San Miguel Shoes Handmade in Mexico
The discovery of San Miguel Shoes, an iconic brand, will keep me coming back to Mexico on a regular basis. I’m completely serious. As a person with long term back issues resulting from a botched spinal fusion, I constantly search the globe for comfortable shoes that won’t kill me after two minutes of wearing them, and that are also stylish. It’s a tall order to find “orthopedic” shoes that are not butt ugly or look like they came from your grandmother’s closet and that you can go out dancing in or wear with a nice dress. Many would say, impossible. That word not being part of my vocabulary, I proved it is possible. Read on.
Before discovering San Miguel Shoes, I had found a brand that delivers on all accounts: NAOT, a brand from Israel and I bought my first pair of shoes in a resort shop on the Dead Sea. As a tour guide in Paris, I walked hundreds of cobblestone streets in my NAOT Maryjane shoes (I have them in two different colors) and even with all the miles I put on them, that first pair are still going strong ten years later. I’ve added to my collection over the years two pairs of sandals and two pairs of boots. NAOT footwear has layers of memory foam, cork and other technology for the utmost in support and comfort, especially for high arches. Some of the products utilize removable footbeds.
To my delight, I have discovered my second go-to brand in Mexico: San Miguel Shoes. From the moment I slipped on my first pair of sandals in a shop in Puerto Vallarta, I knew I had found my next dream brand. Even with a higher heel, I walked for an entire evening in the cobblestone streets of Puerto Vallarta without any aches or pains in my legs or back. The shop woman had told me this would be possible but I really hadn’t believed her until I gave the shoes a good test run (walk). She was right! These sexy shoes, available is a wide array of patterns and colors, were first nicknamed “cocktail combat shoes” – inspired by the elegant wife of the cobbler who founded the company. She wanted him to make a shoe that would provide full support of her ankles and enable her to walk the cobblestoned, uneven streets of San Miguel, while also looking pretty and sexy. Bless this woman and her brilliant cobbler husband.
Many hours of trial and error followed until the shoe was perfected. Made of a practically indestructible sole, the insole is memory foam padded and covered with soft suede to keep feet from tiring. The wide cotton elastic straps fit snugly to the foot, providing the ultimate support. The best part about them I was told by the shopkeeper I bought my shoes from is that you can throw them in the washing machine and they will come out like new! Use cold water, gentle cycle and I think it goes without saying to not put them in the dryer.
View the video of how the shoes are made here.
My next delightful experience with this brand happened in the small surf town of Sayulita, about 45 minutes from Puerto Vallarta. After surfing one day, we browsed through some of the shops on the way back to our hotel. In one of the surf shops, I couldn’t believe my eyes to see a rack of San Miguel Shoes amongst the surf and paddle boards, and surf wear. Some were used and some new. I came away with my-new-best-friend boots for a mere 200 pesos ($14 CDN), a steal! The owner said they are new and had never been worn. The boots are very comfortable with no break in time required and there is even room in them for my prescription insoles.
Not intending to buy more than two pairs of shoes this trip, I couldn’t resist adding another pair to my collection after learning about the Flexi brand from a local friend. They have a full line of comfy, orthopedic-type shoes, but also some comfy, sexy ones. These wedgies have a soft foam and leather sole and butter soft leather straps for the utmost in comfort. My legs and back don’t get sore or tired and the soles can easily negotiate the tough cobblestone streets. Happy walking!