Imagine a shoe that has more height than the average stiletto heel, but is more comfortable. Sky-high wedges are street chic this spring, and can be no less than four inches, according to elle.com.
Those shoes wouldn't last a minute in Steamboat Springs.
When you traverse the terrain of a mountain town, you want your shoes to be as durable as you. This spring's line of flip-flops, clogs and all-terrain Mary Janes retain functionality, comfort and add style.
Steamboat residents can feel good about their environmentally conscious footwear purchase if they buy a pair of El Naturalistas. The shoes are made out of vegetable-tanned leathers with recycled rubber soles that can be restored to a factory finish with olive oil. Ski Haus sells the brand and keeps a bottle of olive oil on site.
"El Naturalista is a footwear line from Spain that uses green manufacturing and far less invasive tanning methods," said Greg Danziger, footwear buyer for Ski Haus.
Ski Haus also cornered the local market on some beautifully crafted flip-flops designed by OluKai.
"They are primarily made with a leather construction and cost from $50 to $100," Danziger said. "Their high end stuff are the most gorgeous flip-flops I've ever seen."
If you are looking for more function out of your flip-flop, Reef has new styles that include bottle openers, flasks and even a pullout compartment where you can store your keys and credit cards in the soles.
"'The Fanning' (flip-flop) has the bottle opener on the bottom," Danziger said. "A pro surfer came up with the idea, and it became the largest selling sandal in the world. It's our number one sandal and hard to keep in the store."
Danziger claims Ski Haus is the sandal headquarters of Steamboat.
"We've got more sandals and flip-flops probably then anybody west of Denver," he said "It looks like a surf store in here."
Linda Petet, owner of Steamboat Shoe Market, doesn't have enough space in her store to carry and display all of the new styles that Crocs has developed for this season.
"They keep coming up with more and more stuff from flip-flops and sandals to Mary Janes. There are so many styles that I can't even begin to carry all they have now," she said. "They are still as popular as last year, and we have really seen the sales picking up again with spring and the warm weather."
Steamboat Shoe Market also carries an array of fun and sequined canvas shoes from Groove and Rocket Dog.
"Steamboat-style shoes are not really high fashion," Petet said. "We try to do the fashion stuff in a comfortable way.
"Dansko is stepping it up a little and doing fancier and dressier stuff. They are always - year round - our number one brand."
Merrell is Ski Haus' perennial shoe leader.
"It doesn't matter if it is spring or fall, they perform all year round," Danziger said. "That brand has the strongest return customer base."
Keen, Chaco and any type of flip-flop are Steamboat staples.
You'll also see a lot of bejeweled footwear this summer.
"Bling is huge and bling is good on everything," Petet said. "Even Birkenstock has bling, and metallics you see in everything from clothing to accessories to shoes."
The trend in this year's hiking boots is that they've become lighter, faster to break in and have more comfortable features, Petet said.
Danziger said Mizuno sneakers have outpaced the sales of other running shoes he sells.
"The 'Wave Ascend 2' has been super hot, especially for women to go train in," he said. "They are a good road-to-trail shoe."
Jeep has launched a line of shoes called J-41, whose soles are made from the same type of rubber the car company uses on tires.
"It's one of those fun, fashion authentic looks," Petet said.
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