Paris is known for different classic shoe fashion. A true Parisian girl dreams of one day walking along the Seine in her own pair of black ballerinas from Repetto. She dreams of having summer apéros and dinner in St.-Germain-des-Prés while wearing her own pair of Christian Louboutins, casually flicking up a heel for a sly reveal of the iconic red sole. This is the true Parisian girl—with an unlimited budget. Yet most of us just dream of actually getting to Paris, whether or not we’re wearing Repettos or Louboutins.
The same goes for the adored French designer Isabel Marant. She teases and taunts Francophile women each season with her laissez-faire, bohemian styles. And it was no different during Paris Fashion Week in fall 2011 when from the left to the right, the fashionistas were all wearing Marant—sneakers to be exact—and it caused such a frenzy that they sold out in Paris, New York and Milan.
The Marant sneaker, which is a revamp of an early-1990s high-top, includes a hidden wedge heel inside the shoe, giving you an extra lift. And let’s be honest: there’s nothing wrong with a little lift, whether it’s to add some height or to give your legs a high-heels look. The shoe was designed in duo colors and came in various shades. The only downside was that the retail price was around $700.
The spring 2012 fashion week brought a pleasant surprise in that I began to see the Isabel Marant–type sneakers at other shops and on a lot more Parisian women. I knew only one thing could be true: the shoe was now available by different brands at a more manageable price point.
So if you find yourself in Paris with plans to do a lot of walking, why not treat yourself to the sporty shoe of the season and get a little lift while you’re at it? They’re chic, comfortable and completely of the moment.
My favorite spot, which has the largest selection and a few locations, is Show Bizz. It carries a large selection of Ash, the brand that has created the widest variety in style and color. Ash is also found at Le Bon Marché. Eram, which also has various locations, carries a less expensive version (69 euros), as does the American shoe brand Aldo, which just opened a shop last fall in central Paris. And if you won’t be in Paris this spring, you can still find the sneakers at specific Steve Madden stores.
29, rue Etienne Marcel, in the 1st Arrondissement.
42, rue Dragon, in the 6th.
48, rue Beaubourg, in the 3rd.
Editor’s note: Many of our Paris walking tours include a ton of shopping, with stores and shops handpicked by the founder of Girls’ Guide, Doni Belau. You can download the tours as pdfs or as iPhone apps.