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Gentle Souls: Hippie Shoes for the Girl Who Hates Hippies

There was a time, I'd say between the ages of 13 and 15, that I fancied myself a hippie. Since I wasn't alive in the mid-60s or 70s, when the actual hippies congregated, this label was almost entirely about aesthetics. I wore lots of tie dye shirts, patchwork pants, Birkenstocks and peasant blouses. (Although always with a fully made-up face, which I now know is decidedly un-hippie.)

Eventually, Mickey Drexler and his fashion fairy dust turned me into a corduroy-wearing, puffer vest-clad Gap devotee. I said goodbye to the hippie duds in 1998, and my style hasn't really changed much since then. I still enjoy preppy, boyish clothes: JW Anderson sweaters, APC button-ups, and Carven blazers. Not a bit of batik in sight.

I've always thought back on my brief period as a hippie with equal parts disdain and fondness. But Gentle Souls, this little environmentally-friendly shoe line backed by the very big shoe brand Kenneth Cole, has helped me come to terms with my bell bottom past.

Not only is each pair quite cool-looking in a minimalist, Celine-y way, they are also super comfortable in an orthopedic-nursing-shoe way. (Apparently the secret is little flax seeds planted into the foot bed. Weird, but I swear it feels like your shoes are massaging your feet all day.)

Sure, they're a little crunchy, especially when compared to my Repetto ballet flats and Bass loafers, but I've been wearing my black flatforms and clay red wedges (still available!) all summer, and for fall I'm definitely considering a pair of the Chelsea boots. So if wearing Gentle Souls makes me a flower child, go ahead and put a daisy in my hair.

Get your own pair at Gentlesouls.com.

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