Charlie Stone Shoes made a name for themselves by designing glamorous, high quality flat shoes. As their popularity has grown, they moved into also producing heels and handbags. They produce a new themed range each season, with their special edition spring/summer range this year inspired by the art nouveau architecture of the city of Porto, with a nod to the magical world of a certain famous boy wizard. For Autumn/winter 2021, the theme is Home for the Holidays, a representation of the hope we feel for reuniting with our families this coming ’21 holiday season with a Charlie Stone family reunion of their own, re-releasing some of their past bestsellers and reimagining a few others. When I saw that their much loved Champagne Manhattan flats would be re-released I knew I would be making an order, as I deeply regretted not snagging a pair the first time around. Well, I can you tell you one thing for sure, they’ve certainly lived up to my high hopes!
Since developing Plantar Fasciitis in my left foot in 2018, I’ve switched from a very-high-heels-wearer in my social life to an almost exclusively flats-wearer. For the most part this hasn’t been a trying change, as casual outfits (even vintage styled ones,) look great with flats. But for special occasions, when my dresses are truly glamorous, it always feels a bit disheartening for me to have to decide between wearing modest heels, which might still make my mostly-healed foot protest after an hour or so of wear, or opt for flats right from the start, knowing I don’t own any that felt special and chic enough to finish off a Hollywood glam outfit in style. With Charlie Stone, however, such calculations are no longer necessary, as they offer styles that work beautifully with vintage-casual as well as styles poised to offer superlative glamour. And what are these Manhattan flats, if not superlative glamour?
Designed as an ode to the elegance and opulence of the 1920s, the Manhattan flats feature a closed toe with curved overlapped layering on the vamp that create 5 small cut-outs, resulting in a delicate peekaboo design. The heel boasts a vertical lined design that reminds me both of the painting of Venus in a half shell and also of some of my favourite aspects of Art Deco design and architecture. The ankle straps ends in Charlie Stone’s quick release buckle, a design feature that I–and I’m sure many other ladies–dearly appreciate.
Every time I get dressed I leave my shoes til last, which might not sound so silly but once a swing dress and its accompanying petticoats has been donned, suddenly reaching down to do up the buckle on a pair of shoes becomes much harder than one would ever expect. And if I’m wearing a corset to achieve a true vintage cinched-waist silhouette? Forget it, my left outer ankle will never even feel my touch, let alone the precision necessary to poke a tiny metal spike through the inevitably-moving target of an ankle strap as I twist and strain. Game over.
But no, with this quick release buckle such antics are forgotten. Instead, the buckle is already buckled, so to speak, and instead the only motion required is to slide it behind the metal hook that then keeps it in place. It’s far easier and–as the name suggests–quicker, and all their shoes now have this feature. Life saver!
The other feature their flats all share is the fact that they’re not actually flat–as expected, there is a small heel on the outer shoe, just 10mm, pretty standard for flats, but additionally there is an internal elevated heel that lifts the foot to a more supportive angle. Those with dropped arches or a history of foot injuries will tell you that true flats aren’t actually the most comfortable or supportive heel height for one’s foot, so this gentle lift in the heel offers my never-been-quite-the-same left foot a level of comfort that high street flats just don’t. The insole is cushioned, and the sparkly upper is made of a fine coarse glitter that twinkles and shimmers without shedding glitter particles everywhere.
Charlie Stone Shoes are made in the European sizing grade, but they also offer their own grading scale to help you determine which shoes are best for you, and in what size. The Manhattan flats are classed as grade 2, which means they run slightly larger by a quarter to half a size, but they’re also advised as being best for narrow to regular width feet. I haven’t had my feet measured since I was last buying school shoes, sooo… 19 years ago? (Jesus Christ!) I measured my feet at home just to be sure, confirming they’re a size 40, but I know my feet are a little wide in the in-step and that narrow toe caps can trigger discomfort in my left foot, so I decided to order up a size into the 41 as I suspected that would work better for my personal needs. I was totally right, as that little bit of ease is much better for me personally and now I know I can wear the Manhattans comfortably all day without any pinching or triggered aching. Huzzah for fabulous shoes that don’t hurt our feet!
The Manhattan Champagne flats come in sizes 35-42, and Charlie Stone Shoes ship worldwide.
Disclaimer: The shoes featured in this review were bought with a discount as part of an influencer program. All opinions expressed are truthful and my own, with no input from any of the companies listed or any other individuals.