(Disclaimer: this post contains a PR gifted item)
A long time ago, during what I like to call the B.L. age (a.k.a. Before London era…) I used to be one of those women who would wear ridiculously high heels everywhere. And by that, my dear friends, I mean everywhere: to the college, to work, to dinner dates, and even to go grocery shopping. Yes, pals, I was THAT girl. What can I say? (I have told you before but I will again: if you look for extra in the urban dictionary, my picture will come probably across…)
But then, I moved to the UK and was introduced to a terrifying new concept that still sends shivers down my back: London commuting. (If that’s not a horror story, I don’t know what is. I am fine with real crime TV shows and Stephen King books, but talk to me about London commuting and I’ll start shaking uncontrollably… ) Coming from a modest-size city, where commuting translates into a twenty-minute walk, I found myself trapped for hours to no-end in the underground system. And I can tell you one thing: that is a helluva amount of time! So, I said goodbye to high heels and got used to always carrying with me the most comfortable pair of flat shoes I could find.
Let me add, that was easier said than done. Yes, heels could be saved for the weekly office meetings and the occasional dinner date, but finding the perfect pair of flats is far tougher than I first thought.
While heels will hurt your ankles and feet when worn for long hours, ballerina flats can be hard on your back and feet’s sole. This is a lesson that I had to learn the hard way, though. I have mild scoliosis but after wearing the inappropriate type of flat shoes for a few hours, my back will start torturing me and there are days in which I only want to lay down. And that’s never fun, is it?
Over the last couple of years, I tried different things. I wore silicon soles to reduce the impact and help support the feet, I tested half-a-dozen shoe brands, and I even visited a physiotherapist to give me some advice but nothing was working for me. The last resource seemed to be giving up and wearing sneakers, which is quite a logical conclusion. Only, I HATE sneakers with a passion.
Actually, scratch that. To be more specific, I hate sneakers with the fire of a thousand suns!
(Before you all come on me, let me add there’s nothing wrong with wearing trainers. They just look terrible on me, specifically. When I dare to wear them, I look like a scrawny professional tennis player aspirant who never made it to the Wimbledon Tournament but still wears sporty clothes… Yes, it’s that bad. So you can now feel my pain when I say trainers were the last option available.)
I was starting to feel quite hopeless at this point, and investing an insane amount of time browsing the internet and looking at shoe stores in search of the perfect pair of ballerina flats that would be fit for the job. I started feeling like Cinderella, only trying a thousand different shoes that were not the cristal slipper—well, a modern Londoner version of her, for the matter. One with little patience for nonsense, bad hair days, and too much coffee in her system…
And then the miracle happened! A few weeks ago the good people behind Vivaia contacted me asking if I’d like to test their newest shoe model: The Aria 5, also known as the “sneaker flat”. I had never heard of them before but they caught my attention when I read they are an ethical shoe company, based on sustainability. As you may know already, this has been a topic concerning me for a long time now, and I’ve changed lots of my shopping habits as a consequence. Hence, I was genuinely interested in trying the shoes.
When I finally received them, the first thing I noticed is all the packing is recycled. Also, the shoes themselves are made out of more than six plastic bottles, which is quite impressive in my book! However, they are still washable, as the 3D knitted material is super resistant (which I could test when I accidentally hit a bin in the streets with no visible imperfections on the flats whatsoever).
The first time I wore my Aria 5, I realised the shoes are designed for increased arch support and the memory foam both in the heel padding and insole felt amazing.
But let me make present my case. I wore the shoes from noon to eight in the evening. Sebastian and I went out with a visiting friend and walked through the Bank area to Spitalfields Market, and then to Brick Lane, London Bridge, finishing with a cocktails night at Bōkan in Canary Wharf. By the end of it, my feet were still feeling great and even most importantly, I had no back pain at all! Can I hear a Hallelujah here?
The people at Vivaia were so kind as to sponsor this post by offering this beautiful natural peach Aria 5 pair but, as we speak, I am already looking into their website and adding another pair in black to my shopping cart. Guys, I am serious when I say these flats have changed my life for the better.
So if you are looking for a shoe designed for the modern, professional woman, head to their website now and thank me later.
Are you a flats kind of girl? Or still a heels person? Let me know in the comments!