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Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Simply the most comfortable shoes ever!

I try not to do this too often, but occasionally I stumble across a product that is so superior to anything else in its class that it just demands a public mention.

In the past I've gushed about Moleskine notebooks and Fjällräven Kanken bags.

Today I want to tell you about Campers.

What, you haven't even heard of them?  Well, sit tight, I'll fix that.

A little over a decade ago, my younger sister (one of my fashion gurus) came to our home in Connecticut for a visit.  When she walked into the house, I couldn't help but notice that she was wearing what looked like vintage (like circa 1920) baseball shoes.  I was intrigued (I mean, what's not to love about vintage baseball apparel?).

When I asked her about them, she explained that they were 'Campers'... a well know European (Spain) brand, and that they were, in her words,  "simply the most comfortable shoe ever!".

That's a mighty bold claim, if you think about it. 

But comfort aside, I was smitten by the look of these shoes.  The already thick sole of the shoes had these neat raised bumps that made it look like it would take even the most egregious foot-dragger roughly a lifetime to wear them out.  And the upper was made of this buttery-soft leather that felt like it would be more appropriate for fine gloves than shoes.
       [Camper 'Pelotas' model 16235]

Needless to say, the following week I ran out to buy myself a pair of Campers on my lunch break.

Most new shoes require a break in period before they are comfortable (or until your foot develops the requisite callouses to make them bearable).  Walking back to work in these Campers was like walking on a cloud... a really stable cloud with excellent traction.

I'm pretty rough on shoes (see the 'egregious foot-dragger' comment above).  Other than Doc Martins (which are apparently made of equal parts tempered steel and Kryptonite), I haven't been able to get any shoes to last more than six months of semi-regular wear. 

Sure, I have a pair of LL Bean Penny Loafers that I've had for most of my adult life... but I've had them re-soled more times than I can count!

More than ten years after I bought them, my Campers - aside from being exactly as comfortable as my little sister assured me they'd be -  are still going strong (although the bumps on the sole are decidedly worn in some places).

So now that I've made all the other apparel decisions, I am hereby announcing that my Campers will be the official scootering shoe of the Midsummer Night's Dream Ride!

BTW, I have no connection whatsoever to the company, and will not benefit in any way if you decide to buy yourself a pair.  But I promise you, after wearing them for a single day, you will want to buy me dinner.  After a year, you will want to write me into your will.

Posted by David Bogner on June 15, 2011 | Permalink


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did you get the shoes in israel

Posted by: lisa | Jun 15, 2011 11:11:51 AM

I have owned several pairs of Campers (in various styles and colors) and I totally agree with you about their comfort and durability.

Posted by: Ilana-Davita | Jun 15, 2011 11:24:41 AM

Do they come in ultra-wide sizes?

Posted by: Simon | Jun 15, 2011 11:52:21 AM

where in the holy land does one acquire such footwear ?

Posted by: njs | Jun 15, 2011 12:22:29 PM

If you want dress shoes with the same requisite insta-comfort out of the box, try Ecco. Soft leather with simply no break-in period. They are good to go right away and only get more comfortable with time. Soles that don't wear away quickly either.

Posted by: J K | Jun 15, 2011 1:54:16 PM

Perfect timing: I leave on a 3-week tour of the Mediterranean this weekend! I'll try and hunt some down. Failing that-- my first stop is Barcelona...

P.S. I already use Molskine (or the derivative, made-in-USA Eco line of notebooks) for travel writing :)

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Jun 15, 2011 5:10:30 PM

good choice :)

i've had a couple of pairs of campers, comfy and they wear well. and look interesting.

Posted by: sarah | Jun 15, 2011 9:17:24 PM

My first thought was "they're about 3 times what I pay for my casual shoes!!", but if they last 3 years, I'll be paying about the same as I do now. My casual shoes seems to start pulling apart at the seams or the soles start cracking after about a year.

Wry Mouth, can I stowaway in your luggage? I've always wanted a 3 week tour of the Med!

Posted by: ProphetJoe | Jun 15, 2011 9:30:12 PM

Buy boat shoes. Either Sperry Topsiders or Sebago Docksiders.
I've bought five pairs in 20 years.
My last pair took six years of constant abuse before needing replacement. That amounts to four cents a day.

Posted by: At The Back of the Hill | Jun 16, 2011 12:16:30 AM

The Israeli company Moran makes comfortable shoes, too. When I tried on a pair, my feet were in heaven.

Posted by: Batya | Jun 16, 2011 6:06:07 AM

Haha! I will have to check if they sell these in Canada... my mom would love them!

Posted by: Chantal | Jun 17, 2011 8:39:27 PM

one year later: my son (college) and I are thorough-going Camper converts now. I have two pair and even the used ones I bought on eBay are bullet-proof and in fine condition.

the blogosphere enables strange influences indeed.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Aug 9, 2012 8:57:53 PM

oh, and Prophet Joe? the 3-week tour was very very nice. We even got to see Greece before it entirely implodes (sad). It was the kind of vacation where one could say, at the end, that the Parthenon was the *low* point of the trip.

next time, we pack an empty extra suitcase for you to stow away in, if you promise to be entertaining.

Posted by: Wry Mouth | Aug 9, 2012 9:00:12 PM

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