Yesterday I saw a woman at the grocery store with the best outfit. Hair in a messy bun, black coat, and cozy gray sweatpants, but paired with the most fantastic sparkly heels. What otherwise might have been considered a schlubby outfit immediately transformed into an effortlessly cool ensemble. The shoes elevated the entire look. She was running errands right; walking down the grocery aisles in a good pair of shoes certainly makes picking out produce feel a bit more exciting.
Owner of Luya - Shoes and Other Fine Things in Excelsior, Connie Hawley, explains, “If I have an outfit that's all black, I can pair it with the coolest shoes, which to the outside observer tells you a little bit about me like, ‘Oh, I have some creativity in me.’”
Connie’s son and Luya co-owner, Travis, would agree. “Particularly on the men’s side of things, everyone’s wheelhouse is a dress shirt, sport coat, and trousers,” says Travis. “Artistic, colorful shoes, for example, are a great way to try a new style and express your personality and individuality without leaving your comfort zone.”
Exploring new styles can be intimidating, especially when you have an established look your friends, family, and colleagues (and even yourself) are all accustomed to. Shoes are a great gateway into testing new styles and going bold without feeling too awkward in your own skin.
“Start slow. Baby steps,” advises Travis. “When people come into Luya, we like to chat and get to know their personalities so we can offer suggestions with a better idea of the areas where they’d want to slowly push the envelope.” Connie adds, “Instead of trying a higher heel than normal plus a crazy color, just try one new element. Choose a pretty color that speaks to you, or pick an interesting sole design. Start little by little.”
Travis and Connie visit markets each year in Vegas, Atlanta, Chicago, New York, San Diego, and even a smaller expo in St. Paul, searching for not only the latest trends but something unique, always prioritizing comfort and style. Luya doesn’t sell stilettos. Travis and Connie's philosophy is that shoes are works of art, but you should also be able to live your life comfortably in them.
Recent trends Travis and Connie are seeing are all about sole. “A big style is the boot and bootie, but without the tall heel. Instead, you see a platform sole that looks wavy or offers a distinctive design,” says Travis. You still get the height and style but also comfort. Platform sneakers, bright colors, and artistically designed soles are en vogue.
“We’re seeing soles using recycled products with bright colors and patterns,” describes Connie. “You can get a lot of design elements from the sole as well as from the actual upper shoe.”
For women, Connie recommends edgy sneakers from brands like Dyan. “It’s a fun sneaker with a West Coast meets New York vibe. The brand offers a great way to express yourself without going too crazy and still having that comfort.”
One of Travis’s favorite brands for men is Wolf and Shepherd for the perfect smart-casual sneaker. Fluchos is another go-to brand for Travis. “They’re out of Spain with both traditional and funky styles. Lots of great options for men,” says Travis.
Footwear sold at Luya is sourced from all over the world. Recently, Travis and Connie connected with Gabriela Ephrem, a Brazilian designer whose beautiful handmade sandals, slides, and scrunchy boots are one-of-kind.
So the next time you head out to run some errands, break out the stylish kicks or the fun heels. Why wait for a special occasion to explore your style or wear the shoes you love? “Even for when you’re home doing the dishes, we have some beautiful waterproof shoes and boots,” laughs Travis.
See what new styles Luya has for you at: shopluya.com