Beauty is pain? Not so for Magritte Shoes, which is making an effort to align style and comfort.
The three-year-old women’s brand strives to offer fashion-forward comfort by equipping its heels with OrthoLite X-40 foam (the same material in basketball and hiking shoes) to lessen foot pain and irritation.
The footwear also comes with leather linings to reduce slippage, as well as cushioned heel counters, hidden elastics and shock-absorbing outsoles.
The brand was founded by Magritte Saunders, a retail technologist and avid traveler, who grew up learning about textiles in her parents’ clothing factory. When she moved to New York City in 2000 to work in product technology at Bloomingdale’s, her professional wardrobe of heels and strappy sandals contributed not only to foot aches but to back pain, too.
Per doctor’s orders, Saunders began to search for comfortable alternatives — unsuccessfully. “Everything out in the market was either really matronly or, in order to be fashion-focused, it had to be $400 to $500,” Saunders told Footwear News.
Enter: Magritte Shoes. In 2013, Saunders wedded her experiences with a longtime interest in design to create the brand, which retails for $100 to $150. “Our unofficial slogan is: We’re trying to make comfort shoes sexy enough that you can get lucky in them,” she quipped.
The spring ’17 collection consists of open-toe slingbacks, strappy sandals and velvet heels in neutral colors. A customer favorite is the Candice, with its statement buckle and subtle three-inch stacked heel.
The Candice sandal in white, $148; Magritte.com
The Karli pump in black, $138; Magritte.com
The Shar sandal in black and yellow, $138; Magritte.com
The San Francisco–based brand is sold in several California boutiques and on its website, and it is working to connect with larger retailers across the country.
While the label is focused on comfort, Saunders noted good design comes first: “Our goal is for people to buy the shoes because of the way they look. Then, you’ll continue with us because of their unparalleled comfort.”
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