As far as shoes go, I can be a little finicky. I am both flat-footed and I like to walk everywhere, which can be a bit limiting when it comes to my choice of shoes. And because I am impossible, I like my shoes to be fashionable, as well as functional. This is my cross to bear. In any case, after much research and many 10,000+ step days, I landed on a wonderful pair of ballet flats that stand the test of a cross-borough walk from Manhattan to Brooklyn. Where would I turn next? To my surprise, I was lured by the prospects of a square toe flat, a shape that I have been reticent to experiment with for fear of becoming a fashion victim. Alas, the M. Gemi Danza flat came across in an ad and stopped me mid-scroll.
If you have spent any time on TikTok in the last year, and I regret to inform you that, yes, I have spent too many hours on the platform, you’ll know that every stylista and aspiring fashion plate is dabbling in the trend stratosphere with everything from baggy knit vests, micro-mini dresses, lug sole boots, and oversized suiting galore… and of course, shoes with square toes.
This look, while I admit both fashion forward and a fun refresh for footwear, was and is daunting. I appreciate a good trend, but I am averse to looking like my Instagram discover page vomited all over me. Subtle application of the buzzy look du-jour, namely classic silhouettes with a twist, is my game and I doubt I will ever change. And that’s where this lovely square toe flat, the Danza by M. Gemi, comes in.
First of all, the fit of this shoe is really wonderful. It hugs the foot a little higher (no toe cleavage) so it feels secure in your stride—a huge component of comfort. But even better, there’s a hidden wedge inside (20 mm of lift to be exact) so it’s a flat, but it’s not really a flat. Overly flat flats are not your friend; trust me, I’ve done the leg work. Sure, the Danza is not a pair of heels but I feel that much more put together when I slip them on because of the hint of lift. Plus, the added cushion and support makes it easier to wear them while zipping about during the day. As we have ramped up through fashion week and are heading towards a return to office, I can rely on these flats to keep my ensemble sleek from head to toe, and my non-existent arches without pain.
And the square toe? It’s soft and not overly exaggerated (always my barrier for the style, which if not properly selected can veer on the side of cheesy). But the Danza succeeds in its angular toe where other pairs of shoes have failed—still delicate and feminine but no less modern in its appearance. Think: 2021 does Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face. When I slip my feet into these, I can practically hear the lyrics to, “How to Be Lovely.” I’ll be holding onto these shoes season after season… and dare I say it, they’ve awakened a commitment to searching out trendy silhouettes that feel thoroughly modern, but also thoroughly me.
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