From left: Tory Burch Stud Flats, Elizabeth and James Lara Flats, and Ash Iman Flats.
A couple weeks ago, I was in San Francisco for a little vacation. Being my first time in the city of sourdough, cable cars, and Rice-A-Roni, I quickly realized I did a horrible job packing—shoes-wise, anyway. On my first walk up a monster of a hill on Powell Street, my flat, leather-soled Boutique 9 shoes proved to be less than adequate (every other step resulted in a not-so-graceful slip). They went back in the suitcase. I pulled out a pair of anti-chic Merrell trail shoes, and wore them for the rest of the week, only swapping them out twice for some Frye driving mocs. Those adorable Loeffler Randall heels I’d packed? They never left my suitcase.
After that first day, I kept an eye to the pavement to see what the ladies of San Francisco wear to navigate its hilly streets. Gals on their way to work in the morning (when my friend and I were on our way to Ghirardelli Square for yet another free sample) wore flats, naturally, but not the basic black ballet variety. Their footwear managed to be both practical and interesting. I spotted vamps embellished with ruffles or studs, side cutouts that lent an intriguing silhouette, and cool treatments like snake prints and metallic patinas. Given a second chance to pack for this trip, I’d toss in my ruffled Jeffrey Campbell flats, a pair from Belle by Sigerson Morrison, and the cutout Elizabeth and James shoes pictured.