I love my new shoes. They are the nicest pair of shoes I've had. Ever. My husband asked me if I've ever had shoes that expensive before. Even my wedding shoes were from Payless.
I told him that back in the day I owned a pair of Timberlands. I think I paid 100 USD. Inflation I suppose because they now are 110 USD. They were not cool shoes. Maybe it was because the fit was all wrong. But even after I supposedly broke them in, I had to wear two sets of socks and they were not all that comfortable and heavy on my feet. If I was a hiker, maybe I'd be happy with them, but alas I was a college student and my friend owned a pair (they were popular at the time) and so to be trendy and over-materialistic I bought a pair of hiking boots. What can I say, I like shoes. Good shoes. Shoes that last. Shoes with a certain style.
Recently I needed new shoes. Now I love my German-made Birkies. Really I do. They are just as pricey. I've never bought them for myself. My mother ended up buying a bunch for herself and giving them to me. But let's face it, Birkies and it's parent Birkenstock specialize in clogs and sandals. These aren't exactly "cold climate" shoes. Say what you will but my heels need coverage. Birkenstock is slowly branching out from there. I've seen some shoes that do cover the heel, but this is new to me.
So I went looking around on the internet trying to find comparable shoes made in the United States. Birkenstock is a huge major brand. There are three major labels made in the US that I'm aware of (okay maybe four but I'll get to that).
1) New Balance- The vast majority of NBs are imported, but if you use Zappos and type in "Made in USA" they sometimes will point you to a few designs made in the US. Case in point. (Update: Sorry about that fixed link). But there are several models currently, which is normal around the holidays.
2) San Antonio Shoe Company (SAS)- As you can guess they are American too. My mother buys this brand. She would come to visit me and specifically go to the store up the street. You can't order them online. You have to visit their store. They are comfortable shoes and well made. However...they are the shoes my mother and grandmother wear. Not exactly my style of shoe.
3) Munro- More my age type of shoes, but they are for the posh among us. I'm not exactly posh. My husband has called me a 1920s farm/house wife. I'd like to think he meant I have a flair for the vintage. But he's not. And they get more pricey then I'd like.
Sort 4) Vintage Shoes- I've recently stumbled on these shoes on zappos. They base their specifications on H.H. Brown Shoe Company from the late 19th century to the 1960s. I love the look of the boot above. If we were swimming splendidly in dough and I lived in a cooler climate I would spring for these shoes. But since they are over 300USD, I'll cough and choke and....window shop.
I also like shoes from other US-friendly places. UGGs are cool looking (made in Australia or New Zealand). Update: UGGs are a company that make their shoes in China. Uggs is a type of boot/shoe. You can find several made in AUS or NZ and there's one company in America okay there's two. My husband is probably wanting to fall on the floor and mimic death. He hates them. Alas we have different tastes. Dr Martens makes a few shoes in England, which were popular at one point in the US. Although they aren't my taste.
There are a ton of independent shoes in the US (as I'm sure in other places) and so the search begun on a Made in America Christmas. Over the year as the winter approached, I did several searches looking. If I had searched Etsy a little harder I would have found my awesome shoes long ago.
What did my husband say? Well, they are definitely you. Not his type of shoe, however. He would pick something else out for me. Ah, well.
At least I sleep better at night knowing that my shoes weren't put together by children in harsh conditions in some foreign sweat shop with no access to unions or training in fire extinguishers.