Search for the perfect sandal

I have always loved shoes. Back when I was in high school, I loved to deposit my paycheck and go straight to Nordstrom Rack to see if they had any good deals. If not, I would go to Payless for some one-season-lifespan shoes. When I was pregnant with Rosie, my feet went from a 10M to an 11W (43 euro). Most people don’t have to deal with the large womens feet issue that I do, because only a small minority of women have feet this big, and only a few shoe manufacturers make shoes larger than size 10. And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve started to use orthopaedic insoles or buy high-quality shoes with adequate support. I find a lot of my shoes in mens departments, but tire of the boxy, masculine look. I love to wear sandals, but finding comfortable and supportive sandals has proven to be more of a quest than a joy for me.

In 2007, I found the Keen Carmel (shown above) on I wasn’t happy about paying $75 for them, but used a giftcard from my birthday to pay for half of it. They met all of my criteria:

-black leather
-orthopedic insole
-closed-toe with a heel strap (a hospital regulation for sandals)
-feminine details
-dressy enough for work and church, casual enough for jeans

From the moment I put them on, I was in heaven. I’d never worn a more comfortable sandal. These sandals have traveled with me from coast to coast, from beach to desert to mountains, day after day after day. I have walked hundreds of miles in them, and easily worn them 400 times. They take up minimal space in a suitcase, and they clean up easily (even after being caked in mud from a hike)

But now it’s spring 2009, and these sandals have bitten the dust. The foam insoles are cracked and faded. The leather has softened and stretched to the point that they don’t hold my foot in correctly. The stiching that holds the strap and buckle has come almost completely off. I probably only have a few more full days left in them, which I carefully plan.

So blogger friends…here’s your assignment: find me a cute pair of black sandals that fits the above criteria (black leather, closed-toe with heel strap, orthopedic insole, etc) that costs less than $60. It’s preferable if I can actually try it on at a store (then buy it online for the best price) I’d like to get my replacement pair with my tax return, which will arrive sometime next week. I’d be happy buying the Keens again, but I’m curious what you can come up with.

If I decide on the sandal you suggest, winner will recieve a custom-made mix CD of any genre.

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