(Off the) Street Style: Naya Shoes and Stripes Galore

Eco Chick Editor Starre Vartan in her Naya shoes on the Columbia University campus in NYC.

Naya’s tagline is “Renewing Body, Spirit, Earth” but that’s not even the best thing about them – They’re actually incredibly comfortable too. And I should know; even though I’m a blogger, I hardly spend my whole day on my butt behind my laptop. As I’m based in NYC, I spend a good portion of my waking hours walking the city streets, not to mention up and down the stairs to the subway, and I teach too, so I’m often standing for an hour while lecturing. I think nothing of walking 20 or 30 blocks on a whim, (listening to Bob Marley, Florence + The Machine, or Johnny Flynn) as I’m working through a new creative idea or thorny problem. I LOVE to walk, and think, and dream, all at the same time.

Also, I like wearing heels.

And there’s the rub. Literally. I’m not a sneaker-kinda-girl, except when I’m actually out running (and sometimes not even then), and flats are just too flat, uncomfortable in another way. So I rotate my heels and platforms, always keep bandaids handy in my bag, and am lucky enough to have a boyfriend who likes giving footrubs.


And then Naya sent me a pair of their adorable half-heels (that’s what I call mid-height raise on these Tawnys). And I’ve been walking, chafe-free, comfortably, chicly, for weeks now. I haven’t written about them until now because there is one final test the perfect show must pass, and that’s durability. And these Naya’s are worn it while still looking new as can be (I took the pictures you see here after a month of wearing them 3-4 times a week).

Shown here is just one of the ways I wore the Nayas recently, a stripes on stripes ensemble, with a Carol Young Undesigned shrug/scarf (made from deadstock fabric), a blue and white striped dress and elephant belt from Anthropologie (not eco, but I’m wearing the dickens out of both of them!), my grandma’s vintage earrings, a Dirty Librarian Chains ring made from repurposed chains, and a bamboo ring from Verde Rocks. Toe polish is the toxin-free (and tough) No Miss in Tampa Teal.

Love the pretty lining on my Nayas; those little details make the shoes fun to wear and feel like a secret between the shoe and me.

Their details are lovely, like the fun lining shown above, and all the hardware is tough and staying put; the heel is barely worn, and veggie-tanned leather looks just as good as when they came out of a box, despite a couple of summer rainstorms.

Tawny 48851020
The Naya Tawny shoe in taupe; mine is a lovely red color.

Here’s a breakdown of Naya’s eco cred which is pretty impressive:

• Vegetable-tanned leathers and linings
• Natural or recycled content fabrics
• Water-based cements
• Footbeds containing natural cork
• Outsoles containing natural materials
• Boxes made with 80% recycled paper pulp, soy-based inks and water-based glue
• Reusable shoe bags and shoe forms made with recycled PET

A lovely lineup of the Maize line of shoes by Naya.

I don’t know if it’s the natural cork, or the layers of softness in the footbed, but these puppies are so comfortable I almost can’t believe it. And yep, I’m walking miles of happiness instead of using Zen-like techiques to pretend that my feet don’t hurt as much as they actually do (yes, I actually do this…in my other shoes!).

Starre Vartan is founder and editor-in-chief of Eco-Chick.com and the author of the Eco-Chick Guide to Life. She's also a freelance science and environment writer who has published in National Geographic, CNN, Scientific American, Mental Floss, Pacific Standard, the NRDC, and many more. She lives on an island in Puget Sound with her partner and black cat. She was a geologist in her first career, and still picks up rocks wherever she goes.