“ Brand: Melissa / Type: Flats „
Last year I visited Venice and after a sudden down pour I found myself wondering around a rather large department store which was certainly not a problem! After browsing the shoe department I came across a small stand of shoes made by Melissa. I have had a few pairs of shoes made by Melissa in the past and I was pleased to see a range as I hadn't really come across them for a while. Melissa is neither an independent designer nor, in fact, even a person. It is an offshoot company of Brazilian shoe manufacturer Grendene. However, Melissa earns a place on this website for the fact that they are very eco-friendly, and their shoes are just so fantastic.
The pair which caught my eye the most was a pair called Campana IV. There was a whole range of colours to choose from and I ended up coming away with a pair in a transparent charcoal colour. Every Melissa shoe is made in Brazil from natural, ecologically and socially responsible materials. The shoes are injection-molded using a material the company developed called Melflex - an odorless, hypoallergenic, and neutral thermoplastic. The shoes themselves are completely recyclable, and the company recycles nearly all their byproducts. This results in almost zero waste products from their factory. What you will also notice about Melissa shoes is that they have a sweet scent and this is actually in the Melflex material to keep any odours at bay and this sweet scent does really last for months as my original pair still had a subtle sweet smell to them.
Campana IV were designed by Irmãos Campana a brother duo whose work has international status and they are known to specialise in the use of subversive material. Their original collaboration with Melissa was launched in the summer of 2005 and was inspired by their famous chair "Zig Zag".
Now after my dear other half managing to throw out my original pair which I was not too happy about as they were not the cheapest plastic shoes I have ever bought at around 65 Euro! My hunt was on to find another pair as these shoes are without doubt the comfiest pair of shoes I have ever owned! After managing to track down a pair (as they no longer make the Campana IV style) I had to settle for a new colour, silver, hence the picture for this review!
As I said above the shoes are made from a plastic material which does initially make you think that these are going to be quite uncomfortable but Melflex is incredibly flexible and these shoes will easily bend in half! Melflex is incredibly soft as well making the shoes comfortable to wear. The shoes as you can see have a squiggle type pattern (technical term!) this is what makes the shoes so unique and so far I have never seen another make of shoe with this pattern. The whole shoe including the sole is made from the flexible Melflex material. The footbed is again made of Melflex and to my delight it has two padded areas making the shoes even more comfortable! The padded areas sit just under your heel and ball of your foot giving you a bit of support and added comfort especially if you are walking in them for quite a while.
I love these shoes as they are great to wear as they have never rubbed, they are very easy to clean should they ever get dirty and they are very comfortable despite being made of plastic! Apart from that I like the fact that they look a bit different compared to other flat shoes which are on the market, this is what Melissa shoes tend to pride themselves in as they are the only company to use melflex (obviously!) and so far no other brand has replicated it. Each shoe is entirely different so the sweet squiggle pattern the shoe has with vary from the left shoe to the right shoe but this just makes them even more unique.
Before my other half threw my original pair out my pair of Campana IV's looked as good as new as they really don't wear easily. The heel area of the shoe certainly had no wear to it and neither did the sole which was great as they would no doubt have lasted me for years. They are however not good in wet conditions which is a given considering the squiggle pattern has plenty of holes in but I have worn them before to wash my car and my feet ending up slipping inside the shoe was wasn't comfortable at all. I have the glitter silver version of these shoes and I do constantly find tiny specks of glitter around my house and on my clothes but this is hardly an issue but you have been warned!
As I said above Melissa no longer sell or manufacture the Campana IV style. They do however do a new version of it which is available in Melissa retailers (ASOS being one of them). I did manage to find a website which had limited stock and I was able to get them in a size 6 in silver which was the only colour choice. I paid £43.00 (well my other half did) which is a bit expensive for a pair of plastic, jelly type shoes but I find them so comfortable I think they are worth every penny that and the fact that they will last for years is also another bonus!