Monday, December 20, 2010

Kenneth Cole’s “Keep Open” rate 3 blisters

My black patent wedge Mary Jane's by Kenneth Cole Reaction are not allowed back in my closet.

Their crime is 3 blisters after 4 hours at an Oktoberfest party. Their vamps, the topline, bit into the skin below my big toe knuckle, rubbing it raw in several places on both feet. Having a backup pair of old shoes helped me get home without more damage, but the next day I was hobbled and healing took 3 weeks.

Despite my caution and due diligence, I’d been deceived. The 1-1/2” wedge seemed perfect. The sueded scallop trim topline was cute. The nonskid rubber outsole was comfortable. The $39.95 price was right. I'd worn them up and down the aisles of Marshall’s before the purchase, and once at home, wore them regularly before the four week return policy was up.

Unfortunately, I believe the only way to truly know a shoe is to wear it out of the house for at least four hours. It wasn’t the wedge heel that did me in, which is what I was nervous about. It was the razor edge on the vamp, the topline, that tortured me.

Until I find a replacement, I will:

Wear these no longer than 3 hours.
Admit the brand’s nostalgic value, due to a much-loved pair of Kenneth Cole granny boots from my clubbing days.
Respect the brand’s personality. How can you not? They are pioneers of cause marketing: AIDS, homelessness, Haiti. They have awesome, punny copywriting. (“The average woman falls in love 7 times a year. Only 6 are with shoes.”) They have two fabulous books: Footnotes, 2003 (which I have), and Awearness, 2008.
Keep trying on Gentle Souls, the comfort shoe brand Kenneth Cole acquired in 2005 that uses flaxseed memory pillows (flaxseeds!) in the arch and the footbed.
Not give up on Kenneth Cole because I bought the “Keep Open” shoes BEFORE August 2009, which is when Kenneth Cole launched the 925 patented comfort technology, designed with Gentle Souls’ founder Wayne Finklestein, which is now in all women’s shoes (sheepskin linings, flaxseed pillow arches, cork cushioning & poron memory foam layers).

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