Travel Shoe Review: Are Cole Haans Like Walking On Air?

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I’ve heard a lot about Cole Haan heels constructed with Nike Air technology, but never could justify the purchase price without knowing if they were worth the hype. A few months ago though I took advantage of a really good sale on their website to pick up two pairs at 50% off the sale price –the Chelsea Pump for $80 and the Mariela Air Open Toe Pump for $35.

Cole Haan Chelsea Pump brown

The Chelsea pump I was pretty unimpressed with. The toe box was a little tight and I wasn’t really feeling the benefits of running shoe technology any more than any of my comfortable heels. In this respect it was much like the Rockport Presia pump I tried earlier this year. Good, but nothing remarkable, and certainly not worth spending big bucks for.

cole haan mariela open toe pump review

The Mariela Air Open Toe Pump I only recently tried. I wore it a few days to work and found it pretty comfortable. The real test would be wearing them to the airport and on a long flight. So ambitiously (and potentially fool hardily) I wore them on the start of my vacation to South Korea, Malaysia, and Thailand.

Keri Korean Airlines IAD check in

And I loved them! They have amazing lines, better than the online pictures depict. And the 4.25” heel looks really stunning, and is easy to walk in since the 1” platform brings them down to a more manageable 3” heel. The heel, though slender, is wide enough I didn’t have issues with escalators. And the footbed felt incredibly padded.

The few cons:

  • While I definitely felt comfortable walking very fast and occasionally trotting cross the street, the heel/platform combo is just high enough I wouldn’t feel confident actually having to run for a flight.
  • After 14 hours in flight, I had a little difficulty cramming my swollen feet back into them. Mostly in the toe area where the side of the open toe hit my big toe rather painfully. After about 30 minutes in motion, this went away. Definitely interested in trying to the closed toe version if it exists.
  • They are perfectly comfortable to wear for 10+ hours and I had no problem with long walks through the airport, down the street, etc, but they’re not made for all day site-seeing and hilly terrain unlike my favorite Nine West Rocha Pumps or Teva Cabrillo wedges.

For a business travel shoe I heartily recommend the Marielas as worth the price! For leisure travel, they’re just impractical enough…


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