November 22, 2013
There's been a lot of reader angst over shoes lately. But Angel's got your back. Or your feet. Or … whatever.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: After much trial and error, I am frustrated with the two extremes of athletic shoes — clunky, orthopedic-looking or cool looking but not supportive. What athletic lace-up shoe brands can you recommend that are low profile yet supportive? I am very grateful for your answer.
—Flatfooted and hating it
Dear Flatfooted: Technology is your friend. People with the same brain power that makes it possible for the world to communicate in 140 characters have been working on athletic shoe designs. Today there are so many options for shoes that look good and give you the support you want it will make your head spin. To keep you coming back and buying more, shoe manufacturers are constantly coming out with new models and features. Frankly, it's so confusing that you might just want to do what I do: Go to the best running store you can find and tell a veteran sales associate what you want in a shoe. When I did that recently I walked out in a pink/orange Saucony "Kinvara 3 " which gets high marks (and compliments) for cute and does the job (although they might not be supportive enough for you). The guy who sold me the shoes even diagnosed my running injury and successfully suggested how to rehab it. If you want to do some serious shoe research, a good place to start is runningshoesguru.com. Want more? Check the Runner's World quarterly shoe guide (runnersworld.com) and its "shoe finder," which asks a bunch of questions, then makes recommendations. Unfortunately "cool looking" isn't one of the options.
A friend just ran a marathon (a personal best!) and raved about his Nike Flyknit Lunar1+ — a little pricey (around $160), but they were an "Editor's Choice" in the Runner's World shoe guide, and I love the way they look. You can search for "stability" under the women's running shoe tab on nike.com and find 16 recommendations including one (Nike LunarGlide+ 5 iD, $145) that you can customize with colors in eight different parts of the shoe. Other manufacturers' websites also allow you to search for the features you want. Long story short, once you get into it, there's way too much info and too many options out there. Good luck.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I'm burned up. I bought a pair of shoes for $200 and the soles wore out long before they should have at that price! Can you recommend a brand of men's dress shoes, comfortable, well-priced and durable?
Dear Cheated: Better yet, I'm going to tell you how to get your money back, the soles repaired or a new pair of shoes for free. Maybe. Many stores and many brands have generous (but often not well-publicized) return policies. You just need to ask. Seriously, be nervy! If you truly think the product did not hold up, take it back to the store and ask for a repair, refund or replacement. If it is a well-known brand, check the website for info on the guarantee and how to get your money back, a product fixed or a new one for free. But don't stop there. At the store, if you don't get satisfaction, ask to see the manager. Online, ask for a supervisor. Be polite but insistent. This also often works for late fees and interest fees on credit cards (but only if you are an excellent customer and only do it once or twice a year). And if a website offers a discount but the coupon code doesn't work on the brand you're ordering (this happened with a gift I was buying online), call the toll-free number and ask for the discount anyhow. That's how I saved $50. And, it's always a good policy to save your receipts.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: I have severe heel pain and am limited to tennis shoes or Orthaheel brand shoes. I'm going on a cruise to Mexico in December and am at a loss as to what to wear to the formal dinner night. Any advice?
Dear Barb: I'll grant you that the Orthaheel shoes are not much to look at, but that brand does make a couple models that look OK for your needs. The Milan flat ($129.95) is passable, and the Olivia flat ($89.95) with a tiny bow will work, especially in black patent, which is dressier than plain leather. Find both on zappos.com. Another solution is to add a detachable rhinestone shoe clip, which will give any shoe a fancier look. I've seen them on etsy.com and amazon.com. And remember this good news: Nobody can see your feet when you're seated at the dining table.
Dear Answer Angel Ellen: Is it worth spending the money to repair clothes? I was quoted a $40 price to have the ripped lining replaced in my favorite trousers. I need your advice.
Dear Confused: I hate giving this answer but … it depends. If it's an item you like a lot or can't easily replace, spend the dough. Or if it would cost you lots more than $40 to duplicate the clothing, that's reason enough to have it repaired. But if the item is not that great, or if it's wearing out in other places besides the lining, you'd be better off buying new.
When a reader sounded off about the ridiculous cost of bridesmaids' dresses, Lois emailed this common-sense option: "I recently attended a wedding where the bride requested her attendants wear short, black dresses of their own choice. The young women all looked lovely, and each had a dress that was becoming to her, plus they had dresses they would enjoy wearing again. One girl said she had bought her dress for a party and wore it only once before the chance to wear it again at the wedding. I think this is an excellent idea for brides in this day and age."
Someone simply must start commenting on the horrible, phony look of recent dental implant makeovers. They are whiter than any human teeth have ever been, too "perfect" to be believable (hockey players), and often, if just the front teeth, do not match in color or "style" of the remaining natural teeth! I think these are horrible looks, call attention to their fake-ness, and do little to impress me with the person's overall attractiveness.
Surely if I were paying thousands of dollars for new teeth, I would want them to improve my appearance, but look as natural as possible. What is all this money buying, if not an improved, natural look????
— Kathy M.
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