Miss Shoes – Shoes you almost Missed

Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

Update: Clarks Shoes (Mumbai) Available Again! November 23, 2011

This weekend I was walking through one of the malls in Mumbai, and to my surprise, I saw a section devoted to Clark’s shoes! I have raved about their comfort earlier and I almost bought one. But then, I had recently bought something similar from Catwalk and resisted. Unfortunately, most of the designs were a tad old – unchanged since when I last saw them. Though I still liked their fit.

FlashbackI had loved shoes by Clarks. However, for whatever reason, their primary shop in Mumbai closed down and some other Clarks shops were perennially shuttered down. I lost hope of seeing them in Mumbai. Then, there was news that they will tie up with a well known retail brand for the Indian market. Then all was quiet. Then, I see this outlet!

On further inspection and questioning of the sales staff, I have news for you!

Clarks in India is now available through all Lifestyle department store retail outlets, in their shoe section (you cant see it online yet).This is a chain by the ‘Landmark’ group, the one that owns those awesome book stores, and not only the Future group as the press release mentioned . As I saw, they are also available at select Metro shoes outlets and some Central outlets. Hmm, Clarks has been doing a lot of homework behind the scenes!

What is consistent with their press release, is their intention to be present in the market in 2011. It is the end of 2011, but the year is as per plan.

The prices have come down since my last visit. What once used to cost INR 4,000 is now available for INR 1,999. A factor of the Lifestyle’s costing system? I care not! However, I don’t know what the cost of newer designs will be.

The (High Streeet Phoenix) Pheonix Mills, Lower Parel showroom is also apparently back, though at a different shop number. I have not yet physically checked it out. You can find out the store nearest to you across India using this store locator.

Which is also something I need to mention – Clarks finally has an Indian website. It was not there earlier. This, I hope is a tip towards their seriousness of being in this growing, shoe-hungry market. Yippee!

All I know is, Clarks is available once more, and I hope they bring in newer, better designs!

(psst – their website promises well – check out women’s designs here)

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Clarks Shoes, India July 6, 2009

A few years ago I spotted the first Clarks showroom in India – right beside a tiny but elegant Jockey showroom. Curious, I moved in. There were exactly 4 designs for women, and perhaps 5 for men. Each of them was lovely.  The walls were decorated with blow-ups of women’s feet clad in those same shoes, and somewhere it mentioned ‘Clarks Shoes, London’.

Discreetly placed was a banner stating a 30% discount on 1 of the designs. Excited I picked up the shoe, tried it out and fell in love. It was then that I finally flipped it over to check out the price. Rs 4000 (appx) after discount of 30%!! I slipped out of the shop.

Cut to today. There are Clarks showrooms in almost every self respecting city in India (I think). And my favourite by far is the one in Pheonix Mills, Mumbai. Though it looks bare in the first glance, it is good enough. Large, spacious, with nice sales men and good shoes, and a perpetual sale.

The designs of Clarks shoes are not extremely cutting edge Chic. They are not Jimmy Choo or Gucci, nor do they try to be. However, they are mostly leather, and some rubber based. and they are extremely comfortable.

Designs

The designs can to the undiscerning eye look almost dowdy. However, slip them on your foot before making the declaration. These shoes look extremely elegant on a foot, somehow. Ranging from the flats, to block heels, to kitten heels and even longer heels (of around 1-2 inches), they are made in such a way that they suit most feet and the overall effect is to enhance your leg – the requisite of a shoe – rather than just look showy.

Balance

I think it is extremely important for a shoe to be well balanced. So that if you are walking long distances, or over uneven turf, you don’t twist your foot. Also, it should not be uncomfortable to stand for a long time in your shoes. Clarks shoes fit the criteria. The heels however tall, are very well balanced and placed at the correct location at the heel – the curvature of the shoe usually ensures that your foot rests comfortably no matter how long you stand/ walk.

Comfort

Thanks to the well balanced heel, half the comfort problem is solved. And then there is the material of the shoe. None of them, insofar as I know, bite. No matter how new the leather. And the shoe soles are usually a little padded, so it feels comfortable and absorbs the shock while walking.

Style

Like mentioned in Design, the shoes are not cutting edge stylish, but are exactly what you want to wear on a daily basis. They are muted yet elegant and a great way to show off your style quotient. It would be very difficult to pick up a pair and make a Big Mistake in your shoe choice. The heel turns out well, and the overall shoe is well made – with attention to detail.  So the shoe always looks great. Good craftsmanship shows.

Price

Like mentioned in my opening lines, the prices can be a little steep for an average worker bee. However, like I mentioned, the Phoenix Mill shop has a perpetual discount and certain designs are always available at pretty reasonable (though 4 number) rates. They are definitely worth it.

After Sales Service

Is great. I tend to rough use my shoes a lot. And after months of rough usage, finally one of my pairs started sporting an opening in the seam along my toe, where the sole met the top. So I took the shoe to the shop. Immediately, without a murmur or demand for the purchase slip, they took it, promising a mended shoe in a week. And lo and behold. After a week, I had me shoe back in stellar condition, freshly polished and buffed, and not a mark in sight. Only the sole surface gave away the usage it had undergone in my foot – no longer the pristine cream of new shoes.

Durability

They last for ages. If they have lasted more than one year on my feet, in Mumbai, through rain, puddles, rocks and goodness knows what else, without a single scratch on the sole as well as on the surface,  I think they are extremely durable.

Overall

They are one of my fall-back pairs. My daily wear comfort shoes, that always look great. They have only select designs in India but the designs are all pretty good in nice colours. The price can be selected as per your wallet, and though the lowest end is also in thousands, I feel it is worth it. Being pure leather, with a very nice sole – both inside the shoe and outside, they are extremely durable. Like I mentioned earlier, they are stylish yet understated and elegant. And they scream the worth they are. It is rare to get shoes of this good quality, comfort and style in India, and in case you think it is too much to spend on a shoe, think of the after sales service. Though the company can look at reducing their MRPs on some designs rather than having a round the year discount on them, as long as it works for them and I get them at reasonable rates, Im OK.

I would say, Id like to see more Clarks shoe stores in India. Wait. I think there are enough. I don’t want everyone to sport the same shoes as me, now do I?

But I cant repeat enough, I think the shoes are totally worth it!

PS – For my male readers – Clarks has some very good designs for men as well, though size might be an issue. And this stands true for women as well. Essentially catering to the UK population who are bigger in size than Indians, the shoes here tend to be available in bigger sizes than the average shoe store.

They also stock handbags and other leather stuff – but not too many of these things.