Disclaimer: I received this product for free in exchange for an honest review. Picture is property of Oliberté.
Oliberté is a fair trade footwear brand that supports worker's rights in Sub-Saharan Africa. Oliberté became the first fair-trade certified footwear.
STYLE: I received the Lalina in Rustic Brown. The style is what originally drew me to the shoe. At a glance, I noticed that this shoe is a combination of style and practical. Some style aspects being the wedge and decorative bands of dots. Some more practical aspects are the durable laces and tough exterior. This overall look of the shoe was something that I found to be unique and innovative. I have never seen this kind of look on a shoe. Because of the shoe's style, this shoe can truly be worn anywhere. Long term fans know that it is truly the little details that count when it comes to fashion and beauty products. The first detail I would like to discuss is the stitching. This shoe has traditional shoe stitching everywhere except for the top of the shoe. At the top, there is an intricate triangular design that is cute and original. Another compelling detail about the shoe are the small dots placed along the sides and top of the shoe. I felt like these really helped to give the shoe a more rustic feel. Near the dots, I noticed the Oliberté logo. Most shoe companies do include their logos somewhere on their products. I really liked how Oliberté kept their logo small and simple. It is a fashion turn-off for me if a company ruins a good product by splattering their logo on it. Oliberté incorporated their logo in a chic and sophisticated way. Because of this, I not only appreciate the shoe, but I also respect the company. Overall, I found the Lalina to exceed my style expectations for boots. I was impressed not only with the small details, but with the shoe as a whole.
COLOR: Like most shoes, the Lalina incorporates many shades of brown. I felt like having a medium brown supported by a light and dark brown really helps bring the shoe together as a whole and helps to match the shoe with other outfits. I was concerned at first with having such a contrast between the medium and light browns, but after having the shoes and wearing them for a couple of days, I have found the stark contrast to be stylish in a way that many other shoes are not. My only recommendation to Lalina wearers is to tie the laces short, not so you don't trip, but because the contrast between the dark brown laces and the light brown wedge is a little too intense. Like I mentioned earlier, the tri-coloring of the shoe really helps to match this outfit to a lot of different outfits. Browns are always such trendy shades for fall, but certain browns look better with certain colors. For example, medium brown looks good with olive-green whereas dark brown pairs nicely with maroon. Because this shoe features a variety of brown shades, I found that this really allowed for this shoe to be paired with all of my favorite fall outfits. Last fall, black boots seemed to be the style. While black is a timeless color, brown boots have really started to kick off. If you are still stuck in 2015 fashion, don't fret, I have an outfit recommendation that highlights the Lalina while staying trendy. I paired my Lalina shoes with an off-white infinity scarf, maroon sweater, and medium wash skinny jeans( dark-wash skinny jeans will also work). I recommend this outfit for all of your upcoming fall festivities. In conclusion, I found the tri-coloring of the Lalina to be compelling, stylish, and cute.
FIT: Ultimately, fit is the most important factor in purchasing a shoe. If you have read reviews of Oliberté in the past, you might have heard that their shoes run a little small. I actually found that their sizing chart was perfect for me. I ordered a size 7 in women's and found that their shoes had enough room without having too much room. I did notice that their shoes were a bit narrow. This was not a problem for me, but this could be a problem for women with wider feet. However, one reason I chose to review this shoe is because of its narrow look. Everyone's personal style is always changing. In the past, I had preferred shoes with a wider appearance. Now, I find narrow shoes to be much more flattering to my appearance. The Lalina shoe is definitely a shoe to purchase if you are interested in revamping your personal style. I found the Lalina to truly be a perfect fit. The shoe is roomy where it needs to be, and tight when room isn't necessary. The Lalina has found this amazing middle ground between tight and loose that many shoes have not.
QUALITY: This shoe really exceeded my expectation in quality. When I purchase a shoe, I know that the shoe has a lifetime of 1-2 years. I do a lot of walking around (outside, in stores, etc) and that really wears down my shoes. Each type of shoe wears and tears a little differently. I have noticed that boots like the Lalina tend to tear or rip along the sole of the shoe. For example, my beloved pair of combat boots completely had the heel fall off. After that, I began to examine the quality of products, especially boots, more closely. I fell in love with the Lalina the moment I took it out of the box. After wearing it around, I thought that the sole was going to fall off or tear in some way. Luckily, the wedge stayed on. and it doesn't look like its going to fall apart anytime soon. As a fashion lover, I own 35 pairs of shoes. Out of all of those shoes, the Lalina is the highest quality shoe I own.
COMFORT: Pre-Lalina, I had noticed that I complained about my feet hurting at least once a day to my friends and family. Long time fans will know that I have serious arch problems that can make even walking painful. Because of this, I really look hard for shoes that provide support and comfort while still staying cute. I know this is a problem that a lot of women face. Many want comfy and cute shoes but find that shoes are only offered at one extreme or the other. It sometimes seems like I have to choose between bland nurses shoes or ten inch high heels. Both of these shoes are impractical for my day-to-day life. I have always wanted a shoe that gives me the best of both worlds. I am looking for the comfort and support of a nurse's shoe with the style of a high heel. The Lalina really found a good middle ground between those extremes. Now of course, no shoe is going to be perfect. I found that the Lalina tends to learn towards the style side of things more than the comfort side. What most impressed me was the arch support that this shoe provided me. I have never found a boot that supported my arched until I encountered the Lalina. I truly think the Lalina lives in an awesome middle ground.
SUMMARY: The Lalina should be on everyone's shopping list. This shoe is handcrafted. Just that fact alone should show consumers the quality of the shoe and the pride that Oliberté has in its shoes. This shoe isn't just any old shoe fresh off the factory line. This shoe is as individual as its wearer. The most impressive part about this shoe was definitely the style and color. Brown is *the* color for Fall 2016. The Lalina offers brown, but with some unique style options. For those who liked the fit, quality, and comfort aspects of the shoe, but were not really interested in the style or color aspects, I recommend checking out Oliberté's full line of women's shoes. There is definitely something there that fits your unique personal style.