Shoes that Make Sense: Cole Haan Collaborates with Olivia Kim and Jen Brill

“Sensible shoes,” as they are so often called, are not usually fashionable shoes. That’s probably because they usually aren’t designed by a team of famously fashionable people. When Cole Haan enlisted Jen Brill and Opening Ceremony’s Olivia Kim to design their forthcoming Chelsea collection, they turned out a set of soles meant for this uncharted territory. The three shoes—an ankle-strap pump, a sandal, and a tassel boot—pack embedded micro-cushioning and a memory-foam sock bed disguised by colorful combinations of purple, green, and orange. There also are quieter options in navy, burgundy, and gray.

The collaboration’s real functionality—not to be sensible, but to disguise the fact that they are—lies in the subtle details of the design, with shortened lasts and exaggerated down curves. “The styles needed to be the perfect complement to any situation, any time of day, but with the ‘wow’ factor reaction,” explains Brill. “Like, ‘Wow! Those shoes are awesome!'” That makes sense to us.

The Cole Haan Fall 2012 Chelsea Pump collection will be available at Cole Haan in SoHo, Opening ceremony in New York and LA, London, and other retailers globally starting September 10.