THE appeal of Cole Haan is that it feels good and looks interesting.
The feels-good part is thanks to construction that at once comforts and supports dog-tired feet. That's something you won't understand just by looking at it. You'll need to take the shoe apart to see the magic bits or, really, just wear it. Feeling is believing the American shoemaker's promise of a walking experience akin to wearing a sneaker.
The 3.ZeroGrand, the latest entry in Cole Haan's popular line introduced in 2014, builds on this. Two things to know: The chassis provides "support, rigidity, flexibility, and cushioning where the foot needs it most," while an energy foam, offers "heel-to-toe cushioning and multi-directional traction."
This just means comfort and support. It's like wrapping your feet in an embrace made of clouds.
The looks-interesting part can be subjective. The bolt of color on the ridged sole - bumblee-bee yellow! acid-trip green! - that made be previous ZeroGrands identifiable has given way to white or black; the uppers now come in soft nylon or a smooth leather. But overall, the new version retains that futuristic hybrid shoe look.
Is it fun? Is it serious? Can I wear this on a date? Can I wear this at work?
Yes to both. The ZeroGrand has been designed for the modern man with modern needs (as in, he no time!). For those seeking the middle ground, this is perfect, a cool option that will set you apart. For traditionalists, it may take some time to adjust your mindset. But remember that the very first Grands were made with the intention of updating classic dress shoes. (And pick the black-on-black.)
Now, back to that cloud feeling. We know of a savvy traveler who has, on many ocassions, gotten away with just one pair of shoes on a trip: a Cole Haan mahogany leather loafer with Nike's Lunarlon cushion. On a particular trip, one of his companions declared that he could never walk in hard-bottomed shoes while exploring a foreign city. "How?," he asked while screwing up his pretty face.
What the sneaker-wearing shoe critic didn't know was that these loafers were light and snug, so it was very possible to comfortably explore the entire stretch of Ginza on foot. It was also possible to look a bit smarter in a sea of sneaker-wearing tourists.
We don't think this particular model is still available, but the wingtip versions of the new ZeroGrand look good, too.
Shangri-La Plaza Mall, Power Plant Mall, Glorietta 4, One Bonifacio High Street Mall