Header image  
"We Entertain When It Rains"  

  Static  125x125

Good Footwear Can Change Your Life   by Carolyn Donovan

The Rainy Day offices were abuzz when the UPS guy dropped off the package containing the Taos all-terrain shoes from Keen Footwear this morning. The “outdoor folks” were like “Cool shoes!” I was like “Great, outdoor shoes.”

I used to be one of those people who loved “long walks on the beach.” When I lived in Bray, Co. Wicklow (yes, Ireland), every Sunday I would walk up and around Bray Head to Greystones. It was a four-hour trek, and I looked forward to it every week. Okay, so I’m no tri-athlete and took the bus back. But walking was always my thing.  

Bio-mechanics eventually got the best of me, and my flat feet and corresponding ankle, knee, and hip issues made me dread my formerly beloved bi-pedaling. Walking became a trying, pain-inducing requirement that wiped me out for the rest of the day. I couldn’t find anything that made it better, and I couldn’t justify the $300+ custom orthotics that some people recommended.  

Needless to say, I was somewhat wary of my task of reviewing all-terrain shoes. I’m a “let’s get facials then watch videos all afternoon” type, you know?  

At 3pm today, I had been at my computer for 8 hours and needed to do something to keep my blood from pooling permanently in my feet. Donning the Taos, I went to Jamaica Pond for a walk. And did I ever!  

The Taos shoes have, what's the word, holes, all over them, because they designed to be used in/around water. The material on the inside of the shoes are water-something, repellent/resistant/remarkable, so if you go sloshing about, say, in the rivers and streams of the White Mountains in New Hampshire, these shoes can get rid of both the water and that icky “sloshing around in watery shoes” feeling.  

The shoes do not have laces, they have a single, stretchy cord strung through the loops and secured by a, thing, that automatically clamps onto the cord to keep it tight (they call it a “secure-fit lace capture system”). The, thing, on the right shoe was defective, in that it didn’t hold the cord tightly. I had to tie the cord to keep it tight. But even with that, the cord was easy to tie and untie, unlike those cloth laces from sneakers (Am I dating myself? Do they even use cloth laces in sneakers anymore? Do they even call them sneakers anymore? Good heavens, I need a facial...)

These shoes look, to my “Oh-to-win-a-$5,000-gift-certificate-to-the-Aquascutum-clothing-store-in-Boston” mind, a little goofy. They have a somewhat bulbous rubber toe cap, the teeniest bit clownish, but I am going to go out on a limb here and say that if you are athletic and have powerful legs and are the outdoorsy type, these shoes look exactly like they’re supposed to, and if you are cool (which I must admit I am not) then you will look totally cool in these.  

I can't help it, these shoes are making me cool!

Okay, here is my total review of these shoes:




Whatever they’ve put into the footbed actually supports the foot and the arch, the heretofore nonexistent part of my feet. It wasn’t so much that the Taos shoes felt good (which they did), it’s that the Taos shoes eliminated/corrected the flatness of my feet, and therefore the pains in all my lower joints.  

I loved being able to actually walk again, so much so that I went around the Pond twice. So I’m still wiped out from walking, but for a totally different (and positive) reason.  

The weirdest feeling occurred after I took the Taos off. I actually felt the bones in my feet flattening out when I walked around the house. Believe me, being able to feel the change in bone placement was an eye-opener.  

Others in the office will have to give the “rugged” review, but for this first looker, these shoes get a huge recommendation. They’re making me want to splash through those rivers and streams of New Hampshire myself…  

NOTE: After one solid week of wearing them, I wish to state for the record that I have walked 18 miles around Jamaica Pond, I now wear them even when preparing dinner. I went to a Fourth of July cookout, and everyone told me how cool I looked in them. Cool!  

NOTE on the NOTE: Even the ladies at the massage place thought my Taos shoes were fascinating. One of them, a “Berk enthusiastic for two decades” (that’s Berkinstocks to those of you who don’t normally wear socks – of any color – with sandals) said she was going to look into buying some.

Back to Carolyn's World


Photography by Wan Chi Lau