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I like Clarks shoes and because I usually find them a good fit I tend to try Clarks for shoes before I try elsewhere. I am lucky to have quite a large Clarks shop in my High Street and in the past I have also purchased shoes from Clarks online. If you want to buy shoes from Clarks online but you don't want to pay a delivery charge then you can get your shoes delivered to your nearest Clarks Shop free of charge.
I have been looking for a good solid shoe to walk in, preferable a pair that you can just pop on without wearing socks, pop socks etc under them. I usually stick to black because it goes with everything.
Clarks shoes are not cheap, I go shopping looking for walking shoes with a budget of around £50, I know from past purchases that they will probably cost that much, maybe more.
I have a good look round the shop and I am instantly drawn to Clarks Echo Wave shoes. The shoes are made from black leather. They look quite sporty and have a Mary Jane type bar across the front of the shoe to fasten them. This fastener is fully adjustable because the strap closes with velcro, this works well and will adjust to any foot size.
The shoes have a rather sporty looking heel, it looks like one wedge that runs along the full length of the shoe. At it's highest point it is no more than about 1.5 inches. I like this, I never buy flat shoes as I am so used to wearing shoes with a heel, these are a good compromise as the wedge means the shoes are not flat and it compensates for a heel.
The shoes are vented at the side and at the front, I have found this helps to keep feet cool and comfortable, though not really suitable for outside in winter.
The shoes incorporate Clarks WaveWalk technology. This allows you to walk for longer with less effort. The shoes feature a special Wave-shaped sole which aids the foot's natural movement, while an angled heel and shock-absorbing sole heel protect feet.
I have now been wearing these shoes for about 4 weeks. The first time I wore them they felt a bit odd, the wedge sole takes a bit of getting used to. I felt as if I was stumbling about a bit in these shoes. The shoes are well padded inside, and the adjustable strap works really well. It takes a couple of adjustments to get it just right. The shoes do not rub on any parts of my feet, the leather on the inside of the shoes is soft and supple. I can walk for miles in these shoes and after 4 weeks wear they have shown almost no sign of wear at all.
All in all they do exactly what they say, basically they are just extremely comfortable, I think this is down to the whole design of the shoe. I have never worn shoes with WaveWalk technology but I am positive that the design has contributed to making these shoes very wearable and very comfortable.
The shoes cost £59.99. They are available in sizes 3 to size 8 with half sizes available. The shoes are the normal D fit, so if you are looking for a bigger fit then these shoes are not for you. The shoes come white, pewter, raspberry nubuck, light blue nubuck, navy newbuck and the ones I choose, Black.
I like these shoes so much that I am now saving up to buy a pair in the light blue nubuck colour.
I am only giving these shoes 4 stars because of the price. Nearly £60 is a lot of money for a pair of shoes.
Sensible shoes - just those two words take me back to the seventies and the bi-annual arguments with my mother over what shoes I was allowed for school. It's perhaps hard for the youth of today to understand what an ordeal this was. Nowadays most schools are pretty strict on what footwear you are allowed to wear - it generally has to be black and not have a very high heel.
Back in 1975 this wasn't the case - well not at my school anyway. So most girls were wearing platform shoes of varying height, with even some of the boys getting in on the act.
My mother was most insistent however that all her children would wear footwear from Clarks, and being unaware at the time, as most children are, of just how expensive it was for my parents to buy Clarks footwear, I was hideously ungrateful. So while my friends tottered around in platform or wedge shoes, I had to wear flat, boring and deeply unfashionable footwear.
Of course over the years I have learned to be grateful to my mother for ensuring I wore shoes which actually fitted my feet and were comfortable. It took a long time, but I forgave her - and did, of course, follow the same course of action with my own daughter.
The experience put me off shopping in Clarks for years however - in fact I only started buying shoes for myself again there about six or seven years ago although I must admit I invariably buy shoes at sale time only. One exception however is their new walking range, the Wave.
The concept behind the WaveWalk range is walking and to create a shoe which will offer perfect comfort when walking long distances by effectively using less effort.
The shoes are designed with a curve and pivot point in the sole which allows the foot to roll and with toe reinforcement which helps the foot to roll off the toes - both of which aid easier walking. They are designed to help reduce leg and foot fatigue and also have a dual density footbed which helps to alleviate joint stress and also aids breathability. In addition to this they have a concave heel which is designed to soften "heel strike" and absorb shock, reducing joint stress.
The range is small with a handful of designs available in both the womens' and mens' collections.
I first spied the WaveWalk range in the window of my local branch of Clarks just after Christmas and was intrigued. I tend to live in Crocs but while Crocs are undoubtedly comfortable, they aren't really designed for walking long distances. I find shoes which are comfortable for this purpose hard to find and thought the promise of shoes designed to make walking easier might be a bit of a stretch. On the other hand, if any company is in a position to produce a shoe which is good for walking it has to be Clarks I thought.
I also liked the design of one of the shoes in particular - the Wave Echo. This is a Mary Jane style shoe - ironically one of the styles I wore so reluctantly in childhood - and is available in several colours. There is a fetching raspberry pink shade which if I am honest, is the style which caught my eye in the first place, but I knew in my heart if I bought these I would have to get them in boring old black for everyday wear.
I tried a pair on in my size in blue and was delighted at the fit. Width wise they are a D fitting which sometimes is a little too narrow for me. The shoes felt amazing on my feet - almost like walking on air. I baulked a little at the price tag of £59.99 so I went home to think about it. After a couple of days thinking about it I went on to the Clarks website and ordered a pair in black for store delivery, reasoning that I didn't have to pay for them until I had tried them on instore. They arrived about a week later and it goes without saying that I bought them.
The shoes are made from leather, with a mesh insert on the upper just below the toe and another around the upper ankle area. They have a rip tape bar fastening making them easy to get on and off. The insoles are thickly cushioned too. There is also a small silver Clarks badge on the back of the shoe.
I wish I could say my experience with these shoes was brilliant from the minute I got them but I have had a couple of issues. When I wore the shoes for the first time I found the experience mixed. On flat ground all I was aware of was how easy it felt to take steps in the shoes - the cushioned sole really does take much of the effort out of walking. Going downhill was different however - I felt as if I was being tipped forward as I walked and I found this quite uncomfortable as she shoes dug in to my feet just beneath my toes.
I found the shoes actually rubbed against my feet in this area overall quite badly leading to a blister on one foot. I must be upfront here and say this is a common issue I have with shoes and I invariably have to wear them for a while to break them in properly but it's worth mentioning if you like to put on shoes and have no issues from the off. I also think the small mesh areas on the upper probably makes it harder for the upper to stretch - if it was all leather I am sure I would have broken these in quicker.
I solved the rub problem by using some moleskin padding from good old Dr Scholl and persevered with the walking. I haven't suffered any rubbing around the ankle and back of my foot so the padding there is definitely well placed.
The issue with walking on hills passed after the first couple of times wearing the shoes - and I can only conclude that's down to getting used to how these shoes work as I don't even notice it now. When I do walk I try to walk quickly, to maximise the effort I am putting into my steps and these shoes help me do that without actually feeling it in my leg muscles - something I do experience with Crocs.
I have been impressed with these shoes, despite the teething troubles.
If you want a pair of really comfortable and reasonably smart shoes to wear for walking long distances or if you are on your feet for large parts of the day, then I would recommend you consider the Wave Echo.
They are easy to put on courtesy of the riptape and the design really does make walking less of an effort. You may find them strange when you first wear them but trust me, it's worth getting used to them because once you have done you really will feel at times that you are walking on air, with the shoe helping to drive you forward.
They are perhaps not the most stylish shoes you will ever see, but as someone who can't walk more than a couple of steps in anything with a heel and as such tend to have to overlook the more fashionable shoes these days, I find they look better with jeans than a pair of trainers and can be worn with skirts too.
The shoes are easy to clean too - I have polished them a couple of times now and they still look good as new. The quality of the leather is excellent and despite repeated wears over the past couple of months there are no scuffs or marks on the uppers as yet.
So while these aren't exactly cheap, they do offer excellent value for money I believe - they are very well made and definitely do make walking easier.
Available in black, raspberry pink, light blue, navy blue, white and pewter brown in sizes 3 to 9 with some half sizes available too.