J41 Fabulous Pumps in Black

I purchased these nifty little heels from Zappos two months ago, and overall I’m pretty pleased.  These photos were taken straight out of the box and were purposefully detailed to show the Velcro on the strap, the stitch outline, and the pattern of the sole.  Why don’t companies include these types of photos?  Perhaps I might purchase the occasional impulse buy, but I’m just as inclined to ‘impulse return’ if the product isn’t exactly as specified and twice as impressive.  Before I begin with the review, a short word about my size, stature, and daily activities, as this will impact your evaluation of the shoe and my experience with it.

I am 5″2, pettite, and on average I wear a size 6 1/2 or a 7.  I do neuroscience research in a hospital and spend a lot of time walking on hard surfaces.  I purchased these shoes in a size 7, on recommendation of reviewers who commented that the shoes run a bit small.  Thank you!  They do.  Order a half size up.  Onto the review.

Overall, this is a great little heel.  To begin, it’s very well made.  The suede is smooth and looks high quality, unlike some suede shoes I’ve purchased in the past (to remain unnamed).  The edges are rimmed with a shiny black leather (not patent) and sewn with a large pink threaded weave.  Note that the color is definitely pink, not red as in some online photos.  The company claims that the sole insole is made of some type of memory foam.  I sleep on a king memory foam mattress and I’m sorry to say folks, but this is no memory foam.  That doesn’t mean it’s not comfortable, but it is not as cushy as the company’s description makes it seem.  However, this is a comfortable shoe overall.

When I ordered these originally, the photos lead me to believe that the final heel height would actually be less than the 3 1/4 ” specified due to the slight platform in the toe box.  In practice, however, they feel exactly that height which is higher than I am comfortable traipsing around in all day long.  One thing I’m quite impressed with is the length of the toe box.  Some companies like Puma have created a toe box made for what I can only assume is either children or toe amputees, but J41 has given us plenty of wiggle room here.  The only thing unusual about these shoes is the height of the toe box.  That sounds funny but what I mean here is the distance between the insole at the toe and the top of the leather.  It’s a bit stingy!  Although my toes have plenty of length to work with, they’re a bit crunched.  To be fair, I have pudgy toes.

All-day wear.  For those of you who walk around all day on hard floors, or even for those of you who don’t often walk around but are planning to have to walk clients to far-off distances for lunch, this isn’t a shoe I would recommend.  Although it is comfortable, the comfort wears off quickly and in long-distance walks you’ll find yourself wishing you could dip into the bathroom just to flex a little.  On the plus side, if you’re ever in a position where you should need to take your shoes off, they must have some type of anti-microbial something in there because I’ve never had any problems with odor wearing them without stockings.  If, however, you park in a garage, walk to your desk, sit all day with the occasional jaunt to copy room, and then walk back to your car, these shoes are for you.

How I wear them.  These shoes look so cute under pants (black structured pants with a front seam are killer here) that are hemmed such that the front seam falls just inside the pink threads.  They also look great over opaque black tights, but I would not recommend these for under skirts or dresses.  The shoe adds bulk to get comfort which gets immediately overwhelming.  I wear these to work on days when I don’t have to do a lot of walking.  I classify these days as ‘walk in,walk out’ days.  On days when I have seminars in far-off rooms or I’m planning to scan patients, I’ll chose my favorite Dansko clogs, which never tire.

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