Don’t confuse Dr. Scholl’s Shoes with Dr. Scholl’s, the footcare company. While the latter is still making orthotics for your grandma, and wart remover for your wife’s uncle, Dr. Scholl’s Shoes is busy designing footwear that appeals to a younger demographic, one that demands style with comfort. Admittedly, that’s a somewhat risky proposition, but from the 80 or so different models currently available on their website, it would seem that they’ve made the wise move of not courting the fickle 13-24 age brackets so much, where celebrity endorsements trump price, comfort, and even quality. Instead, they’re using their strong brand recognition to reach out to consumers that recognize the 100+ year heritage that is Dr. Scholl’s, and enticing them with the promise of comfort and value in a shoe that is both stylish and trendy.
The Strolle is a perfect example. Alternating between a sneaker and a casual shoe, it sports a multi-panel suede upper that has both contrasting textures and stitching. The lighter colored panels have a smooth finish, and fine perforations on the sides, while the darker sections are a somewhat rougher (but not coarse) traditional suede. Its textile lining is durable and soft, while the insole features Dr. Scholl’s Free Step™ technology. (More on that in a bit) Traction is plentiful from the rubber sole that comes up a bit high in the back and wraps around the rounded toe box. Metal eyelets are a nice touch when so many shoes just have some holes punched for the laces.
My choice of footwear for the last several years has been almost exclusively from a certain other “Doc”, who shall remain anonymous at this time. While the leather was ok once broken in, the stiff soles weren’t doing my feet any favors. Slipping on the Strolle, I had an epiphany: we were not meant to wear shoes! Just as quickly, reality set in. We need to wear shoes. But the Free Step™ technology gives us shoes that protect our feet without a rigid structure, offering a near-barefoot experience, without the cuts, scrapes, and nasty germs. It’s a light weight, minimalist shoe that you can roll up and twist quite effortlessly, they’re that flexible. And when you lace them up, they gently conform to your feet, not the other way around. The comfort is amazing.
Equally amazing is their versatility in my wardrobe. I can get away with pairing them with khakis on the rare days I wear them, and they go great with jeans. They don’t look out of place with shorts either, which is good, since other than when I was wearing some other footwear for reviews, or running/biking, these have been my primary shoe. At $70, it’s a great choice that happens to transition easily from the office to a casual walk. If you’re looking for a minimalist shoe that doesn’t look like one, this is it.
Two final observations. First, more than one person has mistaken them for a different brand, due to the logo on the sides that doesn’t even look like a certain stylized “s”. Go figure. Second, the sole has some sort of cat paw motif on the underside, right at the ball of the foot. It seems a bit out of place, but no one is likely to notice. Other than that, it’s like wrapping your feet in expensive luxury, at an every day price. www.drschollsshoes.com