Better Than Tieks? Heck Yea!

A couple of months ago I wrote about my first pair of Tieks. I had done my homework; spending hours online checking out all the accolades everyone seemed to have when it came to these trendy shoes with the light blue soles. I had to do a bit of searching but FINALLY found one blog post where the author described how disappointed she was with her pair. In reading the comments I found many others who also found Tieks not to be their cup of tea and how difficult it was to find anything online that was less than complementary.

Up to that point I had worn my navy blue Tieks a couple of times and while they were comfortable, they still weren’t “OMG! I can’t feel my feet! These shoes are so amazing comfortable!” At the end of the day my toes felt squished and there was a red circular line around the base of my toes. So back online I went and discovered many wearers use heavy socks to stretch out the toe box . I hesitated wearing the shoes with the socks as I was afraid it would stretch out the entire shoe, so I rolled the socks up, stuffed them deep inside the toe box and left them alone for a couple of days. HUGE difference! Much better fit now. I also inserted mole skin in the toe box to keep my “toe bumps” from being as noticeable.

As I am slowly weaning myself off from “fast fashion” (more on that in a later post) I decided I needed a pair of quality flats in the brown/tan/bronze category. Tieks offers a beautiful metallic bronze that intrigued me. But before I could order them I discovered Tory Burch Minnie ballet flats. Very similar to Tieks in that they too fold in half and come with a nice bag for when you need to get out of your heels and slip into something way more comfortable.

I decided to order both the metallic bronze Tieks and the Tory Burch Minnie in royal tan since both offer free shipping and free returns and do a side-by-side comparison. The Minnies were delivered first and as soon as I opened the box I was in love. Leather as soft as a baby’s butt. Super rich, more of a brown than actual tan color. I even loved the signature gold double T medallion, which I wasn’t sure about…I was concerned it would be a bit too ostentatious considering my “go-to” daily wardrobe is a pair of ripped boyfriend jeans and a Eileen Fisher tee-shirt. Then I actually wore them and it only got better. Super comfortable with no pesky breaking-in period.

The metallic bronze Tieks showed up the next day and while I did like the color, this size 6 pair (the same size as my navy Tieks) didn’t fit. Like “I don’t even think the sock trick will work” uncomfortable. It is my understanding that each pair is handmade which I assume accounts for the slight size discrepancy.  And since I was so impressed with the Minnies, it was a no brainer as to which pair I was keeping.

Cost wise they are pretty close. The metallic Tieks were $195, the Tory Burch Minnie $228. Tieks offers no discounts or perks but I ordered my Minnies from Nordstrom where I earn rewards toward future purchases.

Obviously it all boils down to a simple matter of taste and comfort. That said, I wouldn’t hesitate to order either brand of shoe again, though I probably would order both a size 6 and a size 7 in the Tieks just to ensure a correct fit.

 

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Random Thought: Why is there such a stigma surrounding certain used items?

Saturday morning yard sales are HUGE here in the South. I’ve seen people practically make a living off of these sales. And on occasion it can be fun to get up at the butt-crack of dawn and go traipsing around unfamiliar neighborhoods looking at someone else’s junk. For many the high is when they find that one thing they can’t live without and spend the next 15 minutes negotiating the all ready “so low it’s almost free” price down even further.

When I moved off the 36′ sailboat I called home for 8 years, I spent a good bit of time hitting up yard sales, estate sales and consignment shops. I hated (and still do) the thought of buying things new when not necessary. And throughout all my secondhand shopping I found it interesting the list of items which are considered taboo to try to sell.

Those things include:

  • Underwear (both new and used.)*
  • Shoes (unless they are brand new still in the box.)*
  • Food. Don’t know if it is considered taboo or just something people don’t think of. I mean if I bought 4 boxes of the same kind of pasta, ate one and discovered I didn’t like it, I probably wouldn’t think about getting rid of it at a yard sale.
  • Old towels and bed linens.*
  • Used hygiene products, beauty care products, makeup, bath toiletries, etc. etc.* And while I definitely understand the concern surrounding purchasing something that personal, I was in Goodwill the other day and saw a very large plastic tub encased in saran wrap and FULL of used lotions, serums, creams, and the like. And they wanted $25 for it!

* That is unless these items are for sale at an estate sale. There, all rules are out the window and unless the family wants it, everything is usually available for a price.

And while I still talk a good game about checking out yard sales, now that my house is completely furnished I’m just not that motivated. Plus, the last time I did stop I was on the hunt for oversized flower pots which this one house did have, but they weren’t for sale.

What are some of the best deals you’ve gotten while bargain shopping whether at a yard sale or thrift store? I’d love to hear about them!

 

 

 

Where’s the Quality?

Years ago a national fast food hamburger chain ran a very successful ad campaign entitled, “Where’s the Beef?” mocking their competitors who had begun serving minuscule burgers topped with subpar ingredients. While “Where’s the Beef?” became a major catchphrase, the ad did nothing to change the corporate climate of offering less for the same amount, if not more, money. And unfortunately, this attitude in everything from the clothes we wear, the homes we live in, and the food we consume, has continually gotten worse over the past 35 years.

Recently I purchased a bag of Bugles. While I realize they contain no nutritional value they are tasty and I wanted to introduce my two year granddaughter to the joy of eating Bugles off your fingertips. These Bugles were so small the hole at the top was completely baked together. There was no way even my granddaughter could squeeze her tiny little fingers in the space. They tasted as good as a Bugle can taste but the “fun factor” was missing.

bugles

I emailed General Mills, the company who makes Bugles, not to ask for a refund, but to let them know how disappointed I was in their decision to change the shape/size of their snack.bugle

No reply email or phone call…no acknowledging receipt of my concerns, until a few weeks later when I received an envelope in the mail from them. Inside were several “cents off” coupons along with one or two free purchase coupons. Nothing letting me know they were taking my complaint under consideration, nothing thanking me for taking the time to let them know of my concerns, nothing telling me it was a fluke and that Bugles are exactly the same size as always…just the coupons.

I assume General Mills must think I am a loyal Bugles fan, eating at least a bag a week, when in reality, I may purchase a bag a year. So, instead of making me feel as though they at least understand my concern, they blew me off with coupons for a product in all honesty I probably won’t even purchase again.

Thank God I recycle so at least the coupons won’t go completely to waste!

Tieks: SO Worth the $$$!

In a former life (one of those lives I wasn’t even aware of) I must have been a researcher because these days it seems like even the simplest thing has me running to the internet, scoping out all the pros and cons. This includes restaurant reviews, new items at the grocery store, the best method for killing mold on my cucumber and squash plants and especially when it comes to spending money…big money on beauty and healthcare products and pricey clothes and shoes.

I recently discovered the term “fast fashion” and after reading “Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion” by Elizabeth Cline, it really made me stop and think. The how, why and what I buy is for another blog post but for now it’s sufficient to say her book made me take a really hard look at my clothing decisions; which then led me to put time and effort into researching my upcoming shoe purchase rather than running to the mall and buying a half-dozen pairs simply because they were cute.

Needing a pair of shoes that were versatile, comfortable and well-made (and not flip-flops) I had checked out Tieks a while back but just couldn’t commit…that was until I did my homework and read everything I could find online,  about these sassy shoes with the light Tiek blue sole.  And while there are literally thousands of blog posts and YouTube videos, I wasn’t convinced until I found Ruth and her fabulous website, Viva Veltoro. This amazing lady has literally written everything you could possibly want to know about Tieks and more! She has even taken the time to do comparison photos of similarly colored Tieks so you can see the subtle differences in shading.

Based on all her hard work, I was ready to buy my very first pair of Tieks. It’s funny, even though I currently don’t own and frankly can’t remember the last time I owned a pair of navy blue shoes, that was what I selected for my maiden pair of Tieks. Christened “California Navy” I figured I would get a lot of wear out of them with jeans and denim capris and crops; and I wasn’t wrong.

The ordering process is super easy. Tieks are only sold on their website and never go on sale so you don’t waste time with price comparisons or searching for coupons. I ordered on a Monday and they were delivered on Wednesday. Yes, the box is cute. The flower is cute. The extra bags are nice. But I was more concerned with the fit. I wear a 6, ordered a 6, and a 6 is what fit. They were a little tight across my toes. But I know years of wearing nothing but flip-flops has caused my feet to get a bit flatter and wider. While I have seen methods online on how to stretch your Tieks, I simply wore mine around the house for a couple of days. That said, if your Tieks don’t fit and you haven’t worn them outside, email or call Tieks, tell them what other size you want to try and they will get it in the mail right away. In fact, Tieks will even allow you to keep both pairs (only being charged for one) until you decide which size fits best. Just remember to return one pair within the time limit so you aren’t charged for both.

Except for the little tightness across my toes when I first worn them, they were/are super comfortable. No pinching or pain around my heel, my feet don’t really sweat in them, overall they are an exceptionally comfortable pair of shoes.

While Tieks is very vocal about their ballet flats being made from Italian leather, they aren’t in fact very forthcoming as to where their shoes are actually manufactured. In fact, nowhere online could I find anything saying exactly where they are constructed. When I called Tieks I was told “Brazil, Italy and China” with design and leather from Brazil and Italy, assembly in China and finally packaging in Los Angeles. And while I wish Chinese labor wasn’t involved, I have read enough to know that in today’s manufacturing climate, it is almost impossible to have something made in the US, regardless of cost. Which is pretty sad…and a future blog post topic.

Bottom line: if you are searching for comfort Tieks is the way to go. And while mine are still super new, based on the hundreds of reviews I have read, I have no reason to doubt my Tieks will last me for years to come. Also, if you have any questions whatsoever concerning Tieks, check out Viva Veltoro. IMHO, she is the leading online expert when it comes to all things Tieks.

Already own a pair of Tieks or are you considering purchasing your very first pair? I’d love to know your thoughts!

Things I Can’t Live Without

  • Coffee-A major component of my life these days since giving up alcohol. Lately my favorite is iced coffee with caramel syrup and half and half.
  • Chapstick-One on my nightstand. One in my car. One in my pocket. At all times.
  • Books and Magazines-Both made from paper and the electronic versions.
  • My pets-Even when I lived on a 36′ sailboat I had cats and dogs.

I used to have many, many more things to list but have found as I get older, I don’t need/want as much as before. It’s a nice feeling, very liberating.