In the Great Battle Of Comfort vs. Style, Check Out Tsubo Footwear

If you watch enough makeover shows -- or if you ever get dressed -- you know that one of the greatest dichotomies of fashion is Comfort vs. Style. Every time Tim Gunn (or Stacy London) rolls their eyes at a hopeless fashion case who whines, "But I don't caaaare about fashion! I just want to be cooooomfy!" an angel gets his wings.

This issue of style vs. comfort presents women with a constant stream of challenges: from head-to-toe, and from back-to-front. From underwires that poke, to jeans with too-short rises, to narrow pencil skirts that restrict the length of your stride -- when it comes to comfort, women definitely get the short end of the stick. Nowhere is this tension between utility and style -- between comfort and discomfort -- more apparent than on our feet. We're talking about shoes, ladies. But luckily, Tsubo footwear is looking to bridge the gap, and its Fall/Winter 2012 collection is available now at Dillard's at Post Oak.

Online reviews of Tsubo footwear were promising, and bore further investigation. The brand aims for "Urban Sophistication" and hits the mark with a good mix of styles, from ballerinas and pumps, to booties and boots. Especially interesting is the way they incorporate some of the edgier shoe trends -- like heel cutouts and open-toed booties -- which comfort brands tend to avoid. If you tend toward sharp angles and skinny stellettos, this brand is not for you but if you prefer softer lines, these shoes are worth a look.

The Fall/Winter collection starts with a $120 ballerina ($130 for the leopard print) and moves up through Mary Janes, heeled booties and mid-calf boots, all the way to riding and knee-length heeled boot options. The most expensive shoe in the collection -- the $300 slouched "Hollis" boot (available online) has an asymmetrical line at the top that is lower in the front, which is great news for girls who can never manage to find a tall boot that hits the knee in the right place. The Hollis also features a notched wedge heel that looks sharp against the slouchy ankle. The sleek Lilion heeled boot is more traditional, and perhaps a more durable investment of $270 with its more classic design.

So what makes these shoes so much more comfortable than other brands? You can watch their video on Comfort Technology ... but it won't tell you much besides that the shoes are "Engineered by Design." (Aren't all shoes engineered by design?) Product descriptions give credit (depending on the shoe) to foam pods, cork composite bottoms, latex foam footbeds, and memory foam. Though it would be great to understand a bit more about the mechanics of how these design elements contribute to comfort, there is no denying that these shoes offer a great deal of relief from the usual hard sole shock and/or pinching. The rubber sole feature may be the single greatest feature that contributes to the comfort of the shoe, especially when winter weather turns rainy and pavement becomes slick.

It goes without saying that some shoes are more stylish than others -- for our money the Royse and Hadley ankle boots win for trendy style, while the ballerinas are a good investment in a classical piece--but if you consider yourself an urban sophisticate, you may just want to drop by Dillard's footwear department.

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