Sunday, February 26, 2012

How To Buy a Pair of Fluevogs

Oy, i felt like a walking stereotype a couple of Sundays ago! Mr. E and i went to San Francisco, where we spent almost an hour in the Union Square Fluevog store (San Francisco is one of two cities with a double helping of Fluevog stores - worldwide!). My dashing husband had spotted a divine pair of shoes on sale and thought they might make a nice Valentine's Day present.

They did.

After my purchase, stylish bag in hand, we walked the streets looking for a bite to eat. (If any SF residents can give us a recommendation for a reasonable, decent cafe in the Union Square/Financial district which is open weekends, we would be much obliged!) On our way to a sub-par dining experience i spotted a likely spot for a gritty urban portrait. Mr. E obliged and snapped a couple of pics. By this time, i couldn't feel more predictable. "Style blogger on the rampage for shoes made by 'it' designer John Fluevog, illl-clad for the weather, was photographed by her husband in some type of edgy, public setting yesterday........" Good grief! Well, you can't be eccentric all the time, though we try.

I hope you don't lose any respect for me, but i'll understand if you do ; )  On to the advice! I've read innumerable blog posts gushing over the incomparable divinity of Fluevog souls. Now that i've got my hands on a pair, having tried on 20+ different styles in the process, i'd like to share some what i have learned with you. A lot of this information applies to shoe buying generally, but much is specific to Fluevogs.

Edited to add: Patti's put up her Visible Monday post - ooh lala! That woman wears a leather skirt! Go check out Patti and all the VM ladies! If taking self-portraits in my carport next to the washer and dryer doesn't make you feel visible, i don' t know what would. Back to Fluevog:

Do a lot of online research before you go to the store! I cannot emphasize this enough. The Fluevog company puts out a lot of very unique styles. This has practical ramifications. When we went to the store, there were around 80-100 different styles of shoe on display (i didn't count, just estimating) There were shoes on every flat space, including the floor and benches. But i didn't see these Cascades anywhere, though they were listed on the website. I had even called a couple of days earlier to see if the store had any in stock, and had been assured that they had several of each color in my range of sizes. I approached a sales associate to inquire. She went in the back and brought out six boxes. If Mr. E hadn't found them online and i hadn't called ahead and i hadn't asked the associate about them when we were in the store, i would have left empty-handed. Research online beforehand, make notes/print out pertinent pages/bookmark shoes on your phone, call ahead, and ask for what you want in the store.

This is especially important if you want to get shoes on sale. It only makes sense that the staff will feature the newest stock if space is limited. Pricing of new Fluevogs can be intimidating. But their sale prices are excellent, and there is always a lot of stock on sale. You just have to know what you are looking for when you go to the store in order to take advantage of this pricing. on edit: Mr. E informs me that Fluevog has sales every January and July.

 Try on many different sizes of any shoe in which you are interested. Again, Fluevogs are unique. Different shoes are made on very different lasts (the 'mold' around which the shoe is created). Many of these lasts are handmade, and some are even vintage. As a result, the sizing of the line is not standardized, as it is in and even between many popular brands. These Cascades fit me perfectly in a 9. But I tried on a number of boots a few weeks before this recent trip and found one pair that fit like a dream in size 10.5. I overheard staff saying 'The sizes are all over the place' about once every 10 minutes the whole time i was in the store. Not only is the sizing non-standard, but the way different shoes fit and support your foot varies wildly.

I was pretty determined to get these Cascades as soon as i saw them in the mirror. But, with a 3 1/2" slender heel, i predicted they would be your basic 'sit in a chair and look amazing' shoes. I normally take a size 9.5  in US women's shoes. I have not been able to get my foot into a size 9, much less walk around in any, since i was in junior high school (possibly not even them! Correct me if i'm wrong, mom). I was leaning towards going with the 9.5s when i decided, "we're here, who knows, just try the size 9 for the hell of it". The difference in comfort level was phenomenal - like wearing an entirely different shoe. The sales associate said, "Look! You're prancing!" She exaggerated, but still. Make certain to try one or two sizes up and down from whatever size you think is the best fit. Because of the uniqueness of the various styles, you can't really take a lot of information from one shoe to another. Better to over-investigate.

Try on many different styles of shoe.  Fluevog creates shoes which not only look very different from other shoes on the market. Individual Fluevog shoes are shaped very differently from other shoes in the Fluevog line. Because of this, they also fit very differently. When i first visited the Fleuvog store, i tried on about 6 pair of boots. Some fit my feet terribly (i couldn't even get into a size 10.5 in one style), others were okay but not great. Then i tried on these Amazing boots and they were beyond comfortable and supportive. It really surprised me! However, i have nothing to wear with them so i passed. These leads to my last point:

 Do not give up! If you really want to acquire a totally unique, beautifully made, flat out awesome pair of shoes Fluevog is a fabulous resource.  But chances are excellent that you will have to be patient, do a lot of online research, call stores, and try on a lot of shoes. I look at it this way. Anyone can go to a high-end department store and buy the 'it shoe' of the moment. They only have to have the cash. On the other hand, acquiring shoes that seem made on a cloud by harp-strumming angels solely with you in mind, shoes that blow your mind (rather than your wallet) -

it's only fair that you put in some effort. I hope this information helps you start living with the shoes of your dreams.

Blouse and Skirt: own design
Belt: Betsey Johnson
Shoes: Miracle Cascades by John Fluevog
Watch: Fossil


  1. Really beautiful shoes, Steffi - great outfits, too. And, yes, shoe shopping was not a day of joy when you were growing up. Remember that wonderful shoe saleslady in Capwell's? She was an angel. 8-)

  2. Wow, those look amazing on you, Steff! Just gorgeous - I love the peek of orange on them.

    I agree with everything you said about Fluevogs, and I would also add: try on pairs that appeal to you, even if they look odd on the shelf. So many of my favourite pairs I didn't love until they were on my foot. Fluevog designs for the foot, not just the standalone shoe!

    Their sizes are also crazy erratic. I also have anywhere from a 9 to a 10 in their shoes...which means we are probably the same size. So you can send me those beauties when you get tired of them, okay? :)

  3. The shoes look beautiful on your feet and as part of the outfit. I'm unaware of a Fluevog store in my area, but I have heard many bloggers (Ephemera/Sheila and TheRunningHistorian/Raquelita) rave about them. I like the color of these.

  4. Thank you mom! oy, what a pain. This part of life has definitely improved!!

    Thank you Sheila! i am very happy that you agree with my post, as you are a very avid and informed Fluevog owner! I hope that gives people confidence in this info :) That is a very good point about 'designing for the foot', as well as a good way of putting it. These are great off, but on they really come alive.

    heehee - when i read your comment i started thinking about foreign exchange students in high school - we can do the same with our Fluevogs! send them abroad for a culturally enriching experience - ha! with cats in the equation on both ends, i hope they wouldn't get overly 'enriched'!

    Hi Terri! i think that strictly fluevog stores are rare, but many more shoe stores carry a selection. you can check here:

    the funny thing is that about 90% of his shoes, and many of the more 'famous' styles, i could really do without, personally. But that 10% is just soooo amazing and so up my alley! and very very well made.

    Plus i have a huge thing for shoes!

    Happy Night All! steph

  5. Love my Fluevogs . . . and I love yours too, as you've modeled them here. Absolutely agree that it's important to try on different sizes and different styles. I can go from a 7.5 to 8.5. When I've finally settled on a pair, they are fabulously comfortable (might be at 5 or so pairs now, but who's counting . . . )

  6. Did someone say Fluevogs?! You look fabulous! That weeny twist of orange and the leather tracery are so unique, but the impact on your whole look is priceless!

  7. You outfit is amazingly romantic. And so is your "eccentric" life.
    I've gotta say you show the underbelly of Effortless Chic - the effortFUL chic that it takes to make it up! The persistence with the shoes, the
    designed and custom made wardrobe.

  8. Ah, those shoes are so gorgeous, and so "you" - well worth the effort, IMHO. It's good to know about the sizes fluctuating so much among designs. Thanks for sharing in Visible Monday, you look fabulous!

  9. Oh my gosh, those shoes are STUNNING! Thank you for the tips, too - I hadn't even thought of most of those points! Maybe if I start squirreling away cash now I can get myself a pair of Fluevogs someday. ;D

  10. Those shoes are amazing and are perfect for you! The color, champagne lizard is a great "nude" shoe making your legs go on forever. The vintage appeal of the the shape is sexy and updated by the shiny heel and pop of red sole bed. What a great find!

  11. Oh, those lovely shoes make my day! Great outfit and pics.

  12. Everything you wear fits so well and just looks fabulous on you! The shoes make the outfit and I am jealous that you can wear them...I miss heels!! But my feet no longer can do them for long.

  13. I audibly squealed when I saw the title of your post!

    The shoes look ... well, they look as you describe: as if angels had lovingly hand-crafted them solely (ha!) for your feet.

    Good tips, too. I shall apply the lessons, as I plan to pop into Rabat on Saturday when we're in the area and check out the wares.

  14. Hullo materfamilias! thank you for chiming in on the sizing - the more people here it, the more they will take it seriously and it will help them find their best shoes. 5 or so pair? Sounds like a worthy goal!!

    Thank you Melanie! Mr. F's design sense is outstanding. All of that going on in one shoe could be way too much, but he uses it in the service of flattery. What a guy!

    Oh Vildy, 'romantic' is an adjective i love! (heehee, it's easy to leave out the mundane parts...) "...the underbelly of Effortless Chic - the effortFUL chic that it takes to make it up!" that is spot on! i find it takes effort one way or another, i prefer to put it into deciding what comes into my closet. and i hope that showing the effort helps people see it is doable if they want to work.

    Hi Patti! with your legs, smile, and curls there are a few 'big f's that would be mind-blowing on you, i gotta say!

    heehee, Ravina, "Maybe if I start squirreling away cash now I can get myself a pair of Fluevogs someday. ;D" no maybe about it! and with your legs it'll start a riot! (or, even more riots to be precise :)

    Bella, you simply make me blush all the way to the roots of my hair! bless you sweeties (hug)

    Thank you Lynne! it IS fun to just see something nice, isn't it?

    Hi Pam! thank you - it's down to stretch, sewing, and perseverance. i do have to say that any new shoes for me have to be more in the 2" heel range - these and the Fossils are absolutely as high as i can go. As a rule i wear heels just on the weekends and spend a lot of time barefoot, so my feet get a break. Pain vaporizes style!

    heeheehee, i haven't heard you squeal in quite a while ;) i'm glad that Mr. E and i have done this kind of 'dry run' thing prior to this latest Fancy Pants Tour - it should be helpful!

    Happy Day All! steph

  15. I's love to have a pair that fit. I actually bought a pair of sandals off ebay and they did not fit. They are really cute, but are just sitting in my closet. I think they really do have to be tried on. I'd love to, but no Fluevog stores in my area mean I probably won't have any. (I need to get rid of the ones I have since I can't wear them.)
    Yours look beautiful! So stylish and they look amazing on you.

  16. OK, as a fellow shoe addict, I am officially green. These shoes remind me of a pair that I bought from the company called "Office". I wore them out, which wasn't hard because I don't think they were very well made (if I remember correctly.)

    Also love these because I used to live in Vancouver, Fluvog's hometown. I think they had a store in Gastown, as I remember.

    Cheers, Rosemary

  17. oh, Debbi, that is rotten to hear. : ( hopefully this post will help someone avoid a similar sad experience, but still! maybe you can re-sell yours on ebay? & thank you ! :)

    Welcome Rosemary! 'officially green' - i love it! that's a shame your 'office' shoes weren't well made. i can't stand that in shoes, especially ones i really love.
    Yay for Vancouver! Tell Johnny F we love him down here in the states!

    Happy Friday! steph

  18. I'm so happy for you. These are sort of cult shoes and I'm so happy you got a pair.It's an elegant design and nude which means you can combine those with anything. Althou if I were you I would be so scared to wear in case of damaging them.I would mostly look at them!

  19. I had the same experience with Beezies. (A green tassel Oxford). I knew they were on sale because I visit the site several times a week, so when we were going to Portland, I made a trip to try them on. As you observed, the sale shoes were not on display, and in fact, it took a few Vog Elves to find them in the back. They did eventually, and when an insole was provided, fit well, and came home with me.

    I have the Cascades as well, in the same colour. They were my "I applied for Graduate school!" celebration shoes. I find they 'blend' more than I like, and I'm pondering polishing them with a coloured polish, which I imagine will fill the cracks and be quite interesting. Not quite brave enough to do it yet, though.

    A few weeks later I celebrated "I got into Grad school!" with these babies: :-) I shared this link with the wonderful Preet in Granville Fluevog, and got a note saying a gift was coming my way because of it. I now am the proud possessor of a 'Juan Fluevog' mug.

    Last week I went to visit my new university, and found a cute boutique than carries Vogs there. I came home with a "I visit my new Grad school university for the first time" pair of boots- Splendids: $99 on sale! Whoo hoo. (I'm not going to be able to afford Grad school, at this rate!) ;-)

    Enjoy Vogging! Your collection will Cascade beyond one pair very soon! ;-)

  20. Thank you, thank you... both to Google for helping me find your blog and to you, Steffi, for creating the blog. Had a day on SF on May and was stopped dead in my tracks when I glanced in the window of the Fluevog store in the Financial District. Posted a"shoe lust" photo, but didn't manage to actually go inside. Back home in Michigan, I stalk Fluevogs via the web wondering about sizing. Having a hefty size 11 foot rarely makes sizing up an option...hard enough to find an 11 in the first place. The prices make me wince, but your blog gives me inspiration to persevere in my quest.
    I also love love love your joy in the expression of your personal style. Brava, darling.

    1. Ofortuna, GO IN! I have a colleague who wears a size 12, and she has wonderful, eye catching, funky Fluevogs! (A couple that I have in 6.5 in fact, so we can be teacher twins). ;-) You get what you pay for- you'll have them for years, and your feet will be deliriously comfortable, as well as stunning!

  21. While on a business trip in Minneapolis, other conference attendees caught a shuttle to the Matisse exhibit at the art institute; I, on the other hand, caught a cab to the Fluevog store, as my city is Fluevogless. So I swoon, try on a zillion pairs of various styles, and settle on two fabby pairs of Prepares. Usually somewhere between an 8 and 8.5, I pranced away with the 8.5, toes jamming slightly into the ends with the assurance that, "they will stretch." Well, now that I'm back home, two airplane rides away from the store, I'm beginning to think I should have tried a 9. They told me, "The shoes should fit like a firm handshake. They will stretch to fit your feet." I'm worried that is not going to happen. And I've worn them all over Minneapolis and the airport now. Oh no.