These flats are the ugliest shoes I can’t stop wearing.
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In general, Everlane is not a brand to shop from if you are in search of a surprise. The predominantly online-only store's main selling points are transparency—in terms of where its clothes come from and how they are made—and high quality, reasonably priced apparel. Because of this, the brand's clothing has become a casual, comfortable, and even office-appropriate go-to.
The same goes for its shoes. Earlier this year, Everlane released the Day Glove ReKnit, a near-exact copy of its classic Day Glove flat (a standard leather flat with a high-coverage upper), but with a woven knit upper replacing the leather.
The $98 shoes are made of recycled polyester and contain the equivalent of eight plastic bottles, according to their blurb on Everlane’s site. Based on Everlane’s transparency principle, this isn’t out of character. But given the popularity of the similarly constructed of Rothy’s and Allbird’s flats, these shoes strike me as a conspicuous entry into the specific-yet-mighty category of eco-friendly ballet flats. I famously (depending on who you talk to) love Allbirds and feel ambivalent (at best) about Rothy’s. To get a definitive answer on which eco-friendly flats are worth your eco-friendly-flat money, I ordered the Day Glove ReKnits, in black, and wore them for a few months.
I’ll be frank. These shoes are—how do I put it?—some of the ugliest things I have ever seen, let alone put on my feet. I know taste is subjective, but I pointed them out to many people in the two months I wore them, and all of them said something like “huh,” or “interesting,” or a straight-up, “Those are not cute.”
The good news is, it's pretty easy to tell why the shoes lack the aesthetic appeal Everlane usually masters: The upper's cable-knit portion covers the top of the foot a solid two inches more than regular flats. This is the same design as Everlane’s popular Day Glove flats—which, as many reviewers point out, makes it effective for blocking toe cleavage—but because of the sweater-look material, they are, well, not cute. They look both like a pair of colonial-era house shoes I once saw in an exhibit the Metropolitan Museum of Art and slippers with traction soles that one might wear while lounging about the house or recovering from major surgery in the hospital.
But here’s the catch: I wear the Day Glove ReKnits a lot. Because, despite their arguably hideous appearance, they are so dang comfortable—comfortable enough, in fact, for me to turn a blind eye to the way they look. (Though when fashion and comfort matters, my feet are clad in the Allbirds.)
The Everlane ReKnits fit true-to-size, and like a dream. I mostly wear them back and forth to my office—I walk a little under a mile to work—and from my first wear, they had zero break-in time. And, ultimately, the factors that made me hate the way they look also contribute to their comfort. The high-rise cable-knit fabric makes the upper feel secure. The thick leather soles cradle my feet and make me feel like I am wearing a real pair of shoes that I could walk long distances in (and not slippers I forgot to take off before leaving the house, as an onlooker might assume).
In the grand scheme of comfortable flats, I don’t think the Everlanes are as comfortable as Allbirds flats, which have a cushier insole, more tread on the soles, and are much cuter. But they are significantly more comfortable than Rothy’s—which gave me bloody feet, so that’s a decidedly low bar.
The Everlane ReKnit flats are also not machine washable, unlike both the Allbirds and Rothy’s, due to their leather content. But because the upper portion is so breathable, my feet didn’t really sweat when I was wearing them, so they don’t seem like they’ll need a wash anytime soon.
I’m not the only one who is pleased with the ReKnit flats. The shoes have more than 500 reviews, nearly all of which are 100 percent raves. In most of them, reviewers praise the shoes’ comfort, but there are more than a few happy shoutouts to their appearance. (So maybe my friends and I are outliers there.) Writes one: “Great elongated shape, very flattering for the feet, and so comfortable that they have become my go-to pair of shoes anytime I need to be ready for long walks, museums, or shopping (not to mention the office). Another plus: Their design is very essential and minimalistic, but they never get unnoticed!” (That’s one way to put it…)
Of course, for a pair of shoes to be both ugly and comfortable is not really anything new. Crocs exist, and they have come out on the other side of mockery to reach the venerable fashion heights of collaborations with Zooey Deschanel and Post Malone. So, it is possible that the Day Glove ReKnits are simply the first wave of a new, ugly-cool normcore revolution—and, once that happens, I know I’ll be wearing them on the front lines.
In any case, I can say that if comfort (and lack of toe cleavage) is all you want in a pair of flats, these are a great bet. Style-wise? Well, that’s up to you.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.
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