Anna Baird is the lovely podiatrist behind Bared Footwear. The brand quashes the idea that comfort and style need be mutually exclusive, creating podiatrist-designed, attractive footwear for men and women. As a woman, and someone with arthritis in my feet, I cannot express enough how awesome this brand is. I was so excited to sit down with Anna over brekkie, to discuss all things Bared.
On behalf of ladies everywhere, THANK YOU SO MUCH for creating Bared! Where did it all begin?
It all began about 12 years ago when I practising as a podiatrist and trying to recommend shoes to my patients. There really was nothing out there that I thought was good for their feet and body that I would actually want to wear myself. One day I Googled ‘last manufactures in Australia’ and from there, started my shoe journey.
In 2008, after spending three years developing my first range, I opened a little store in Toorak. The first five years where really hard (as anyone that starts a business will tell you!) but now Bared is pretty crazy and it has been worth the hard yards.
Women have long lamented the lack of comfortable, functional and attractive footwear options. Why do you think that other shoe brands hadn’t tackled this need like Bared has?
Because it is really hard! Making shoes that are comfortable without becoming a “comfort brand” is not easy. No one wants a shoe that is marketed as “comfortable” – they want to look great and not be in pain. We make shoes that are great looking first, and the fact they they don’t hurt is a bonus. It always surprises me when I deal with shoe factories that they’re not used to customers really caring about the fit. I can sample one shoe style eight times before I get the fit right.
Why is good footwear so important?
Life is too short to be thinking about your feet. We are all about looking great and being able to get on with life’s adventures.
What should people look out for when they’re buying shoes?
Look for shoes that you adore then make sure that they are not going to kill your feet. Shoes that fasten onto the foot in some way are always better for you – straps or buckles or lace-ups, not slides and thongs! Getting the right fit for your foot is really important – our shoes all come with our biomechanical footbed and we can adjust the fit of a lot of our shoes to suit a wide range of foot types.
What are your top three Bared ladies looks for summer? The ones that can take you from a brunch with the girls, to a Christmas soiree in the evening.
I personally love our new point lace up flats or our double monk style shoes. I love that you can wear them with skirts and shorts then pop on a blazer in the evening. And our heels this season are amazing! You really can wear them all day and night and be comfortable and look great.
And for men?
It’s the summer of the loafer. I love a tasselled loafer, they’re great casually with shorts or with chinos. Most men just need a push to give tassels a go.
Speaking of brunch, what are your top three favourite spots for breakfast in Melbourne?
On High Street, Armadale, Moby is one of my favourite breakfast spots, as well as High Society down the road next, next to our store. I just live around the corner so they are both handy with amazing food. My kids love Palate on Greville Street so we often head there as well.
And any favourite dinner haunts?
My favourite restaurant at the moment is Amaru. It have eaten there twice lately and it has blown me away both times. It is contemporary Australian, and because they don’t have to stick to an authentic cuisine it’s all about really interesting flavours. I am a bit obsessed and I can’t stop telling people how great it is.
Last but not least, what’s your vision for Bared? Where do you want it to go?
There is a really exciting gap in the US market in particular that we are just starting to explore.
Anna and I caught up at Moby in Melbourne. Anna enjoyed the chai bircher with chai infused oats, poached pear, mixed berry coulis, and roast pistachios and I had the very tasty oat and chia porridge with coconut, almond, poached rhubarb, and roasted pistachios.