What makes a Healthy Shoe?

Posted on May 23, 2016 in The Buzz |

Livie and Luca’s Joyful Foot Philosophy is that our shoes should be lightweightflexiblefunctional, breathable, have plenty of wiggle room and just the right amount of whimsical detail to captivate you and your little one.

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What’s behind this philosophy? We know these things innately, having watched our children and realizing what works and what doesn’t about a shoe. Just like us, if a shoe isn’t comfortable or doesn’t feel right, it’s not staying on. We all know that the right shoe for our child is one that feels like an extension of their foot and one that slips on without a tantrum by the front door! And just like us, the shoe has to be pleasing to the eyes to fully win our hearts.
But what do the experts say?

Breathable and flexible…

The American Orthopedic Foot and Ankle Society says that “Shoes for toddlers, age 9 months to 3 years, should allow the foot to breathe since their feet perspire a great amount. Avoid synthetic materials that don’t breathe.” That’s why Livie & Luca uses high-quality genuine leather that allows that breathability as well as flexibility and durability.

Wiggle Room….

“Seventy percent of children wear shoes with D and E widths. Most boys wear E width and most girls wear D width. You should examine the depth of the shoe to make sure the top of the shoe doesn’t press on the toes or the toenails. Look for shoes with rounded toe boxes to give the toes more room for movement,” advises the AOFAS. We design nice wide shoes for kids with a rounded toe box that provides plenty of wiggle room.

Functional…

Shoes should be comfortable from the moment they are tried on. Livie & Luca’s shoes are flexible and functional from the get go. “If new shoes need to be “broken in,” it means either they were not properly designed or not properly fitted for your child’s foot,” says the AOFAS. “Poorly fitting children’s shoes can cause toe problems, ingrown toenails, hammer toes, calluses and bunions.” No thank you!

Lightweight…

The experts also say a lightweight shoe is key because children use a lot of energy walking at this age. Again, we want our shoes to feel like a natural extension of the feet. The best toddler shoes are lightweight, not clunky and chunky.

Ruche in Vintage Brown, Rose, Pearl, and White

Ruche in Vintage Brown, Rose, Pearl, and White

We know the term “orthopedic shoes” conjures up some not-so stylish images but healthy foot development is so important to us that we’re proud to say we make stylish orthopedic shoes for kids! We take pride in the fact that we design beautiful kids dress shoes that your little one does not want to kick off as soon as the wedding is over or baby walking shoes that delight while still mimicking barefoot movement.

So rest easy knowing that we’ve got the health and comfort covered, as well as the cute!

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Flying Kites in Shanghai

Posted on May 16, 2016 in The Buzz |

From the desk of co-founder Amie Garcia:

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© Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography

Jet lag kept me from sleeping in China, so at 6am, I decided to go for a run along the boardwalk in Shanghai. From a distance I saw kites in the sky, and I thought, “Oh, how sweet…parents flying kites with their kids before school starts.”

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© Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography

As I approached, I realized it wasn’t children, but older gentlemen flying home-made kites. What a delight it was to witness these men enjoying one of life’s simple pleasures. #joyfulessence

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© Mark Krajnak | JerseyStyle Photography

P.S. I kicked myself for not bringing my phone to snap some pics, but thankfully there are many wonderful photographers to help capture this joyful moment.

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Van Gogh, I Feel You…

Posted on Apr 26, 2016 in The Buzz |

From the desk of co-founder Mitzi Rivas:

You know that feeling when you are unexpectedly touched by something? Well last week I was standing in a gallery at the Art Institute of Chicago gazing at Van Gogh’s paintings of his bedrooms, and to my surprise, I was profoundly moved. I had known a few things about Van Gogh – that he was eccentric and suffered from mental illness – but this exhibition, Van Gogh’s Bedrooms, gave me insight into his lifelong search for “home” and how he expressed that in his paintings. He moved over 30 times trying to satisfy his longing and then finally, in 1888, he found it: his beloved Yellow House in Arles, France.

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For the first five years of Livie & Luca, I designed from my own home and I understand that human desire to have one’s own space of comfort and also the possibility of nurturing creativity within that space.  What I felt from the painting of his yellow chair was not only the peace this place brought him but the importance of celebrating the things of daily life.

I happen to love the art of people sleeping in beds, quiet celebrations of every day living.  How Van Gogh drew attention to the basic components of our daily life  - a bed, a chair, a pair of worn shoes – made me think about where Livie & Luca started.

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We are known for our whimsy and bright color but really we began with the idea of making a shoe that is as functional as possible. We thought and still think about where a shoe will be worn and how it would best suit the playground, the sidewalk, or climbing structure, how it would best serve the day-to-day movements of a child. These paintings touched me because real life is the place from which I design. Of course, like Van Gogh’s paintings, we want to make a shoe colorful and beautiful and to decorate what is at its core, a design of function.

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Being with this work made me feel like I had stepped into Van Gogh’s bedroom- into his psyche and that was both an honor and an inspiration.

Thank you dear Van Gogh,
XO, Mitzi

 

 

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Livie & Luca Joyful Foot Philosophy

Posted on Mar 31, 2016 in The Buzz |

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From the desk of co-founder Amie Garcia:

One thing you should know about me is that I never would have imagined I’d be in the retail or fashion business. I used to pride myself on thrift store finds, hand-me-down Levi’s and re-corking my Birkenstocks rather than buying a new pair. In fact, the supremely comfortable Birkenstocks have been ever present in my life because they helped me get through years of painful plantar fasciitis. And for this reason, I knew that Livie & Luca shoe designs had to be not only heart-tuggingly adorable but perfect for the healthy foot development of a child.

So, because it’s an integral part of our philosophy, I wanted to take some time to talk about how we keep your children’s feet healthy and happy.

One of the main reasons kids choose to wear Livie & Luca shoes is because they feel so good. The shoes feel good because our designs ensure that your little one’s feet are being cared for properly.

We believe that the foot should be allowed to develop naturally and that the best way to do that is with shoes that are lightweight, flexible and roomy. This allows the foot to bend, move and grow without restriction.

TOES NEED ROOM TO WIGGLE
We know that the first few years of a child’s life are a time of tremendous growth and a critical stage in foot development. Babies’ toes need room to wiggle and explore – this is why Livie & Luca shoes have a roomy toe box.

LIGHTWEIGHT FLEXIBLE SOLES
Not only is it vital to give those toes room to move around, it’s key to have a sole that’s both flexible and lightweight. Our shoes are known for these two wonderful qualities and we work hard to choose the right density soles that will best provide this. Those little feet need to be able to flex to their heart’s desire!

GENUINE LEATHER IS BEST FOR FEET
Our baby shoes are made of soft supple leather and serve to provide basic protection while allowing the foot to move and grow.  Shoes shouldn’t need to be “broken in”. They should be comfortable from the moment your child puts them on. We love leather because it’s flexible, durable and breathable too! Knowing how active kids can be, we want to provide an environment for the foot to breathe and the humidity to escape. Natural materials, such as leather, are best for this.

It’s a tall order – we need our shoes to be seriously cute, comfortable and healthy – and I think we’ve managed to pull it off.  Knowing that we’re making a product that is good for our children (and knowing our shoes are durable enough to be passed along to others!) reminds that Birkenstock and used-Levi-wearing gal, who’s still a part of me, that we’re doing the right thing.

Xo
Amie

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Happy Holidays, Solemates!

Posted on Dec 25, 2015 in The Buzz |

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Dear Solemates,

As we wrap up this year, we’ve been doing much thinking about Livie & Luca’s roots. After ten years of growth and evolution, we feel that the essence of Livie & Luca is still very much the same as when we were selling our first shoes out of the trunks of our cars. When we began, most important to us was giving, whimsy, random acts of kindness, celebrating the little things….We wanted to make a wonderfully flexible shoe that was bold and colorful, a shoe that told a story, a shoe that celebrated the beauty of detail. None of that has changed.

Over the past few weeks we’ve had the chance to talk with a few loyal customers from around the nation to find out what they love about Livie & Luca.  What we heard over and over again was they appreciate how we aren’t scared to go against the grain a little and that we design from the heart, as real people and for real people.

As we move into the New Year we continue to make it our priority to connect and know you. We want to know what makes you tick, what stories you hold, what your hopes are. We want the heart we put into our shoes to be felt by each one of you, for our shoes to become woven into the quilt of your lives.  We cherish being a part of your memories and your children’s.

So, dear Solemates, know that we will not forget our roots and what made our very first pair of shoes so magical. We will always be that local brand, have that personal touch, and honor the little things that bring us and our community joy.

Here’s to sweet packages of delight and joyful surprises in the new year—

Happy Holidays!

Mitzi & Amie

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A beautiful weekend to #spreadjoy!

Posted on Nov 10, 2015 in The Buzz |

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A few weeks ago, Livie & Luca participated in our third playground build! Over the past three years, we have dedicated our time, and 10% of your purchases at livieandluca.com, to helping rebuild parks in Richmond, CA. This year we were involved in a major renovation of John F. Kennedy Park. Our team led a beautiful paint project that turned unused asphalt into a colorful mural of leaves, streams, and flowers. Community members and volunteers came out to help paint and add their own personal touches to the revived play area.

Paint Project Before

Paint Project Before

 

Paint Project After

Paint Project After

Your purchases also allowed us to give two really special gifts to the park: 28 much needed trees to provide shade in the seven acre park AND a highly requested bike pump track for people of all ages!

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It was wonderful to spend time with the John F. Kennedy Park neighbors and we couldn’t have been happier to have the annual playground build tradition continue. Seeing the community come together and proudly contribute to such an uplifting project for their community was truly inspirational. Bonus: When our team stopped by the park this week the bike pump track was filled with kids!

Thanks for helping us make a difference, Solemates!

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Petals for a Playground

Posted on Jun 16, 2014 in The Buzz |

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At Livie & Luca we are strong believers in the importance of play.  We feel it should be a basic right for children to have access to safe and stimulating play spaces no matter where they live.  The biggest way we can make an impact is by focusing in on communities where the investment of our time, money, and ourselves will make a difference.

Last year we built a playground near the Iron Triangle in a struggling neighborhood of Richmond, California.  You’ll now see members of this community sitting on park benches under the new trees watching their children climbing, swinging, playing soccer, and skateboarding.  A recent neighborhood report has shown crimes rates in the surrounding buildings have fallen by 20%.  It was such an honor to work alongside the City of Richmond, and the community, in this revitalization effort.

We realize our work in Richmond is not done and we would like to continue our mission to foster play by building another playground in the area.  The City of Richmond partnered with us to locate the community of Parchester Village, just outside the city of Richmond, because it was a place we felt could be most impacted by our efforts.

Parchester is a predominantly African American community that was built in 1949 as the first residential development in Richmond after WWII temporary housing was torn down.  At first glance, Parchester feels like a place that’s been forgotten, with its high crime rate, potholed streets, and barred windows, but underneath there is a richness of spirit and memory in the long-time residents.

We’ve gotten to know a few of the locals who talk with great pride about the vibrant and safe town Parchester used to be, and their efforts to keep its heart beating.  A local minister speaks of how they used to fish and swim at Breuner Marsh with the feeling of safety and freedom.  A woman who currently runs the only community garden in Parchester also drives around the neighborhood with her husband to offer free lawn mowing services to its residents.  They, and others, believe that a beautiful park and playground can bring people out of their houses again and encourage the rebuilding of that energized and happy community they once knew.

As with the last playground, we’ll have a Design Day where the entire community can give input on what they would most like to see at their park.  So far, a pleasant area to picnic, tether ball courts (tether ball used to be a big deal in this community!), and dugouts for the current baseball field are on the list.  We also plan on making the park a place for people of all ages, equipped with many types of sensory experiences.

When you buy a pair of these early release, multicolored Petals, you will help to bring hope and joy to the residents of Parchester.  100% of the proceeds will be used to fund this playground build.  Let’s build another playground!

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