SNOWSHOE MAGAZINE GEAR REVIEW:

El Naturalista Wakataua N433 Flats: Functional Fashion

If a down-to-earth hippie and urban fashionista got together and created a woman’s shoe, surely they would introduce El Naturalista’s Wakataua N433 Flats. This stylish, yet functional, shoe is just plain fun. It comes in a variety of subdued (black, brown) or vibrant (blue, silver, orange, pink) colors – mine are green – that make you want to smile and bounce around.

Not only do these shoes elicit “cute shoes” responses from friends (and even a compliment from my husband), but they are functional and comfortable. Although my Wakatauas have reached their full comfort potential now, I would be remiss not to mention that I did have to break in these shoes a bit before they became satisfactorily snug. At first, I think it’s best to wear the shoes for shorter periods of time to allow them to stretch and do their magic. While breaking them in, it’s very cool to note that when these shoes get slightly scuffed, it adds to their natural bohemian style, giving them a worn and well-loved appearance.

The Wakataua flats are ideal for seasonal transitions, from spring to summer and from summer to autumn, because the slingback style and half-moon cutouts along the sides provide plenty of breathability, while the closed-toe front provides just enough warmth and protection. The slingback strap loops around itself and stays in place with strong Velcro, which has allowed me to adjust the strap and get the perfect fit for my foot.

The recycled rubber soles are rugged enough to provide traction and support, yet light enough to alow you to wear these shoes for hours on end. The recycled rubber insole, which is made from active carbon and anti-bacterial, breathable material, is reminiscent of Birkenstocks, with soft material that conforms to your feet and truly creates a shoe that is uniquely, comfortably yours.

El Naturalista, a frontrunner in eco-fashion, has designed a stylish, cozy shoe that is gentle on Mother Earth as well as your feet. In addition to the recycled insoles and outsoles, the premium leather top of the shoe is semi-veggie tanned, which helps to create that bright “pop” of color. The company boasts an “Eco Policy,” where among other environmentally friendly practices, it aims to use natural materials, avoids using toxic substances and pays fair compensation to vendors and workers.

A great shoe for trekking around town doing errands, meeting friends out for dinner or wearing with pants or a skirt, the Wakataua N433 is versatile and fun, ready for any occasion.

In addition to this style, El Naturalista offers an impressive selection of shoes. Wakataua N433 Flats retail for $135, and you can find additional products and details at www.elnaturalista.com.

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