Friday, May 26, 2006

New obsession: Thierry Rabotin

I was with a friend in one of the most important shoe stores in the Philadelphia area, Benjamin Lovell Shoes. This store prides itself on placing the emphasis on comfort as well as style. Their brands aren't cheap, and they're also very selective with the styles they carry (no stilettos there!): Donald J. Pliner, Beautifeel, Naot, Ara, Mephisto, Arche, Born, Dansko, Merrell, Mephisto, Paul Green, Michael Kors, Tsubo, Camper, Keen--you get the point.

My friend was enamored with a Naot brown loafer that she simply had to have. I wasn't particularly enamored with said shoe, too plain for me, as was most of their Naot collection. As an aside, you'd think with a store like this nearby and my passion for stylish and comfortable shoes, I'd practically live there. Not so. Their buyers seem to favor a more Teutonic approach to style--less frilly, more on the practical and classical side, that is, which would be fine, if they had good sales, which they don't often have (not of the kind Zappos has spoiled us with, anyway). Anyway...still a great browsing experience, overall.

While my friend was trying on the shoe, I looked for the Taryn Rose collection I knew they had, and couldn't find any, so I asked a salesman.

"Do you still carry Taryn Rose shoes?" I asked.
"Oh, no, we stopped carrying that line. We found that she's moved to making more fashion-type shoes, not really the kind of shoes we carry here," said the blond, bespectacled young man behind the counter.
"That's too bad!" I said sincerely.
"Well, we do carry instead a whole bunch of Thierry Rabotin," he said helpfully. "He used to be a designer for Taryn Rose," he added hastily, in response to the somewhat confused look on my face. "He makes more of the type of shoes we usually carry in our store."

I was going to make a point about their lack of Icon shoes (they used to have quite a few), but was forced to cut the conversation short as we were on a tight schedule (what with my friend having to catch a plan and all), but of course, that meant I had to learn more about this Thierry Rabotin. From his website, one can find out that he also worked for Robert Clergerie (another one of my favorite brands...hmmmm, this is looking good!) and that his hand-made shoes promise "the incredibile sensation ... of walking barefoot." Mmmm, better and better!

Now, the only thing I had to really worry about was price. That turns out to be a problem. Zappos does not carry this brand (sniff-sniff!), nor does Shoes.com, and the only pair of Thierry Rabotin available on Ebay as of 50 minutes ago is used and looks sort of blah.

How do his shoes look? Let's see. These red sandals are kind of cool and they are also 20% off (still almost $300, not very encouraging!)
These black suede slides look stylish and comfortable too, for just a little under $240:
I wouldn't be ashamed wearing this pump, either ($345):
Or this Mary-Jane inspired one, for $375:

I also fancy this leopard-print peep-toe ($375):
I mean, if you have to wear an elegant pump, you can at least be comfortable, right?
These Mary-Jane mules are also rather attractive ($225):
Now, if I could only find these on a proper sale, somewhere...

26 Comments:

At 11:12 PM, Blogger Henri-V said...

Oh! Newsflash! I wanted to tell you that my mum just found some of these Thierry Rabotins from Arthur Beren's in San Francisco last weekend. She said they were extremely comfortable, I deemed they were very chic. She paid full price, but I believe the health of her feet are worth it.

(They weren't included in the sale rack, but they may be in the future.)

 
At 11:13 AM, Blogger Scarpediem said...

Yes, I think they are totally worth it. What you say only confirmed my suspicions. I'm sure your mom will enjoy them for a long time. I hope I will, too, as soon as I find an extra $300!

 
At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Ana said...

His current shoe is a strappy sandal that will rock your world. Strappy high heels are not known for comfort, but this pair is quite different. The biggest thing he does that no one else is doing is that he makes the heel bed more or less flat rather than steeply inclined like the vamp. Most pumps are inclined all the way down to the ball of the foot, and this puts all the body's weight there...so your foot gets tired quickly. By changing the incline just so, Rabotin's shoe design puts the body's weight back on the heel where it should be, so you stand straighter and remain far more comfortable. Nice.

 
At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I tried on a pair of Thierry Rabotin shoes in NYC this past weekend. I swear my slippers are less comfortable! They had a cute pair for $400 (!), but not in my size. I've never felt leather that supple before. The bonus is that they come in larger sizes (11 and up). If you find them for less $$, let me know too! ;-)

 
At 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thierry Rabotin's shoes make me happy. They make my feet and back happy, and I feel lust when I see them and hold them.
No, they are not those in-your-face glitter spike heels of the under 30 crowd's passion, but Thierry's lush leathers and scultured wedges and angled toe boxes quicken my breath and keep me jumping to my feet and dancing all night long.
With an additional thin rubber heel and sole cobbled on, a pair of these babies can elegantly tackle any urban street.

 
At 5:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In my opinion, the best and most elegant "comfort" brand out there. If I could afford it, I would wear nothing but Thierry Rabotins. Comfortable out of the box, still comfortable after being on my feet for 8ormore hours.

 
At 9:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

tiptopshoes.com and justourshoes.com carry the heavenly Rabotins, and, yes, they do occasionally have sales.

 
At 10:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought my first pair of Rabotin shoes in Montreal 3 years ago and I love them. I can't wait to travel to the US again to buy more!

 
At 3:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I walked into shoe mania and did not know what i was buying. I saw the red shoes across the way, glowing they beckoned. I walked over, the salesmen flocked to me. Of course I automatically looked at the price, 390(something?), yikes. Never. Then I knew why they were flocking. I don't know anything about shoes, people. But I tried them on. I walked, no, I floated. I spoke to the store manager and he gave me a discount on one condition: I promised to return to him, I would come back for more. I am buying the other pair of heels in two weeks. In short, two words, one name: Thierry Rabotin. Your bank account WILL recover but your precious feet may never. I am in love with my shoes. Every time I think about something sad, I think about my new shoes (may they never grow old). Sincerely, AC

 
At 6:59 PM, Blogger Barbie485 said...

I also saw these shoes this past weekend in NYC. However, I did not try them on, merely drooled over them and the PRICE!!!!!!!!!

I was purchasing shoes for my son, newly installed at colelge in NYC.

i thought perhaps, $395 for shoes would buy him many more pairs, and I could do without them right now.

does anyone know a similar brand that isn't quite so expensive??

 
At 8:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just purchased my first pair (definately not my last) of Thierry Rabotins and all I can say is WOW!!!!

They are probably the most comfortable shoe that I have ever worn. Now, I am not in the habit of spending $400 on a pair of shoes nor am I a "style maven", but these shoes are worth it.

I am tired of paying $150 or $200 for shoes made in CHINA. I will splurge in Thierry's from now on. A girl has to have her priorities!

 
At 1:17 AM, Anonymous heidilouhoo said...

this site has most of the Thierry
Rabotin
's -shoemania.com - big shoe website in NYC

 
At 12:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too, just left San Francisco and tried on a pair of Thierry Rabotin inspite of the price and I have pledged to save up enough to buy two pairs!! Loved them and I am a shoe freak, but have come to the realization that there is nothing more satisfying than having a comfortable and stylish pair of shoes. Grandma Phyllis

 
At 10:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought some black sandals by thierry rabotin the other day at a thrift store for only $12.00 dollars(1/2 off). They have never been worn. They are very light and comfortable. They're made in Italy. I am a thrift store addict and have found some incredible items at incredible prices. I believe in recycling and am also on a budget, I would not be able to pay $400.00 for a pair of shoes. Thierry Rabotin's shoes are very comfortable, stylish and practicle. For whoever can afford their full price, go for it.

 
At 2:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love my Thierrys! I'm not sure i could get through my work week without them. I get mine at www.RonWhite.ca they have a few stores in Toronto and an online store which has free shipping.

 
At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought two pairs at the semi annual sale at Arche shoes in New York City. I paid $270 a pair.

 
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At 11:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thierry Rabotin are the best shoes I have ever worn and very worth the $. Turned a friend on to them as well. Great for business conferences when you have to look nice, but stand on your feet all day long. Luckily there is a shoe store near me that has sales twice a year. Of course, would and have paid full price. Arthur Beren's has a website and has a good selection and some on sale.

 
At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arthur Beren has Thierry's in their two big sales a year. Maybe not the most popular colors or styles, just at comfortable though.

I LOVE his shoes!!!

 
At 1:18 PM, Anonymous Shelley said...

This guy signs every one that leaves his Milan factory!
Of course they are worthit...and less common as Jimmy Choos!

 
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