The ceremony was perfect. Now, with an evening of dining, dancing and mingling awaiting, all you can really think about is … my feet are killing me!
You don’t have to sacrifice comfort for style, thanks to Minnesota-based luxury footwear designer Marion Parke. With a background as a podiatric surgeon, she’s created a new line of innovative bridal footwear. Though the common thinking might be that a shoe is either beautiful or sensible, Parke says, “Women can be both, so why can’t our shoes be, too?”
“An important element of looking great is feeling great,” she says. “There are moments where a woman wants to be her fullest self. She doesn’t want to be distracted because her feet hurt”—especially on her wedding day.
“There is a lot of nuance to a shoe being comfortable,” Parke says. Her brand is unique in the marketplace because of her medical background and knowledge of the anatomy and biomechanics of the foot as well as an understanding of fashion and aesthetics.
For example, a lower heel doesn’t always equal comfort; it really depends on the construction of the shoe and the contours of the foot. While a traditional solution for more comfortable shoes is to make them wider with more padding, that’s not necessarily the best answer. More cushioning can allow the foot to slip within the shoe, “and slippage is one of the No. 1 causes of fatigue and soreness,” she explains. “Your foot can slide down and your toes can get cramped in the toe box.”
Parke’s patented insole design has been crafted to increase stability by distributing weight evenly, not concentrated on the ball of the foot. Reducing that pressure will ultimately reduce fatigue. Her insoles are also contoured and will mold to the unique shape of your foot over time. She uses a medical-grade material originally developed for prosthetics, similar to the naturally occurring soft tissue on the bottom of the foot.
A wedding shoe can be anything from a sexy stiletto to a cute kitten heel. The Marion Parke Bridal Collection features crystal-embellished stiletto sandals, pointed-toe heels, an outdoor-friendly flat sandal, as well as a selection of strappy heels available in two heights and a variety of materials including calf, patent leather, and pearlized nappa leather in shades of ivory and white.
One of the most popular selections has been the classic pump, Parke says, and coming out later this year is a pump with sparkle, along with another height option and a pointed toe—all designed to provide comfort.
Her advice when buying any footwear is to shop later in the day when your feet tend to be larger. Then wear the shoes around the house so you can break them in.
“Our brand is focused on creating women’s footwear that is simultaneously chic and comfortable, so the bridal category is a natural next step. We want to give brides the freedom of having it all: stunning shoes that are remarkably comfortable,” says Parke. “These are the heels she can wear all night long, even on the dance floor."