I've walked 3 different cities in these trendy mules, but no one believes they're from an orthopedic brand
I've worn my Vionic Reagan Mules in three different cities, and have received compliments and questions about the brand. No one believes that they're actually orthopedic shoes. Vionic is a footwear brand that works with podiatrists to develop comfortable shoes with built-in orthotics and arch support. The Reagan Mules won't slip off your feet and come in three easy-to-wear neutral colors.
My quest for the perfect work shoes has been going on for years. All I want is a pair of comfortable, durable shoes in a neutral color that goes with every outfit and are actually cute — is that too much to ask? For a long time, it was. Then I got a pair of Vionic Reagan mules and everything changed. (Okay, that's a bit dramatic, but if you've discovered your favorite pair of shoes, you know what I mean.) Admittedly, when I first took the mules out of the box, I wasn't that impressed. The silver color was a little more intense than I had anticipated and the shoes were on the heavier side. The Reagan mule is a loafer style, and comes in black patent leather, and sand — I actually wondered if I should have gotten one of those colors instead. But I decided to give them a shot and at least break them in. Vionic suggests wearing its shoes for a few hours at a time initially so your body has a chance to adapt to the built-in orthotics. I wore them around my apartment and they were comfortable enough, so I took them outside. At the end of my first full day of wearing them, I had a small blister on the top of each foot. Normally that would put me off, but the rest of my feet felt great, so I covered the blisters with heavy-duty bandages and kept wearing the shoes. A few wears later, the shoes no longer caused blisters and were perfectly molded to my feet. Speaking of fit, one of the most frustrating parts of buying new shoes is when they're comfortable in the store, but then start to hurt as soon as you wear them outside and scuff up the soles so you can no longer return them. That's not an issue with these mules, or any of the shoes by Vionic actually. You'll have 30 days to wear the shoes — yes, including out of the house — and if you don't like them for whatever reason, you can return them for a full refund. The only caveat is that the shoes have to have been purchased from the Vionic website directly — though colors are a bit limited at the moment. If you'd like more color options, you can check them out on Amazon. Anyway, after about a week, I knew there was no way I was sending these back. Normally when I wear mules or other backless shoes, I'd have to scrunch my toes to keep the shoe from falling off, but that's not the case with these. The leather upper is substantial and covers most of my foot, ensuring that the shoes stay on and I can walk normally.
Most importantly, they were so comfortable. The built-in orthotics are perfectly shaped for a foot, so they're not just flat. The width is considered a standard medium, but were actually wide enough for my feet, which is a huge bonus. The sole is made of rubber, making every step cushioned and stable too. None of this by accident. Vionic works with podiatrists to design the shoes, and many of the styles — including this one — are approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association. I also felt like my walking posture improved the more I wore the shoes. But while all of that is great, if I didn't like the way the shoes actually looked, I knew I wouldn't wear them. The silver color really grew on me after a while, especially since I could wear them with black, navy and everything else. Better yet, the style works with dresses and skirts, as well as pants. The loafer style is on the more casual side, but the two tassels on top add an element of style and fun movement. The first time I wore the shoes to the office, I got plenty of compliments. That was nice, but then a stranger stopped me on the street and asked where I got my shoes. In fact, that happened multiple times in three different cities. I'll say they're orthopedic shoes, but they routinely don't believe me. Can you blame them though? The biggest issue I've had with these shoes — aside from the initial blisters — is that I've worn them out a bit. After very regular wear for about a year (not every single day, but pretty frequently), the lining on the insides of the shoes rolled up and peeled off. But that was easily fixed with inserts from the drugstore and only happened because I wore them so much. Also, at some point, I may need to take them to my cobbler to be resoled, but again, that's normal wear and tear — especially if you live in New York City like me. The Vionic Reagan mules are a comfortable, stylish and versatile shoe that quickly became a wardrobe staple for me. These were my first pair of Vionics, and I liked them so much that I ordered several other styles — including a heel that I can wear all day. Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: Apple forever changed the biggest tech event of the year by not showing up
More like this (3)
I tried Adidas' reflective Boost sneakers designed for night-time joggers — here's how they've held up over the last year
Adidas launched a new sneaker designed for nighttime runners, aptly named the Nite Jogger. Inspired...Adidas launched a new sneaker designed for nighttime runners, aptly named the Nite Jogger. Inspired by a sneaker of the same name from 1979, today's version features a full-length Boost midsole, a cut-and-sewn upper, and plenty of reflective accents for nighttime visibility. Priced at $100-$160, the Adidas Nite Jogger is one of the most affordable Boost sneakers. UPDATE on 5/29/2020: It's been a year since I first reviewed my Nite Joggers and they're still one of my go-to shoes for working out. As Adidas continues to release more versions, select colorways can be had for less than the already-affordable retail price, which makes them a really great deal now. Running is often regarded as a sport with endless bounds. Requiring nothing more than the clothes on your back, the shoes on your feet, and the path in front of you, it can provide an exhilarating sense of freedom. But for some, that freedom can be stripped away after sunset. City runners tend to reserve their strides for daylight for fear of not being seen. Visibility has always been a major concern for urban runners, so Adidas just launched a shoe to help solve their problem. Separated from the original 1979 Nite Jogger by more than 40 years of innovation, this updated Nite Jogger model is completely redesigned. It features a full-length Boost midsole, OrthoLite sock liners, and a mesh ripstop nylon, plus a combination of reflective accents for nighttime visibility. While I'm personally not a devout night-time runner, Adidas releasing an all-new Boost silhouette for $130 was reason enough for me to show interest in them. Having worn a handful of more expensive Boost sneakers including Ultra Boosts, Ultra Boost 19s, NMDs, and Yeezys, I decided to see how the affordably-priced Nite Jogger stacked up — and how it performed at night. First impressions The first thing that caught my attention was how great the overall style of the sneaker is. I'm constantly impressed with how Adidas can create all-new sneakers that are fit for modern times, but still pay homage to the brand's heritage. In contrast to most modern sneakers that use fused synthetic uppers and modern manufacturing techniques, the Nite Jogger has a cut-and-sewn upper that's reminiscent of 1979 version and other silhouettes from that era. While reflective accents have long been used on footwear, the Nite Jogger manages to use a lot of it without looking tacky. The signature Three Stripes, heels, lateral side of the toe box, and laces all shine brightly at night. What they're like to wear I've yet to come across a Boost sneaker that was uncomfortable and the Nite Jogger is no exception. However, the bottom is rather flat — similar to the NMD. I wouldn't say the Nite Jogger is as performance-based as the Ultra Boost, but at $50 less, it's also understandable. I still found them to be exceptionally comfortable and perfectly suitable for walking long distances, casual runs, and other activities that require you to be on your feet a lot. Although they're not specifically intended for strength training, I also found the flat bottoms to be a pretty sturdy platform for weightlifting. When I wear my Ultra Boosts in the gym, I sometimes feel myself balancing to compensate for the arched shape of the sole. They're an all-around good sneaker for training, but if you're specifically looking for speed and higher energy return when running, definitely go for the more expensive Ultra Boost. In terms of fit, I strongly recommend going with your true size. Adidas didn't have my true size available, so they sent me a half size larger and they're noticeably bigger than other Boost sneakers I've consistently gone up a half size in. If I were to buy another pair, I'll definitely go with my true size. If I were to buy another pair, I'll definitely go with my true size. My girlfriend, who has also worn a handful of Boost sneakers, went with her true size and was happy with the fit. Update after one year of ownership (May 2020) It's been about a year since Adidas launched the updated Nite Jogger sneaker and the brand hasn't let up on releasing new and interesting colorways. Now that some colorways are hitting the sale section of the website, you can get them for an even better deal. The pair I tested last year is still one of my go-to shoes to wear to the gym. They've held up well and are still very comfortable. My girlfriend is a registered nurse and wears her pair to work for comfort during 12-hour shifts and then to the gym at night. Even with long hours of wear, she still finds them to be comfortable. The bottom line For about $140 a pair, there really isn't anything to complain about with the Adidas Nite Jogger. It's lightweight, comfortable, and has a retro-inspired look that's still fresh and modern. Athletes who thrive at night, general comfort seekers, and people into sneakers strictly for style will all find great utility in the Nite Jogger. While it's not the very best performance runner from Adidas, it's definitely one of the best looking, commanding attention whether it's day or night. Shop men's and women's Adidas Nite Jogger for $100-$160 at these retailers: Adidas | Finish Line | Nordstrom Join the conversation about this story »
After reconstructive knee surgery, Hoka One One's supremely comfortable shoes gave me the support I needed to start running again
These lightweight Hoka One One Carbon X shoes have a cushioned, curved midsole that provides...These lightweight Hoka One One Carbon X shoes have a cushioned, curved midsole that provides extra padding for smooth, supportive runs. They helped me get back into pain-free running after going through ACL reconstruction surgery and a long road to recovery. Though my experience with them was largely positive, I did find the laces came untied easily and that they shouldn't be used for strength training exercises. Running shoes have seemingly morphed from purely utilitarian kicks to trend-setting fashion statements over the past several years. We've witnessed the rise of brands like Nike, Athletic Propulsion Labs, Yeezy Supply, and others that appear to be much more focused on style than function. Hoka One One, a French brand acquired by Deckers in 2013, has effectively bucked that trend. A noticeably clunky shoe, Hokas feature a signature style of cushioning that adds an extra inch or so of padding. However, the odd design appears to be working as revenue for the brand has grown 40% over the past three years, according to CNBC. With that extra padding comes added comfort, too. That's why I decided to try the Carbon X after I was cleared to run following ACL reconstruction surgery. The shoe is one of Hoka's latest models and is designed with a first-of-its-kind technology that hasn't appeared in other styles. During my eight-month recovery from ACL surgery, I missed running dearly. But I also wanted to make sure I treated my new knee gently as I got back to pounding the pavement — no minimalist running shoes for me, please. Plus, I've enjoyed one of Hoka's trail running shoes in the past, so I was curious to try this road-friendly style. A unique design The Carbon X is designed for competitions. In other words, it's built for both speed and comfort. Hoka's proprietary curved sole is called the Meta-Rocker, which essentially acts as wheels for your feet. The rocking motion is supposed to help propel you as you run, as well as reduce the impact of the start-stop motion that running puts on your body. Made of lightweight foam materials, the base provides added stability and a sense of responsiveness, in addition to the feeling of propulsion. The rest of the shoe is incredibly lightweight, with single-layer mesh allowing for breathability. There's plenty of room in the wide toe-box area, which also features carbon-fiber plates under the toe section to ensure a smooth stride. Overall, these Carbon X shoes aren't as bulky as other styles Hoka offers. I'd even go so far to say they're sleek, especially if you choose the black-and-white version. Additionally, I'm not going to complain about the extra inch of height it gives me. The perks If you've ever recovered from an injury, then you know that joyous feeling of being cleared to run again. With the Carbon X on my feet, my first runs post-surgery not only felt good but more importantly, they felt painless. Overall, I'm a big fan of the rocking motion this shoe provided. It powered me through my first few runs, both indoors and outdoors, and I felt like it helped me have a smoother stride and softer footfalls. Although the heels look like they're built up, the overall drop is minimal. This allows for a natural footstrike and a fluid transition through the stride. You don't have to only believe my glowing review, either. I asked Rob Watson, Lululemon Global Run Ambassador, and Canadian long-distance runner, for his thoughts on the Carbon X. He, like so many people, quickly became a Hoka fan the moment he laced on a pair. "I am indeed a recent Hoka convert to these weird-looking, yet effective shoes," Watson told Business Insider. "They are soft and supremely cushioned, as you can assume by the look of them, but they also provide a really smooth ride." While Watson said he's considering using the Carbon X as his racing shoes for a marathon, I don't have my sights set on any big races in the near future. Thankfully, they also double as my everyday shoes. They work well for wearing around town while running errands and are perfect for travel. On a trip to New York City, I wore them while walking up to 6 miles a day, and my feet never felt sore. The caveats The biggest issue I've had with the Carbon X shoes is its laces — they come untied far too easily. I've even double-tied them, yet they still come loose. Anything short of an actual knot and they're likely to come undone. Then there's the price. At $180, they are on the pricier end of the running shoe spectrum, though I do believe they're worth the extra investment. I've used them almost daily for roughly five months and they seem to be holding up quite well. The final drawback is that the Carbon X isn't a suitable shoe for strength training. Unfortunately, I found this out the hard way while attending my favorite functional training class at the gym. During a lunge, my coach shook her head at my feet, which immediately made me think I was doing something wrong. "You're not doing anything wrong," she explained. "I just hate those cushioned shoes for strength training." Though the curved sole provides stability while running, it also causes instability during strength moves. Think about doing a lunge or squat. You're supposed to ground the sole of your foot into the floor but the padding prevents that from happening. My trainer explained that this causes the moves to be far less effective overall. Plus, it prevents you from strengthening the whole foot during these lower-body moves since your feet and toes aren't involved. The bottom line Whether you're a beginner, recovering from an injury, or a professional long-distance runner, I'd highly recommend adding the Carbon X to your running shoe arsenal. It's a lightweight and functional shoe that lets you feel like you're flying. While there are some slight drawbacks, the overall advantages of comfort and speed that the Meta-Rocker design delivers are well worth the price tag. Should you buy it? Yes. These shoes are great for long-distance runners, as well as anyone recovering from an injury. They're not just for training, either, as they work well as an everyday shoe and provide comfort all day long. What are your alternatives? The running shoe market is full of variety, though the closest competitor in terms of design might be Nike's newest running shoes. Featuring a similar amount of bulky padding in the heel, as well as a sort of pointed end, the shoes are designed for long-distance runners who want more responsiveness. Pros: Foam padding provides plenty of comfort, especially if you're recovering from an injury, Meta-Rocker design delivers noticeable propulsion while running, offers a smooth stride and soft footfalls Cons: Pricey at $180 and the laces come undone easily, even when double-knotted Join the conversation about this story »
Spanx's workout leggings incorporate its signature shapewear technology without feeling too restrictive — here's what 3 women thought after trying them out
A pair of leggings that allow us to effortlessly transition from running errands to running...A pair of leggings that allow us to effortlessly transition from running errands to running a 5K is a clutch go-to piece of clothing. Like its iconic shapewear, Spanx Active Leggings are designed to smooth and compress while providing breathability and support through any workout. Editors on the Picks team tested different pairs of Spanx Active Leggings to see how they held up to our active — and sometimes, not so active — lifestyles. The leggings were supportive, didn't ride up, and provided opaque coverage throughout our errands, workouts, and life in general. Good lip balms, cute shoes, and bras that don't poke your rib cage are just a few items that many women stock up on once they find The One. Similarly, a cute pair of workout leggings that you can wear to the gym or on a coffee run, or any other time you have zero desire to put on real pants — which, let's be real, is pretty often — falls into the same bucket. Since we're constantly on the hunt for perfect workout leggings, we wanted to see how Spanx's Active Leggings stack up against the other workout leggings we buy in bulk. We've previously tried and loved several pairs of its leggings and denim, so we had high hopes for the workout versions. Our verdict? We're fans. Personally, there are few leggings that make me feel as secure and confident than my Spanx leggings. There are a number of different styles including full length, cropped, and knee high, all incorporating Spanx's signature shapewear technology that helps lift, tuck, and smooth out your silhouette. They're made with moisture-wicking fabric for breathability and a built-in gusset for extra peace of mind, and have a high rise that hits right around your waist so they don't dig in anywhere. And whatever style you prefer, you won't have to worry about accidentally mooning your fellow gym-goers — the leggings are all quite opaque and don't have a center seam for a streamlined, flattering look. Here's what we thought about Spanx Active Leggings: Ellen Hoffman, Insider Reviews Executive Editor: Spanx makes my all-time favorite pairs of tights, so I had high hopes for its leggings. And my faith was not misplaced — the Active Leggings are amazing. They're breathable, supportive but not suffocating, and surprisingly comfortable, offering more stretch than similar compressive leggings I've tried that makes them much easier to get into and out of. I'm not sure what witchcraft went into the design, but it also manages to create a smooth-all-over look I love. Francesca Rea, content producer: Like all things Spanx, these leggings really lift and highlight your legs, butt, and waist. I've worn these leggings to classes at the gym, runs through the park, hikes, and while running errands. No matter how sweaty I got (and yes, I sweat while running errands sometimes), the fabric always remained dry to the touch. I really liked this because I didn't have to worry about leaving sweat marks on everything I sat. Like I mentioned before, the waistband is made with the added bonus of shapewear so it compresses everything, but I found the leggings to be a little snug around the waist at times. When I was standing, walking, or running, I had no problem at all, but whe I doing burpees and crunches in my classes, I felt a little restricted in my movements. Still, I really like the material of these leggings and continue to wear them weekly during my workouts. Jada Wong, senior editor: The first time I wore these leggings, I legit felt like a hot dog. The compression element is strong and the rise is pretty high so I looked svelte and felt tucked in, which was great and gave me more motivation to push through my workout. The material felt thinner than some of my other workout leggings, so I had to do the bend test a few times to quadruple-check — the coast was clear, but still made me self-conscious. I wore these on a run and felt that they definitely had more support than my usual Under Armor leggings, but at times, a little too supportive and tight, especially around my calves. Thankfully, there aren't any seams that'd dig into skin and leave behind any dents — that badge of honor goes to the extra hair tie that's always wrapped around my wrist. Our bottom line We all really liked our leggings because they're made with moisture-wicking material that stretches with you, but not so much that you have to worry about flashing everyone at the gym or on the trails. The lack of a center seam is also flattering and comfortable — which feels infinitely reassuring when you're more concerned about perfecting your burpees and squats. The waist sits high and feels slightly snug at times so if that's something that bothers you, maybe consider ordering a size up for a little extra room. All in all, Spanx Active Leggings remain on par with other Spanx products we've tried, and we'd definitely keep wearing them on our next (coffee) run. Shop all Spanx Active Leggings from $68 to $128Join the conversation about this story » NOW WATCH: 5 things about the NFL that football fans may not know