Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire.
Israel’s Naot shoes and boots not only offer state-of-the art comfort and fashion-forward styles, they’re stepping into a good cause in Los Angeles, writes Elyse Glickman
Carrie Bradshaw and her sisterhood of fictional fashionistas from film, TV and chick-lit sprint around their cities in Manolos, getting through their marathon to-do lists. However, reality dictates that real-world writers like me are more likely to gravitate towards a brand like Naot. While the shoes are quite a bit more wallet friendly (US$115–US$299, and available at Nordstrom, Zappos and Amazon) and available worldwide, they also make more sense for those of us who do a lot of running around, figuratively and literally.
In addition to arch support and shock absorption (realistically, what Manolos or Jimmy Choos can do that?), Naot shoes feature an elevated footbed centre and a deep-heel indentation, in an insole that replicates the footprint we leave when walking in the sand. Grandmotherly? Sensible? Well, a few basic styles in Naot’s line do fit the description.
However, there are many more styles—particularly the boots and booties—that are quite fashion-forward and crafted from nice leather and attractive hardware, from the Prima Bella and Eden lines. We love the Gratify, Illusion, Enjoy and Exotic boots from this fall’s collections. Many of the summertime sandals are nicely appointed as well, with styles that feature metallic and bright leathers, beading, cut-outs and other cool design elements on a par with some of Europe’s higher-end comfort shoe brands.
The brand got its start in 1942 when members of Kibbutz Naot Mordechai founded the shoe factory as a one-room workshop. With that inauspicious start, no one imagined that in 50 years’ time their shoes would gain cachet as a fashionable brand with some styles coveted in shoe boutiques all over the world. Though sales in basic sandles remained steady, the paradigm shift towards style took shape in the late 1980s in northern Israel. The famous footbeds made of natural cork, Latex and suede were married to uppers fashioned from high-quality Italian leathers.
Naot Footwear and Bellagio Shoes of Santa Monica, Calif. teamed up to help residents of Beit T’Shuvah (a Los Angeles-based residential treatment centre and a supportive, spiritual community ‘that approaches addiction and other destructive behaviours with a ground-breaking model focusing on the integration of whole self, the mind, body and spirit’) get back on their feet with new shoes for their job-search outfits, office attire and other fitness endeavours.
‘Getting to meet the residents of Beit T’Shuvah and to see how grateful they were to be the recipients of Naot’s generosity, was not only an extremely meaningful but humbling experience,’ said Sharon Sadon, the buyer for Bellagio Shoes. ‘Bellagio is proud to have partnered with Naot, one of our and our customers’ favourite brands, to provide new shoes to a group of people who it’s so obvious are working so hard to better their lives.’ •
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