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Sandals inspired by bridles

New luxury footwear brand gives fresh meaning to the term “well-shod.”

By Molly Knott

No hoof, no horse, as the saying goes. But when it comes to our own feet, do equestrians too often opt for fashion at the expense of function? New footwear brand Katharine Page is out to prove we can have both.

Searching for the perfect après-ride sandal, amateur hunter rider Page looked to her own well-stocked closet of favorite designer styles, but all came up short in what the former auto executive might call the “comfort quotient.”

“We’re talking every range – from high-end designers to name brand retailers. None of them had the right feel,” says Page.

As we all know, the motivation of a woman searching for the perfect shoe is second only to one shopping for the perfect horse. And of that fierce desire, Katharine Page the brand was born.

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The vision was clear and is articulated artfully in the brand’s first collection: luxury-quality, comfortable footwear made of the finest leathers and handcrafted to last a lifetime, reflecting the tradition, beauty, and craftsmanship of equestrian leatherwork.

Katharine Page launched with seven instant-classic sandal styles whose names reflect iconic locales of elite hunter/jumper circuit –the “see and be seen” glitz of Palm Beach, for example, or the “beachy” cool of Del Mar. “My customers see themselves reflected in the various styles and the shows that inspired them,” Page notes.

And like the evolving world of horse sport itself, Katharine Page sandals represent a graceful combination of tradition and innovation. Designed in the US and handcrafted at a small factory in Portugal, each sandal features the signature white stitching that is so essentially and distinctively equestrian.

Portuguese leather is tanned in the ancient oak-bark method while a high-tech poron footbed provides the bounce and support Page sought in a sandal style. These same features will carry through to Katharine Page’s soon to be launched 2014 collection, including new sandal styles and a ballet flat.

So while a horse may forever reign as the ultimate accessory, shoes are quickly ascending beyond apparel in the luxury market, namely for their versatility. And like a mount that can compete in any ring, Katharine Page sandals are as at home with skinnies or wide leg casual trousers as with shorts, sheaths, and the essential summer maxi dress – from Palm Beach to Del Mar… and beyond.

Molly Knott is the founder and editor of the lifestyle blog, Dappled Grey, a curated guide to equestrian style and culture. When not working on the blog, she can be found doting on her warmblood, Fitch, and maintaining her small farm in the Pacific Northwest.

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