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In His Shoes: Todd Babiak

5-minute read

Who’s walking around in Poppy Barley shoes? Here, we spend 5 minutes with our customers to find out who they are and what they do.


Todd Babiak




Director of Story Engine (and novelist)


Vancouver Chukka in Navy Blue, size 9-ish

In His Shoes: Todd Babiak, a Poppy Barley customer, shares a little about his life and his experience with Poppy Barley

Describe your typical work day.

I get up early, eat granola and read the paper and drink coffee, and begin working on fiction. Sometimes it’s a novel, sometimes it’s a screenplay, sometimes it’s a non-fiction project. When my daughters wake up I goof off with them. Then I become a businessperson and citizen. Sometimes this involves travel.

What's your creative process like? (How does one write a novel?)

I try to walk whenever I can, without looking at my phone. This is the best way to find and refine ideas — just walking and thinking. Poppy Barley plays a part in this, obviously. Then I just sweat it out in my basement: writing and rewriting, failing more than succeeding. I try not to fall into despair.

Who is the most interesting person that you've interviewed?

I spent a really strange 90 minutes with Matthew McConaughey.

What's the last thing you Googled?

Matthew McConaughey. I didn’t want to spell his name incorrectly.

What publications have you written for?

The Globe and Mail and the Postmedia papers, mostly. Some magazines.

What are you working on right now?

The sequel to my novel, “Come Barbarians” will come out in March, 2016. I’m finishing that and working on book three. I’m co-writing a screenplay called “The Great One” and finishing a non-fiction book about the way our company works. It’s called “The Master Story: How Narrative Thinking Powers the Most Successful Brands, People, and Places.” That’s all in my spare time. I’m usually working with our beloved Story Engine clients and projects.

What are you most proud of?

My daughters.

What's been your experience with Poppy Barley so far?

I love the shoes, of course. My Vancouver Chukkas fit beautifully and they look terrific. I get compliments on them all the time. They’re better than me, frankly. I try not to wear them too often, because I don’t want to wear them out. The Poppy Barley people I’ve met are uniformly wonderful and attractive — especially Daelan. I’d love to visit the workshop in Léon.

In His Shoes: Todd Babiak, a Poppy Barley customer, shares a little about his life and his experience with Poppy Barley

You wear great socks. Why do you care about wearing good socks, and why do you care about wearing even better shoes?

Men don’t have as many options as women, for playfulness. We can’t express our personalities as fully. Socks and shoes are ways to say, “I try. I care. I will die someday so why not delight myself in small ways why I am here?” Also, maybe people will find my foot-coverings attractive if my face and accomplishments don’t do it.

In just a few words, how would you describe your style?

Business imaginative.

You have two daughters (nine and seven). How has becoming a dad changed your style?

I am colourblind and they love being my surrogate eyes. They’re both keenly interested in fashion, and I trust their opinions. Sometimes they dress me up as an idiot just to see what happens.

When you travel to the Rocky Mountains (we shot our Fall 2015 Collection in the Rocky Mountains), what's your favourite place to stay?

The Jasper Park Lodge, by a mile.

What's one thing on your mind that you really want to talk about right now?

I like to travel. When I am in a country that is not this one, it disappoints me when people talk about Canada. We’ve lost something profound and important in recent years, and I think of it now that we are in the middle of an election campaign. Of course, “international reputation” is never an election issue. Now I’m depressed.


If you could turn into any animal for a day, what would you pick? What would you do?

I’d like to be a bonobo for a day. I’d have sex for 24 hours, to see what that’s all about.

If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be? Why?

Jedi mind trick. I would do naughty and nice things.

If you were going to lose one sense, what would you be willing to give up? Why?

I had to Google the five senses to remember “taste,” so I guess that one. I would have to use my memory to enjoy food.

If you could walk in anybody's shoes for a day, who would it be?

The Pope. What shoes! And I would say some really amazing things as Pope-for-a-day.

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The Harley Heeled Sandal Ankle Size Guide

How To Measure:
The Harley Heeled Sandal: Take a tape measure and wrap it around your foot, right below your ankle bone as that is where the strap will sit (see product imagery and fit video for a visual demonstration). This measurement is based on the last adjustment point on the strap.

Size Strap length will accommodate an ankle measurement up to the size below
5 26 cm
5.5 26.5 cm
6 27 cm
6.5 27 cm
7 27.5 cm
7.5 27.5 cm
8 28 cm
8.5 28 cm
9 28 cm
9.5 28.5 cm
10 28.5 cm
10.5 29 cm
11 29 cm
11.5 30 cm
12 30 cm

The Esther Heeled Sandal Ankle Size Guide

How to Measure:
The Esther Heeled Sandal: take a tape measure and wrap it around your ankle, above the ankle bone, as that is where the strap will sit (see product imagery and fit video for a visual demonstration). This measurement is based on the last adjustment point on the strap.

Size Strap length will accommodate an ankle measurement up to the size below
5 23 cm
5.5 23 cm
6 23 cm
6.5 23 cm
7 24 cm
7.5 24 cm
8 24.5 cm
8.5 24.5 cm
9 24.5 cm
9.5 25 cm
10 25 cm
10.5 25.5 cm
11 26 cm
11.5 26 cm
12 26 cm

Belt Sizes

Natural Waist Measurement Typical Jean Size Belt Size for High‑rise Pant Belt Size for Mid‑rise Pant Infinite Belt Size
23-25" 23/24 26" 28" 1
25-26" 25 28" 30" 1
26-27" 26 30" 32" 1
27-28" 27 30" 32" 1
28-29" 28 32" 34" 2
29-30" 29 32" 34" 2
30-31" 30 34" 36" 2
31-32" 31 34" 36" 2
32-33" 32 36" 38" 3
33-34" 33 36" 38" 3
34-35" 34 38” 40" 3
36-37" 36 38" 40" 3
38-39" 38 40" 42" 4
40-41" 40 40" 42" 4
42-43" 42 44" 46" 4
43-44" 43 44" 46" 5
44-45" 44 46" - 5

Sizing Note: For the most accurate fit, measure around your body where you plan to wear the belt. Choose the closest belt size to that measurement.

Belt Diagram Accent Belt and Complement BeltThe Accent Belt, The Polished Belt and The Complement Belt size measurements start from the beginning of the leather to the middle hole.

Belt Diagram Infinite BeltThe Infinite Belt size measurements cover the entire length of the leather.

Belt Measuring Guide

Belt Measuring Guide

A - High-rise style:

If you plan to wear your belt around your natural waistline, wrap a measuring tape around the narrowest part of your midsection. Then, add 3” to determine your high-rise belt size.

B - Mid-rise style:

If you plan to wear your belt lower than your natural waistline, you will require a dierent size. If you have a particular pair of bottoms you intend to wear your belt with, wrap a measuring tape through the belt loops while in a relaxed position.

When wearing your belt in your preferred style, it should fasten in the middle hole. The belt will relax with wear allowing you to cinch it tighter, as needed.

If you plan to wear the belt in both the high and mid-rise styles, you have two options:

  1. Select your high-rise style and fasten it more loosely when worn in the mid-rise style.
  2. Select your mid-rise style and fasten it more tightly when worn in the high-rise style.