these or driving a minivan, please end my suffering, because I’ve clearly given up on life).

Truth is, the majority of comfort shoe brands (the Clarks, Rockports, Skechers, Crocs, Sorel, The Flexx, etc.) frankly do have a large roster of just-not-that-pretty shoes. It’s hard to have the proper shoe shape that is both fashionable and ergonomically sound — one thing often precludes the other. But… they’ve been trying to modernize, and they’re not just your grandma’s shoes anymore. Check out these cute digs:

THE FLAT: ROTHY’S – $145

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THE WEDGE: COLE HAAN SADIE OPEN TOE WEDGE – $180*

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*Note that setting a sale alert with Cole Haan is eminently worthwhile – they will often reduce by 40% or more. Just keep your eyes peeled!

THE SANDAL: BIRKENSTOCK MAYARI – $99.95*

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*Note that Costco actually brings in Birkenstocks periodically! They typically sell Birkinstock Arizona and Gizehs 1-2 times per year at half the retail price. I don’t recommend ever purchasing these shoes used, as their footbed tends to mould to the shape of the owner’s foot… so you’re kind of defeating the “comfort shoe” purpose if you let someone else break them in.

THE SNEAKER: ALLBIRDS WOOL RUNNERS – $95

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THE PUMPROCKPORT TOTAL MOTION VALERIE LUXE PUMP – ON SALE, $99.99

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THE BOOT: TEVA FOXY WATERPROOF BOOT – $189.95

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See? Nothing to be afraid of when it comes to the dreaded old people shoes… and you can’t put a price on your body’s welfare… you only get one, after all.

Aim for modern takes on classic, simple, styles that are universally wearable and you’ll be just fine.