Mother’s Day is fast approaching and some folks, whether it be “Dad” or a thankful adult child, would like to get their wives or mothers something extra special. Flowers, cards, candy, stuffed animals, and trinkets are the typical things you’ll find to honor the special mother in your life. But we’ve come up with a creative way to set moms up in style and comfort. Have you considered treating her to an attractive, yet ultra-comfortable pair of shoes? If not, then I’d like to turn you on to two special boutique shoe brands that have quite the reputation in the Southeast and beyond. They both fall under the canopy of Consolidated Shoe Co. which is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year, having been in business since 1898. While it originated as a manufacturing company and brand builder for other brands, Consolidated Shoe Co. has created multiple brands unique to them, the two more prominent ones being OTBT (Off the Beaten Track) and Naked Feet.
In Calhoun County, both OTBT and Naked Feet brands are available through Wakefields & Martin’s Family Clothing Stores. You can also find styles in Birmingham at Gus Mayer and LJ’s Retail Therapy. Both brands showcase shoes made with mixed materials like genuine or faux leather or suede, vegan leather, designed in conservative solids or engaging print.
The OTBT brand, begun in 2009, creates attractive and trendy athleisure footwear that is designed for comfort in practical situations, whether it be standing on your feet for hours at work, traveling, long-distance walking, or even hiking. These shoes are designed to offer stability, comfort, and traction while remaining lightweight. Their series lines are: Travel Lite (Featuring casual sneaker styles like Alstead & Free), Resort Wear (Wedge & Platform Sandals), and Outdoor Explorer (Sneaker Boots, Hiking Sneakers, High Top Sneakers, & Combat Boots).
I was afforded the opportunity to sample two styles from the OTBT line, and opted for one of the most popular designs, the Alstead Sneakers in Griege, and the Montane Platform Sandals in Silver. When I first held the Alsteads in my hands, I was surprised by how light they are compared to a standard pair of sneakers. This would make them an excellent choice for travel, as the pliable perforated faux suede collapses, leaving you the option for more travel space in your luggage. However, you’ll surely want to wear these in the airport, climbing the steps of the Colosseum in Rome, or hiking on nature trails, as the soles are cushioned with FlexCork footbed technology and Step Lite spring back technology. What that means in layman’s terms is, it feels like you’re walking on a cloud. The shoes are supportive, yet with cushioned softness.
As a person who has suffered from plantar fasciitis, I wish I’d known about these shoes sooner because they would be a perfect choice for women with that issue. I loved the airholes for additional coolness on warm days, and there were so many attractive colors to choose from, that I was stumped: Silver, Dove Gray, Black, Griege, Beige, Zebra Print, Lavender, Chamois, Light Blue, and Canary Yellow. The Zebra Print is a must-have if you want to stand out in a crowd while being more comfortable than most who try to place fashion above support. The tread on the Alsteads makes them the best choice for walking on uneven terrain–one reason why these shoes are one of the most popular in the OTBT brand.
Another style that’s a truly excellent choice for keeping your feet cool on hot summer days is the Montane Platform Sandal. The upper part is made of genuine leather, while the soles feature the OTBT Travel Lite® EVA sole. As I was looking for a color that isn’t as blaring (or easily soiled) as white, I chose silver, which is actually glossed in a trendy sparkled finish. If you’d prefer a classic black sandal with an edge, their black option has a stand-out textured leather to set it apart from the rest. The sandal is so easy to slip on and off with the velcro straps, enabling it to fit perfectly to your foot’s unique width. Though these are platform sandals, they are ultra comfortable and stable, with excellent tread to prevent you from slipping on any number of surfaces. Other colors include Dove and Rosette, and the sizes range for this style (as well as their others) from 5.5 to 11.
Shoes sold under the Naked Feet brand retain the same features of OTBT–being lightweight, comfortable, and supportive, but with more sophistication and class in their styles. These shoes are perfect for attending special events, going out for a night on the town, staying at a resort, or simply dressing up. They incorporate leather, ornaments, and handcraftmanship that makes them fashionable without sacrificing a high level of comfort. Some of the types available are mules, slip ons, heeled sandals, and platform clogs and sandals.
The Elect Platform Mules are the perfect loafer for everyday wear, whether working, shopping, running errands, or eating out. I sampled the black leather ones, which I found to be classic, sleek, and comfortable. The gold statement chain was the perfect touch to these square-toed slip ons, which would be suitable for wear all-year long. Also available in Chamois and Camel, the Elect Platform Mules feature the EVA platform and outsole design, and are lined with vegan leather
Available in Camel, Mist, Black, Rosette, or Light Blue, the Infinity Wedge Sandals are the perfect complement to any spring or summer attire, categorized as resort wear. These modern sandals, which sport an asymmetrical wide front strap and square open toe, would be perfect for walking in exotic locations, dining out, or any number of activities. Hearing that the temperatures would be reaching the low 80’s, I ventured out in my camel colored pair to meet with some clients. The stability of the cushioned platform sole which provides a solid foundation was perfect for walking school hallways or across parking lots. The leather was pliable enough to allow my feet enough room without slippage occurring. Being a person who struggles with finding shoes that provide comfort without sacrificing an attractive design, I was very happy to be seen in these trendy sandals.
This is just a small sampling of all the shoes that are available through both OTBT and Naked Feet. Their fall and winter fashions feature boots, clogs, sneakers, and high-tops. The colorful variety of options make these shoes truly special, given they cater to the woman seeking style and comfort. Mother’s Day may be one particular occasion to seek these shoes out, but their multi-purpose functionality make them the perfect go-to’s when shopping for chic summer styles, warm winter staples, or shoes for work, travel, or play. Check out OTBT and Naked Feet online or visit one of the retailers that carries them in person.