French women know it's not necessary to sacrifice style for comfort. They also know that for the right reasons (meaning men are probably somehow involved in the sacrifice) a little discomfort in the name of style is not such a bad thing either.
Case in point: tennis shoes. Pa-leese tell me why women and yes, women of all ages, wear tennis shoes with street clothes and then try to explain the aberration with the excuse that they're soooo comfortable and it doesn't matter what other people think. Well of course it matters. You're out there advertising your brand. Do you really want your public to think you have coordinated a stunning facade, makeup included, that finishes off with a pair of big, ugly white accessories that scream: "I know I look like a fool, but I have a pair of Manolos in my tote"? Who cares? It's too late, you've already potentially ruined your reputation.
Here's what they know that we don't: Looking good is our best revenge.
It's fighting the good fight. Apart from the morale boost it gives us to get up, get dressed and get out there we're giving pleasure to everyone who sees us. Isn't that a charming little cadeau to offer the world?
Back to basics: French women's solutions to nasty tennis shoes include moccasins and ballerinas, which we usually call "flats". You see, no compromise involved. It's a win-win.
(Pictured are golden ballerinas from Repetto, the too adorable for words Roger Vivier flats -- I would kill to have a collection of them -- and a classic go-with-everything patent leather Todd moccasin.)