Bien dans mes baskets

Mes basketsWhat we call trainers, sneakers or running shoes, the French call ‘baskets’ or ‘tennis’.

Whatever you call them, I love my running shoes. I just feel good or, ‘bien dans mes baskets’, as the saying goes, whenever I wear them. Unfortunately, here in the land of Coco Chanel, that is not as often as I would like.

With a few notable exceptions, ranging from hipsters in vintage Adidas to a certain strata of society most often found at the local café-bar, French people just do not wear running shoes. Unless they are actually engaged in some form of exercise.

IMG_3905Alas, even sporty types like me can’t always get away without a bit of a heel. This is as high as I get (shoe-wise).

Since leaving the corporate world for the freelance life, I have turned my aversion for heels into an official wardrobe policy. But in case you’re imagining me lounging in my bathrobe all day, let me reassure you: I do get dressed in some form of meet-the-world apparel before going to work in my home office each morning. My footwear, however, remains informal.

I have now acquired quite the collection of what I consider stylish flat shoes (French women may consider that an oxymoron). Let me share with you some of my favorites.

Boots by Arche

When I first came to France I fell in love with the sleek, space-age shoes from Arche. I only have one old pair now, but I still wear them when I want to feel like a character out of Star Trek.




Then there is Mephisto, another French brand. I love these shoes, “Hand-made by master shoemakers”. They are not the most beautiful or fashionable style-wise but they are incredibly comfortable. I’ve been wearing these sandals for three summers now.

Mephisto sandals








While in Berlin last year I discovered these shoes called Nimble Toes. I fell in love with them and bought two pairs. They are cute and comfortable but I must admit, they do make me feel a bit like I have clown feet.

Nimble Toes







These ones are my go-to shoes for around the house. Josef Seibel. I think they’re also German.

Josef Siebel








I have a longstanding love of the Birkenstock and other shoes bordering on the orthopedic. This was one thing that my Belle-mère, who was very accepting of my foreign ways, could not understand. She was slim of ankle and always wore elegant shoes, putting beauty before comfort – a true Française. My daughter, who has no aversion to heights, may have inherited this gene.

What are your favorite shoes? Are you ‘bien dans tes baskets?’


  1. davidprosser · August 20, 2015

    My favourite shoes are a pair of Brakeburn with brothel creeper soles. So comfortable to wear and currently the only shoes I can get on my left foot so badly is it swollen.Naturally they don’t make these any more but a couple of weeks ago I got a pair of casuals to use as slippers and last night I found a very similar style in the same make on ebay.They go great with jeans.
    xxx Huge Hugs Mel xxx

    • MELewis · August 20, 2015

      ‘Brothel creeper soles’? Never heard this expression before, but it certainly speaks for itself! I guess that describes the kind of stealth sole that I enjoy – makes me feel light of spirit compared to the business-like clip-clop of the hard heel. Glad you found something comfy yet chic to wear with your skinny jeans – and I do hope that foot gets better soon! Bises xo

  2. Stefan · August 20, 2015

    Trying to compete with imelda marcos (

    • MELewis · August 20, 2015

      Ha, ha….you should be glad my tastes don’t run to Louboutins! 😛

  3. cheergerm · August 20, 2015

    Ah, shoes, my love of them resides deep in my sole, ummm, soul. Those Star Trek boots are mad. Style and colour, wolf whistle. Good on you waking the path less travelled in comfortable shoes. I love heels but have great trouble walking in them and save them for rare going out at night occasions. I adore boots with flatter heels, varying ballet flats, sandals and wedges. As well as runners, both hipster style and running style. And my ugg boots but only at home. 😁

    • MELewis · August 20, 2015

      Ha, ha…I saw a joke online somewhere about Uggs being a great form of birth control. 😉 ‘Let’s talk shoes’ was always a fave theme with my Mom and her friends. Seems the more things change…

  4. Pat · August 21, 2015

    As I have such difficult to fit feet (7 1/2 AAAA heel), shoe shopping is a major ordeal so trainers/running shoes are the easy solution for me. When I was much younger, I could wear high heels but now….fugget about it. Only for weddings and funerals and for a limited time at that!

    • MELewis · August 21, 2015

      Wow, fitting a heel that narrow must be challenging. How do you manage to keep your balance? Sounds like you’re better off closer to terra firma, Pat. Comme moi! 😉

  5. Elyse · August 21, 2015

    Shoes!!!!! …..So beautiful to look at, so painful to wear. While 3-inchers are dreamy (I just bought a pair of caged stiletto sandals), they’re just too risky at my age. I admire your Belle-mere, Mel. Guess, I’ve lowered my standards when it comes to heels. Hugs, Eee

    • MELewis · August 21, 2015

      And yet I remember you cutting a rug on some pretty high heels back in the day, Eee dear. I do think it’s only right that our standards adjust as we age. But as you see, I’m still ‘Patricia Nixon fat ankles!’

  6. Kat · August 21, 2015

    My favourites are ballerinas and shoes with kitten heels because comfort is my no. 1 priority. I have no clue how to walk like a model in 5-inch heels!

    • MELewis · August 21, 2015

      Ha, ha….I would also definitely need lessons to pull off the model walk! I love ballerinas but sometimes too flat a heel hurts my arches. And I’m with you all the way on comfort!

  7. peakperspective · August 23, 2015

    Definitely a flip flops kind of a girl, although all winter long I tend to trudge around in my Wellington boots. Yeah–those guys or barefoot.

    • MELewis · August 24, 2015

      So it’s one extreme or the other? Hmm….somehow I not surprised, Shelley! I can’t wear flip flops to walk any further than the backyard though I love going barefoot.

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