I have a pair of casual Steve Madden shoes. I have no idea who Steve Madden is, but I guess he is one of those brands that have a suddenly large commercial presence in the last decade (i.e., Coach) and make reasonably priced “designer” goods. I have a pair of shoes by him, and they suck. I think I bought them at Century 21 for $60 (so it’s not like I bought a pair of $20 shoes from Walmart, nor do I expect high quality shoes).

These shoes have some special coating (you can feel it) on the laces whose only purpose is to prevent knots from sticking. I’ve tried tying reef knots and granny knots but after say a 100 steps, they will unravel. I have to resort to tying two knots in order to keep them together, but even then they slowly unravel after a week of usage.

Secondly, the soles of the shoes are very thin. If you’re walking on cold concrete in the winter, you feel like you’re walking barefoot. If you’re walking on gravel, good luck. Needless to say, they are quite uncomfortable – and you’ll need to invest in insoles to wear these shoes.

I’m not too fancy about my footwear as long as it serves its purpose, especially since they are casual. But if the shoes are uncomfortable and bothersome, I think they are definitely poorly designed!