Whenever possible, we like to pack light. Not because we’re afraid of an upper body work-out, but because the idea of checking luggage takes a large part of the fun out of the weekend-getaway. We prefer to get off the plane, out of the airport, and on the beach, pronto. But the single small bag technique doesn’t always jibe with our wardrobe plans. Shoes, for example, take up an inordinate amount of space. But—diva moment alert—we can’t imagine going anywhere without footwear options. What’s a shoe-obsessed jetsetter to do? Acquaint herself with PHELAN, a two-year old shoe line that’s one of the cleverest we’ve ever seen, that’s what.
Designer Chris Ann Phelan created her namesake footwear line specifically to solve the travel-light, look-good conundrum. Her light bulb moment came when she realized that she could design a sandal with interchangeable soles and uppers. Using her innovative system of elastics and hooks, you can easily swap a rugged daytime look for a dainty nighttime option, all while packing only one pair of soles, which, because you can put them in your bag without any uppers attached, take up next to no space. We’re offering one style of leather sole—a carved wooden 1.5 inch/4 cm demi-wedge—that’s available in either gold or brown. With that, you can mix and match three styles of leather uppers: orchid-colored with turquoise stones, a woven pear wood-colored version with brass rings, and a strappy dark brown model with intertwined leather strings that are so supple that Phelan calls the material liquid leather. Dark brown sole with liquid leather upper, gold sole with turquoise-disk upper, dark brown sole with woven pear wood upper… the possibilities are limitless. At last, sensible shoes that make us feel giddy.