[I'm still sort of bewildered by the fact that I turned an internship at a newspaper run by a then-anti-fashion Editor-in-Chief into a job where I get to write about fashion every day. Nice move, me. The only thing that could be better than that would be to work for a newspaper that only covered shoes. So for this week, I'm going to count down the four most significant shoes I blogged about in 2011. Not necessarily the best mind you (that's a different list), but the ones that served as indicators for important events and changes on Portland's shoe landscape. As a bonus, I'll add a new favorite to each related category for us to consider moving into the new year.]

On January 31 I reported that John Fluevog was opening a store in downtown Portland. I had to overcome some prejudices to get excited about this; I always identified Fluevogs with overly chunky toes and ridiculously wavy and/or bulbous heel shapes, and I wanted none of it. And I was half right; Fluevog still puts out some of the ugliest shoes I have ever laid eyes on. But what I discovered when I actually marched my ass down to the store and saw the selection is that they also put out some of the wildest and most imaginative shoe designs on the market, too. And lots of them. In fact if I stay away from their signatures of extreme wonkiness (which admittedly have won them a loyal market of cult fans), I always find myself developing a crush. They're not astronomical, but they're not cheap either, and while I wish they weren't produced overseas (mostly in Portugal but also Mexico, Peru, China, and Vietnam)—that is, in overseas countries that aren't Italy or Spain, for example—the world frustratingly has not caught up to my combined standards of quality/ethics/economy. Such a bummer.

This is one of the pairs that I skeptically and half heartedly blogged with my announcement, but when I found a gift certificate in my goodie bag at the grand opening party, they're not the ones I bought. As far as the ones I bought, well, let's just say I'm wearing them as I type this.


Photo: John Fluevog

My new favorite is after the cut.

  • John Fluevog