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?’