These ultra-comfortable work flats from Cole Haan were designed with help from UMass Amherst's Biomechanics labSeptember 2, 2020
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- Cole Haan's "Grand Ambition" is to make comfortable women's dress shoes you can slip on and wear all day without a second thought.
- All the shoes in the new women's collection feature Grand Foam cushioning, which absorbs shock and distributes weight with each step.
- For the Skimmer flats (originally $160, currently $60), supportive construction is combined with a sleek pointed toe silhouette and luxurious calf hair.
Shoe innovator Cole Haan has is always ambitious in its attempts to make stylish, comfortable men's and women's shoes. It's largely successful in the admirable quest to prevent blisters, heel chafing, and other foot pains. We can personally confirm through experiences with its sneakers, boots, and dress shoes.
Its newest collection, Grand Ambition, tackles the challenge of making women's dress shoes you can wear all day. Instead of keeping them at your desk strictly for office wear, these pumps, wedges, flats, and sneakers are versatile enough to still see the light of day and be worn out and about with no second thought.
While Cole Haan's Grand collection focuses on sneakers, Grand Ambition features more formal, dressy shoes. I tried one of the styles, the Grand Ambition Skimmer, a $160 pointed flat (currently $60).
Its sleek style draws you in, but its comfortable, supportive feel is ultimately what makes you want to wear the shoe over and over again.
What the Grand Ambition Skimmer flats look and feel like
The flats have a slim body that end in a point. If you have a wider foot or know your toes tend to get squished by pointed flats, fret not — there's a wide size option.
They come in three leather colors including black, pink, and snake print, but the one I tried was the calfhair jaguar, a fun print that fulfills the unofficial requirement to own at least one jaguar or leopard-printed item in your wardrobe.
Cole Haan worked with the University of Massachusetts Amherst's Biomechanics laboratory to design all the Grand Ambition shoes. The Skimmer has molded footbeds that contain the brand's patented GrandFoam comfort technology — that is, three layers of shock absorbing, weight distributing foam.
This adaptive cushioning means that your feet and body are comfortable no matter how you're moving. I walk a lot in the city, but I also often have to stand and wait in lines and for my perpetually delayed trains and equally tardy friends. Standing around in uncomfortable shoes, I've realized, can really speed up the rate at which you convert from plain impatience to full-on crankiness.
In the Skimmer flats, however, I feel comfortable walking and standing all day. And while the shoe contours to your foot, it's not in an oppressive, non-breathable way. My feet stay dry but the shoes still fit perfectly, with no gaping or slippage. There's also a neoprene lining so the shoe doesn't cut into the top of your feet.
The bottoms of the shoes are made from a textured material, so I have some traction and don't slip the moment I step onto a slick surface.
The bottom line
I've tried my fair share of flats from top brands like Everlane, Allbirds, Margaux, and Rothy's. Cole Haan's entrance into the rotation means it's even harder for me to decide which pair of comfortable flats I should wear. Of the group, I will say Cole Haan has the best expertise in and reputation for footwear technology. Even though the Skimmers are pricey at $150 to $160 a pair, they're also the most thoughtfully designed flats you can buy.
Shop the entire Grand Ambition collection at Cole Haan.
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