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Road-Testing (Literally) Portable Shoe Alternatives

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Unless you are some chi-chi VIP who gets whisked from place to place in a stretch limousine, there is going to come a point in your big night out when you think your achy throbbing feet won't last another minute in your stylish but sadistic shoes.

Though similar concepts have been around since the 60s, Roll-a-Sole hit it big a few years ago with thin, portable shoes that could be packed in a purse and unfurled in your tootsies' time of need. They spawned shelves of imitators most of which simply took the concept and repacked it slightly. But then, PocketFlops came onto the scene. Again, it's not revolutionary: PocketFlops are flipflops that fold in half and can be whipped out whenever the agony of de-feet becomes unbearable. PocketFlops have been getting a lot of play in the press -- partially because their sturdy build and Havaianas-esque printed footbed makes them seem like a good alternative to normal flipflops.

We decided to put the two to the test:

High heels, tiny bag!

For our experiment, we used a pair of Manolos with a 3" heel and a small Phillip Lim clutch.

Role-a-Soles: We rolled them up as tightly as possible and stuck them in the clutch. They didn't take up too much real estate: we had to bail the wallet, but there was still room in the clutch for a lipstick, phone, ATM card and ID, and a car key. The essentials, right?

After one very strong margarita and a few hours in the heels, we deemed it time to slip into something a little more comfortable. Out came the Roll-a-Soles. Our feet heaved a sigh of relief.

Here is why we were particularly well-suited to conduct this experiment: we hate the concept of paid valet parking. It's like, dude, if we're gonna come in and drop coin in your restaurant or retail establishment, you are getting enough of your money. No can do valet, so we park wherever we can. And on this particular night, it ended up being four long blocks from the restaurant.

For the first couple of blocks, things were fine. But then our soles started to ache. Basically, it felt like we were walking in paper shoes, with the hard hard concrete battering our feet. When crossing the street, we could feel pebbles and bits of glass.
It was marginally a lesser evil than continuing to wear the Manolos.

PocketFlops: Same shoe/bag combo. Oh, snap! It took some work to get the 'Flops into the clutch, and there was no room for anything else. We had to abandon the bag, and upgrade to a small handbag. This time the destination was no place in particular: just wandering around Los Feliz Village, looking for friends and doing a little window shopping. By the time we made it to Hollywood and Hillhurst, we were tired of all the horn-honking and the "Hey baby, how much?" so we elected to change into the PocketFlops.

The sole is actually pretty sturdy. It's of comparable thickness to the soles on Havaianas, and you see people wearing those from dawn till dusk, walking everywhere. We're not the hugest flipflop fans, but these were more than serviceable. We made it back home safely, and our soles weren't too much the worse for wear.

So here's how it all stacks up:

· Roll-a-Soles [Official Site]
· PocketFlops [Official Site]
· All We Did It For Science content [Racked LA]