“ Brand: Softwalk / Type: Flats „
When I was at school, I needed a pair of comfortable black shoes, and as I would be wearing them all day every day it made sense to get a pair that fitted properly.
For a while I had fancied a pair of classic Mary-Jane shoes, so when I was browsing on the internet, these SoftWalk Jupiter shoes caught my eye. I don't recall how much they were when I bought them all those years ago, but they have gone down in price as they can currently be bought for $97.95 (£62.51) from the Shoebuy website. Shoebuy do ship internationally, but delivery charges will apply to addresses outside the US.
In terms of lengths, these shoes are available between UK sizes 3 and 10 inclusive. They come on a maximum of four width fittings, including N (Narrow), M (Regular), W (Wide) and WW (Extra Wide). However, not every width fitting is available in every size, so it's worth looking first to see what will suit you. They are available in both Black and Navy.
What makes SoftWalk so unique is the insole. The only way I can describe it is if you imagine you lay loads of marbles on the floor, then drape a cloth over the top...it looks all bumpy. This is exactly how the soles of SoftWalk shoes look - I think the company describes them as 'eggcrate' footbeds. This is only how they look - at least they don't feel like you're walking on marbles! This is a patented design, which is orthopaedically designed and is patterned after mattress technology to make them as comfortable as possible. They are supposed to be massaging, and are made of several layers which absorb shock and stress.* They sound like the all-singing-all-dancing shoes, but what are they really like?
The first time you put these shoes on will be the weirdest thing you'll ever feel! It's so unusual to not feel a flat sole beneath your feet, especially when what you are standing on is very soft and spongy. It does feel a little disconcerting at first, and will take some getting used to. However, believe me when I say that once you've got used to them, these are the most comfortable shoes ever. After wearing these all day every day at school, when it came to the weekends (and when I finally left school) it actually felt highly odd to wear normal-soled shoes again!
I can't tell you for sure what materials make up the shoes (although I presume at least part of them is leather) but the rest of the shoes - apart from the soles - are very soft and comfortable too. There is no extra padding or sponginess anywhere, but the shoes do not feel hard and do not rub anywhere. If I remember correctly, on the first few wears there was a bit of pinching at the heels, but this quickly stopped once they'd been 'worn in' for a few hours. After that, the shoes should begin to mould to your feet and give you total comfort.
The toe parts of the shoes are quite wide - I suppose you may call them square-toed. This is great for people with wider feet, or those who prefer a little more room for their toes, as there's no need to worry about squashing or pinching your tootsies at all.
The strap across the foot is secured with a buckle. The buckle itself is attached with a tiny piece of elastic, which means if your feet are slightly wider or if they swell, the elastic can stretch slightly too and so the straps won't cut into your feet. After about a year a few strands of the elastic can start to perish and break, but it should take quite a few years for the elastic to break enough that the buckle can't be used anymore. The buckle itself is also quite cool, with a tiny gap cut into it so fastening it is a lot easier and does not require such accurate movements. It's difficult to describe, but take my word for it that it's very handy. :) You can see a close-up picture of what I mean by visiting the Shoebuy website, then typing 'Jupiter' in the search box.
These shoes are not high - the heel only measures about two centimetres at its highest point. The sole is fairly level, but it is not entirely flat, which I know is important for some people who find totally flat shoes uncomfortable. These are flat shoes, but the soles are contoured for extra comfort for your feet.
The bottoms of the soles do provide some grip, but not a lot. They don't have deep or detailed treads, but instead it looks like the soles have the imprint of a sieve in them! They provide as much grip as you'll need for everyday use, but for long walks or treacherous weather they won't be the best.
As I mentioned, I wore these shoes to school and they were perfect. I made some adjustments to them for orthopaedic reasons (which haven't been mentioned or reviewed here as they were personal rather than being part of the shoe or affecting anything to do with the shoe) which mean that I no longer like them as much as I did before I made the adjustments. If I hadn't made the adjustments and had left them as I bought them, I would still wear them often. They're not particularly stylish, but they do look cute peeping out from below some jeans. They would also be ideal for work which involves you being on your feet all day as they're so comfortable and practical.
Overall, these shoes are great. They're exceptionally comfortable, which for me is one of the most important factors when buying shoes. When wearing these, I feel like I'm walking on air! They're not the most stylish, which I'll knock off a star for, but they're cute, and if you need comfortable, practical shoes for work or school, I can't recommend these enough.
*Information obtained from the SoftWalk website: