In Partnership With
What If Shoes Could Talk? Adventures in Customized Footwear

In partnership with Soludos.

I wish I was someone whose true self was always immediately apparent upon first encounter, but anxiety often has other plans for my social life. It puts up my guard. It makes all my mannerisms feel forced. It demands effort. Maybe all of this is only apparent to me, but still, it means that truly connecting and feeling at ease around new people can take longer than I would like. That’s why I frequently rely on clothes to say what I can’t — or at least, what I can’t say yet.

Enter: Soludos’ customization suite, an online interface that allows you to personalize the brand’s signature Smoking Slippers and mules. There are more than 60 options for monograms, patches and crests, allowing for ample self-expression when it comes to creating a one-of-a-kind pair. I did exactly that, along with Crystal and Elizabeth, two other members of Team MR who habitually use style as a vehicle for connection. Scroll down to see the shoes we picked out, and what they say about who we are.

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Harling, Fashion Editor (Me)

Soludos shoes styled with Kule T-shirt, & Other Stories blazer, Levi’s jean shorts

What is the meaning behind your customized Soludos?

I’ve always loved the phrase “top banana” because it has such a funny sound to it. Seriously, say it out loud. So fun. It immediately came to mind as an opportunity to use both text and imagery on my custom shoes, since Soludos has a banana peel patch available. It also seemed like a tongue-in-cheek way to communicate my sense of humor, since “top banana” is used to describe an important person — specifically a leading comedian in a burlesque show — which couldn’t be further from who or what I am. Irony and fashion are one of my all-time favorite combinations.

How did you decide to style them?

Since the shoes marry a classic espadrille with a humorous saying, I decided my outfit should marry classic pieces like a striped shirt, plaid blazer and pearl necklace with something so casual it would inject humor by virtue of contrast: denim cut-offs. I was very pleased with the result and would definitely wear it again, although I’d also like to pair the shoes with a one-piece swimsuit and a linen button-down.

How do you tell stories through style in general, literally or figuratively? 

This is where I tell you (lovingly) to re-read my intro, which is basically a long-winded answer to this very question.

Crystal, Operations Manager

Soludos shoes styled with Pyer Moss T-shrt, vintage skirt and belt, Opening Ceremony bag

What is the meaning behind your customized Soludos?

To me, living the “high life” just means living out the best version of my present circumstances. It’s important to aspire to greatness (in whatever way YOU define greatness) but just as important and valid to be high off of the life you are currently living!

How did you decide to style them?

I wanted to lean in heavy with red, so I let the outfit build around the stitching that I chose for my shoes. They’re the shoe equivalent of an ice cream cone: Tasty and amazing on their own but such a treat with more “stuff” added. I’ll be living in these all summer, with dresses and shorts. Catch me in them from bodega to beach and park to party.

How do you tell stories through style in general, literally or figuratively? 

I quite literally tell most stories through my sartorial choices. It’s how my mood shines through, it’s how I actually live the high life and it’s how my personality peeks out and waves at strangers without me ever having to say a word. I’m also a southern belle through and through, so you know I love a good monogram!

Elizabeth, Market Strategist

Soludos shoes styled with Viva Aviva dress, Cotton Citizen tie-dye tank, Wolf Circus pearl necklace, Brinker & Eliza heart necklace, Timeless Pearly earrings vintage bandana sweater

What is the meaning behind your customized Soludos?

I am one who very much enjoys a statement shoe, and this one is literally a statement. Using a word to describe myself on customizable shoes felt like a really cool and genuine conversation starter. And maybe the people I encounter will be more ~sensitive~ to my thoughts and feelings as a result.

How did you decide to style them?

I am wearing a tulle skirted summer dress layered over a tie-dye tank top because these shoes are so perfect for a summer event. This outfit is beach-y (love a flat espadrille at the beach!) but also could be worn to a picnic at McCarren or Domino Park in Brooklyn, which are right near my home. I would love to wear these shoes with a high-waist bikini, perhaps with a linen shirt and denim cutoffs. Or a sarong!

How do you tell stories through style in general, literally or figuratively? 

I love one-of-a-kind pieces, or putting more basic things together in unexpected ways. I am most definitely a shoe fanatic, so having shoes that are customized for my personality and styling them in a way that emphasizes how they reflect it is a real treat.

What would you put on a pair of custom Soludos? Tell us in the comments.

Photos by Edith Young; Makeup by Regard Tang. 

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