Miss Shoes – Shoes you almost Missed

Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

High Heels Hurt Feet: How to Avoid Shoe Pain August 13, 2013

I am a self professed shoe lover. Especially when it comes to heels, my knees go weak. (that rhymed!!)

However, I try and mix up my heel heights all the time. This is primarily because wearing shoes of only one height often damage your feet.

We all have heard about the impact of high heels on your feet. I mean, there are women across the world submitting to surgery because of the ill effects of high heels on their feet. The only exception is Russian women. I dont know how they do it, but I have not heard of Russian Women undergoing foot surgery due to their awesome yet continuous wear of high heels. Look at them! They hold an Annual Stilletto Race! They are just…Awesome!

For everyone else, going with only one heel height (especially ‘high’) means long term damage to your tendons and bones.

More recently Sarah Jessica Parker (Carrie Bradshaw) from Sex and the City fame proclaimed her foot injury due to high heels worn over years:

“For ten or so years, I literally ran in heels,” the star admits to Net-a-Porter’s digital fashion magazine. “I worked 18-hour days and never took them off. I wore beautiful shoes, some better made than others, and never complained.”

I can totally understand and envy that. But then, after years of wearing beautiful high heels, this is what she says:

“I went to a foot doctor and he said, ‘Your foot does things it shouldn’t be able to do. That bone there… You’ve created that bone. It doesn’t belong there.’ The moral of the story is, the chickens are coming home to roost. It’s sad, because my feet took me all over the world, but eventually they were like, ‘You know what, we are really tired, can you just stop – and don’t put cheap shoes on us?’”

Of course, do NOT wear cheap ill made shoes, but being in India I have seen some very good brands make shoes that may not be compatible with your feet.

 

Rule #1: BUY COMFORTABLE SHOES: Do not buy shoes that feel wobbly when you are still in the showroom. They may look pretty, but really, wearing shoes that are not stable doesn’t make sense. Everyone has a different center of gravity. Just try walking in your pair, they should not wobble and the shoe heel should come at the correct point beneath your actual foot heel to make you feel comfortable. The toe of the shoe should not pinch.

Don't Wear Wobbly Shoes

Don’t Wear Wobbly Shoes

Rule #2: BUY DIFFERENT TYPE OF SHOES: Many women I see are comfortable with a certain ‘type’ of shoe. Wedges, stilettos, flats, ballerinas. I would say that mix up the type you own. Especially keep two varieties for daily wear. Even a wedge and a stiletto mixed over a week is good enough. Just make it different, there is a huge world of choice out there!

Wear Different Type of Shoes

Wear Different Type of Shoes

Rule #3: CHANGE YOUR HEEL HEIGHT: This may not be everyday, but on weekends wear sneakers, or ballerinas. This helps tremendously in exercising all aspects of your leg and toe, and not allowing your foot to get into trouble because any one part feels continual strain.

Very Heel Height over a Week

Very Heel Height over a Week

Rule #4: WALK BAREFOOT: Whenever possible, give your feet a rest! Walk barefoot, preferably on grass, sand or mud. There is nothing quite as relaxing for your feet! (And it really relaxes and benefits all your muscles)

Barefoot Walking on Grass

Walk Barefoot on Grass

That’s it! Just try following these four simple rules, and you will be spared of the most painful, long term impacts of your high heels.

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Casual Shoes for Men: Office Wear June 22, 2010

Weekends are casual wear in office. The one day men in offices revert to jeans. Since shorts are not allowed in a formal office environment. Most men to severely lack in the imagination department. For them formals mean black or brown trousers and casuals mean jeans. This post is for such men. Especially. (for the rest with some fashion sense, its for you as well! And for women suffering from fashion loss thanks to being with fashion deprived men)

Man in Casual Wear

Man in Casual Wear

Why only jeans qualify as informals, is something I havent deciphered. Especially since all clothing companies try so hard to educate them about: linens, khakis, cords, canvases. And of course, for the more experimental, trousers in innovative cuts, including (yes, I will say it) the Jodhpurs (see image on left).

Coming to shoes, the other fallacy I have noticed is the simple bifurcation in Men’s minds about shoes:
a) Formal shoes: Black, Brown
b) Casual shoes: Sports shoes (sneakers)

While formal shoes are experimented upon to some extent, with laced, slip-ons and even innovative leathers, its the casual shoes that take a beating.

There is nothing worse than the sight of men in office, wearing jeans coupled with black, formal shoes. No, jeans coupled with floaters and socks come a close second, but black formal shoes definitely win. (It is so horrible, even Google doesnt store an image!)

So what can be worn as casual shoes in office?
Well, the standard sports shoes and floaters are there. However, sports shoes all the time are boring. They may be comfortable, but be truthful. Do you really always want to wear sports shoes? Also, it gives the impression you have only 2 pair of shoes – one for office and one for running. Not Good.
As for floaters, they are not a feasible option in formal offices, which promote ‘Friday Dressing’. And I despise them anyway. Sorry.

In such a case, I offer to our dear fashion deprived men, the quaint, old-fashioned product, universally known versatile shoes known as ‘Loafers‘.

Men's Loafers - Louis Vuitton

Men's Loafers - Louis Vuitton

Loafers are typically slip-on shoes, with a mocassin construction. Traditionally made from leather, loafers are slip-on shoes that resemble a moccasin on top, but have a wide and fairly flat heel. They can sometimes be worn for formal wear, but a pair can be owned, which scream casual. No man can go wrong with loafers – they are as masculine as they come, no matter the colour.

Loafers with Show Bows

Loafers with Show Bows

Loafers are best in brown, white, or even black (and sometimes deep wine red). They can be soft leather, with stitches showing on the sides, have tassles (like cowboy shoes) or metal decorations (as popularised by Gucci)

Tassled Loafers_Gucci

Tassled Loafers_Gucci

Dress loafers are those which are more moccasin-like, with deeper cuts, but they look more formal.

If however, our fashion deprived men find it difficult to identify loafers, the famous suede shoes can be a substitute that can be considered by them.

Blue Suede Mens shoes

Blue Suede Mens shoes

Suede Mens shoes

Suede Mens shoes

Suede shoes in light brown, less heels, with or without laces, can work wonders as casual wear.

Suede Boots

Suede Boots

Boots are another option, though they may not be perfect for office all the time, they can look very good with jeans, especially when the correct pair is worn. Boots dont always have to be high, ankle length boots do just as well. Suede boots can be wonderful as casual wear, if worn with the right pair of jeans.

athletic inspired shoes

Athletic Inspired Shoes

For those, whoever, who do not want to venture into loafers, mocassins, suede shoes and boots, ‘athletic inspired shoes’ are an option! These are a mix of boots and sneakers, while being actually shoes. They can be just upto the ankle, and are usually in the garb of mountain climbing shoes.

Athletic Inspired Woodlands

Athletic Inspired Woodlands

Some of the best places to buy casual shoes for men in India:

– Rockport: A great option for long lasting shoes, especially if you are loathe to buy leather since they have a good collection of non-leather. Rockports are always sturdy, long lasting, comfortable and yet quite stylish.

– Woodlands: They offer some of the best athletic inspired shoes in India.

– Regal Shoes

– Mochi Shoes

– Clarks Shoes

– Levis Shoes

– Inc 5

– Chain stores like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Pantaloons, Westside, etc.

So, considering there is a last working day for the week, every single week of your working life, I suggest to all my male readers – go ahead and get some casual wear shoes. C’mon! I a sure you are tired of wearing the same old shoes all the time! At least if you are not ready to get rid of those jeans every weekend, get a pair of shoes that make those jeans look good 🙂

Happy Shopping! Here’s to more Stylish Men at workplace!

 

A short note on Importance of Shoes & Crocs June 12, 2010

The Meaning of Lila

And who to say it than Lila from one of my regular comic strips – The Meaning of Lila.

And here is something else that Lila said:

The Meaning of Lila

I dont know about the beautiful people code, but I seriously dont get the deal about crocs.

Its not like they are super comfortable. Its not like they do anything greater than other perforated rubber based shoes do (even in Indian monsoons). And its not like  the colours are sooo great.

So if you are a Crocs lover, let me know why.

Till my next post!

(PS- I just like The Meaning of Lila, I am not in any way associated with the strip)

 

My Tryst with Red Shoes: at Work & Elsewhere April 24, 2010

I really like your shoes. And you. I admire people who can wear red shoes I think they are very difficult to carry off

My colleagues comment left me speechless. A little flattered, but surprised as well. You see, shoes are the one thing that really don’t need confidence. They are just…worn.

Porphyra - A Beautiful Red Algea

Porphyra - A Beautiful Red Algea

I love the colour red, like almost all Indians. However, though keep few reds in my cupboard, I wear them with caution, and not usually to work. With shoes, it is a different matter altogether.

I have always had a pair of red shoes in my cupboard. Ever since I can remember, I have liked to pick up red shoes. Its a pity I did not take photographs of my shoes before this, else I could have given a nice series of photographs – vintage, really – of my ‘Red Shoes Through the Ages’ or some such thing.

They started off more as fun in college, and now I have these that I wear to office.

At the moment though,  I have two pairs, one rather dull red, and the other a shiny patent red. I am a little particular about the shade of red when I choose the shoes. I sincerely believe that red is a beautiful colour. However, it can look so very awful if the shade of red selected is

a) not suitable to the skin (warm shades and cool shades) or

b) not suitable to the occasion

Once I had red flats, with red sequins holding down the toes. They added zing to my dull blue jeans for a casual evening out with friends. I however, could not imagine wearing them to office.

Red Leather Peep Toes

Red Leather Peep Toes

To start with, are my red leather peep-toes. The design of these shoes are not exactly subtle, but the colour and the overall make of them, thanks to the leather, the stitching, etc., makes them my favorite for office wear.

They are not exactly from a fancy shop, but something I saw and was love at first sight. The toes are covered quite well, and the ‘peep’ is just enough to show a hint of nailpolish. And it covers the feet quite well from all angles. The leather scrunches up as it ends near the foot, to give a nice feminine ruffled look.

The heels are around 2 inches, comfortable and of  dark wood-like substance.

Red ShoesI wear this pair pretty often with either dull coloured skirts, or with a black and white outfit.

It brings in a splash of coliur to the black and white, without drawing attention to itself.

The leather itself is patchy in shades, and that brings its own angle into the shoes.

Red Shoes in Office

Red Shoes in Office

They go pretty well with jeans as well. The heel height helps in cigarette leg jeans, and the red colour adds to the glam look of the outfit.

However, I still like to reserve it for office wear. It is the bit of daring in formal wear which can make a day brighter.

The next pair of red shoes – and I must confess, I recently got them from Singapore – are anything but subtle. In design they are as formal as can be, but they are a bright red, made of patent leather-like material, shining and definitely drawing attention to themselves.

Shiny Red Shoes

Shiny Red Shoes

I got these shoes from a URS & Inc shop, and they fit like a dream – and I simply could not resist the sassy red.

The design, as you can see, is a very staid moccasin look-alike, with a bit of steel buckle for show. But the red is tomato, yet in certain light looks maroonish.

From Office in Patent Red Shoes

From Office in Patent Red Shoes

The heel is pure wood, and gives a nice hollow ring when walking on solid stone floors (marble or granite), which is nice to hear in its own way.

The sole is well cushioned, and in short, wearing this pair is a joy unto itself – and most of it is due to the colour!

Red Shoes with BeigeSo I pair this with my dullest trousers (photo above: shirt: Fab India, Trousers: G2000, Dirty room with tangled computer wires: mine!) The design of this pair of shoes is good for trousers, I dont think I will wear this with skirts, or even Salwar Kameezes.

In trousers as well, because of its shiny nature, it does not go very well with pure black, and thus I reserve it for camel, beige and brown trousers. It then adds an interesting aspect to the complete look, especially when sitting down – as then the shoes become really visible.

Red Shoe

My suggestion – on a Monday, when you have the Blues, there is nothing likea pair of Red Shoes to chase them away.

Try it, the next time in office. But do take care that the shade suits your feet, and complements your clothes. Red shoes need to be worn with care, and you dont want people pointing at your feet because the colour is so garish and bright, it robs the shoe and the wearer from any style quotient!

The colour red is known for its energy, its sanctity (in India and China) and its power. Feel free to dip into this reservoir and make a bleak work day some fun!


(Photograph courtesy Flickr)

 

My Gladiators and Singapore March 26, 2010

After a lot of deliberation and cancellations, a last minute plan landed me in Singapore. Due to the last minute nature of the trip, which involved a couple of days in office, I took with me shoes for office (heels), my sports shoes and a pair of gladiators for miscellaneous wear.

Singapore is one of those city(-states) that believe in dressing well. All you see around you are well dressed people. Really well dressed.

In their midst wearing sports shoes was not the best choice. But then I was the tourist. So I persisted. My faithful pair helped me through the day of walking around the famous Sentosa beach island-bit of the city-state/country.

But. (and its a very large but) Singapore weather is slightly worse than that of Mumbai (check out the humidity levels on that link!). At least it was while I was there. Sweating in sports shoes are not the best thing. So by evening when I took off my shoes in the late evening, I found my poor foot abused.

From that day on I wore only my breathy gladiators out of doors. Was I glad I had taken them along!

Singapore Botanical GardenThe beauty of gladiators, like Ive mentioned earlier is, they can be teemed with most things. So my uniform for the trip became skirts and gladiators

The shoes were comfortable for long walks. Flat, they did not strain any undue muscles of my legs. Also, the multiple straps held the foot firmly in place ensuring my foot never slipped.

At the same time, the thin strips left enough place for my foot to breathe. The sole was also thin enough that my foot-sole could be comfortable.

Gladiator close upThe gladiators I have now are black, with faux stitch marks on each strap giving the impression its made of leather. It is however, not leather.

They are a comfortable height upto my ankles, and therefore can match with most clothes, irrespective of the height.

There are a lot of colours to choose from, but I took a basic black since it can match with almost any coloured clothes. I even wore it with a pink dress. My last pair of gladiators were pure leather, of skin tone. That is another colour which looks good but then it does not dramatise its presence.

The heel is slightly supported, so it is not absolutely flat. This really helped since I did a lot of walking around. Perfectly flat shoes can strain the foot and make one tired easily.

All in all, I say, when you are traveling, carry a pair of gladiator sandals. They do not occupy much space, are lighter than most other shoes and are rather versatile while being comfortable!

Gladiators Rule

 

Take Care of Those Shoes! January 27, 2010

Recently a commenter, Ketan Vyas, mentioned how important it is not just to own shoes, but also to take care of them. I promised him a post on the same. And here it is!

Till a few years ago, the life of a shoe owned by me was rather short. It was not that I did not look after them, but rather more about how I wore them and walked in them. I did not treat them well, twisting them out of shape when bored. Now, of course, I am more careful.

But that did not mean my shoes were bad to look at. They just tore early because of the friction they faced. I have always maintained that Cracked, Dusty shoes look horrible. Shabby, even. That does not mean you need to take out the shoe polish and spend an hour on those precious leathers every day. Just take care of them!

There are a few simple rules that make it easier to look after your precious shoes – and feet. And no, they are not all about cleaning and polishing and shining those shoes. Some are very simple, doable activities, especially in a dusty country like India. Here is my tuppence on what you can do to increase the life of your shoes.

#1 Watch where you walk

I am the few disreputable ones who does not polish their black shoes everytime I wear them. But then, most times I dont need to. Its simple. I try and watch where I walk. Avoid puddles, roads dug up, definitely avoid cattle. The thing that I find difficult to avoid are the roads in India where the pavement is lose and there will be a sudden crater of dust – just that point where you need to step on to and enter that car/taxi/bus/shop. So you go on to next rule.

#2 If you must, walk lightly

Try not to walk with a full step and weight onto delightless items as those mentioned above. So, it rained. So, there are puddles. That does not mean one need wade over them. You can lightly jump over them to dry ground, or lightly walk to avoid the water splashing on top and spoiling more than need be.

#3 Store them well

And I cannot stress this one enough.

#3 a) A lot of dust on shoes is from shoes themselves. Keep a shoe on top of another, and its a sure fire way of ensuring dust on your pair. All the mud the sole of your shoe accumulated is now being deposited on the top of the other. So, DONT store them on top of each other.

#3 b) The other advantage of not storing them as a tower is, the shoes maintain their shape. They dont get squashed from top, lose their creases at the sides or need extra effort wearing. Good shoes dont need to be coaxed into your feet.

Keep each pair in rows, next to each other. Boots need to be kept horizontally if they are of a soft material since then they may crumple down. If the boots are of hard leather, you can keep them standing. If you have the plastic shoe-shapers, keep them inside the shoe – they will maintain the shape of the foot for the boot.

#3 c) Another source of dust on shoes is your own home. In India, dust is everywhere. Keep your shoes covered as far as possible, unless you are wearing them daily. I use a shoe closet, and for those that dont fit in, I keep the shoe boxes. The special shoes worn once in a while are in boxes which I open to take them out. This ensures that not only do they not rest on each other, but also dont accumulate dust from all over the place and look pretty.

#4 Clean shoes with dry dusting

Once in a while, while wearing the shoes, dry dust them with a brush or a soft cloth. You may not have time to polish, but even this one moment rub down of your shoe keeps the shine alive and dust away.

#5 Really Clean them

This I cannot stress enough. Once in a while, take out all your shoes. Spend a Sunday on shoes if need be. Inspect them and in case of any part that needs to be repaired, keep it aside to get it repaired. Clean the shoes with a dry duster, then polish them with a shoe polish, and then neatly rearrange their shape if they have for some reason got misshapen. For suede shoes, keep a different brush to take care of the hair/wool that can stick to them. Check the heel tips, the toes for friction marks, polish these regions as well. If the shoe has an insole that is wearing out yet the shoe itself is fine, you might want to either get rid of it or invest in a shoe insole which you can use with multiple shoes. Dr. Scholls makes them well, with many varieties – and some especially for women. Gladiators too need to be brushed and cleaned. Polish the straps, especially if they are leather. Chappals, especially Kolhapuri leather chappals also need their fair share of polish. Sports shoes also need care. Wash them regularly!

Then keep the shoes back.

This not only ensures that your shoes are well cared for,  but also makes you suddenly realise the contents of your closet. Old shoes emerge, new shoes get identified, sometimes missing pairs are found and sometimes you will realise there are shoes that can be thrown away.

A last note: many women dont wear socks. Its fine as far as women’s shoes go, but if you are wearing closed, laced up shoes of any kind, you might want to invest in socks for the well being of your feet. Even otherwise, peds, ankle length socks or stockings can be of help for the strappy shoes and saving you from undue shoe strain or even slipping them on easily.

So go ahead, spend a day with your shoes, and remember, the real secret to maintaining any of your shoes are a little regular care!

 

Monsoon Shoe Shopping in India July 2, 2009

Its monsoon time! Well, almost. In Mumbai, India it has finally started raining, however the rest of the country awaits at the edge of drought. Perhaps what will bring the rains in, is getting ready for them. Nothing makes it rain like going out for a long day trip in your best clothes and leather shoes while your rain gear and shoes rest at home.

The first step, however, to the rain calling is getting the rain wear to wait at home for you.  The essentials are very simple – an umbrella (or raincoat) and shoes.  For days when I expect to be out on the streets for longer times, I usually combine a raincoat with an umbrella – makes it easy to manouver and not get wet in the torrential downpours. But the one thing that remains crucial is Shoes.

You see, when walking in the rain, the one thing that is bound to get thoroughly drenched is your footwear. Throughout the year, no one really cares much about water resistant footwear. Its leather, and suede, and silk etc as far as footwear is concerned. And then come the monsoons spoiling some of your best pairs.

To avoid such a scenario, many companies (like Bata) promote their rubber based shoes.  These dont spoil on getting wet, and neither do they take too long to dry. So they are perfect! However, they really lack comfort and style. I mean, OK so they are rainwear. But that does not have to make them ugly, right?

Crocs are a good option for the rains as well. They are essentially rubber, and they do make some sort of style statement. Comfortable? Not for long runs, and their grip is also so-so, so they wont slip from your foot when both are wet with rain water and puddles. But, if you want a quick fix and really colourful options with holes on top, Crocs are your freinds.

However, you cannot really wear Crocs to office. Bata might still suffice, but imagine blue crocs in a traditional office with strict formal wear code? No.

In such cases, many people carry a pair of shoes, and wear their multi-purpose floaters. Floaters, ugly as they are, are convenient. And though the velcro portion may not dry as fast, at least the contact to skin is at minimum.  And then there are rubber floaters to take care of that. Of course, some floaters are not as ugly, but getting such a pair in India may prove difficult.

However, what I recommend for my Indian ladies, is a shopping stint with a tight budget on Linking Road, Bandra and Colaba Causeway. The flavour of the season are flat ballerina style peep-toes, in all colours imaginable – starting from canary yellow, patent black, ink blue,  shocking pink, blood red to skin tones. They are plastic all over and guarantee a slip-free walk through all water-covered surfaces. They also come for as cheap as INR200 a pair!

I would say go Invest! The only fly in the ointment are the available sizes – there is only a medium size available and if you have large feet (like me) it might be difficult for you to find a pair in your favorite colour.  The largest they seemed to have was Size 38.

However, fret not. In such a scenario where your fair feet do not fit daintily into these petite creations, there are sandals. These are flat again (to cater to the monsoons) with elastic at the back to hold in your foot and a broad band over your toes. The broad band is nice – transparent with three stripes of different colours and a fake buckle. The overall look is quite nice and I would post a photograph if I had one on me. These too are totally plastic, colourful, pretty sturdy and perfect for the monsoons.

Both these shoes are sedate enough for office and trendy enough for evening outs – it will be your choice of colours which will determine where to wear them. Also, they are sure to last you the season, which is more than what you could want from these colourful cheap funwear.

While you are out getting shoes, it might not hurt to buy a colourful umbrella as well. Colaba is crowded with umbrella sellers of every variety, ranging from below Rs.100 to as high as you want.  They are quite the compliment to your rainy weather shoes.

You can also wear your Gladiators in monsoons as they have all the attributes needed for rainy days – flat, good grip, hold feet in place. But just make sure they are not your leather gladiators. Then they are bound to be ruined!

So go ahead, mae a spash! Choose vibrant colours, fun plastic, or branded stuff, but be prepared for monsoons! I promise the rains will follow soon enough!

PS – In Calcutta, you can try Metro Plaza near Ravindra Sarovar – they have some shops with really good shoe collections, including rain freindly wear. And shoes in Kolkata will be cheaper than in Mumbai. Also a must – check-out place for shoes is AC Market (Ravindra Sarovar) as well as New Market, Esplanade!

PPS – Delhi shoppers! Make your way to GK II asap! And Janpath and Sarojini Nagar market (Sarojini more than Janpath) are sure to have you shopping to your hearts’ delight!!