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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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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)

 

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!

 

Boots! Boots! Boots! Buy Boots for Winter and Shoots December 29, 2009

Alright, so enough. I have been away for simply too long. I must admit I started on a post, but then work caught up and it still lies unfinished. However, I think it is an interesting post and I will soon finish and upload it. It is about shoes you want to have for an Indian Wedding. Yep, its important. And if you know more than 3 Indians, its a must-have. There is bound to be at least one wedding you need to attend every year.

Boots Time!

However, we are sitting in December, post Christmas and pre-31st. This is the time most of the world population is experiencing cold. And this is the perfect time to take out your boots.

Since man invented footwear and since the time there have been winters, Boots have been worn by Men and Women, and I dont see them going anywhere away in the long term future either. They are way too wonderful to vanish!

Those lovely creations that cover up all of your feet and sizable parts of your legs yet look great. Yup, Boots are In.

Till recently all you needed was a pair of Ugg‘s and you were as hep as Britney Spears or <insert name of celebrity here>. However, times have moved on and it is time to update your shoe closet with something prettier.

The word of Boots is so large that I really do not know where to begin. So I will begin with me.

Boots for Hot India

I am in Bombay. And this place is probably worse than Australia when it comes to December chills. The temperature varies anwywhere between 30deg Celcius and 40 deg Celcius. Whee! What fun isnt it? I hate it. I hate having no winters. No chance of taking out the wollens, the boots, covering yourself up, snuggling up with hot coffee and putting my feet out to warm in the pale golden sunrays.

So, when I went to Calcutta recently, I prepared myself for a fun Winter Vacation. Even though its almost pleasantly cool there (between 10 to 15 deg celcius)

Considering where I live, I have invested in a pair of boots that dont necessarily keep me warm. They are made of Jeans. Very cowboyish but not really. They have a nice long pencil heel and pointed toes. They also have brown threadwork on the sides of the blue denim calf-length boots. Rather sassy. And very wearable. In any weather. From? A UK brand I cant remember now.

Ive always wanted leather and fur boots though, but since Delhi is probably the only place I can wear them without seeming daft, I have stayed away from them since I left that city. So instead what I did was get a pair of shoots (shoe boots). They are faux leather, have a not-too-high heel, and fold down near my ankles like elve’s shoes, exposing an inner lining of velvet. Yum!

What are Shoots? (Shoe boots)

Peep toe Shoots

Classic Black Shoe boots

They are basically shoes, but look like boots. So, they end somewhere near the ankle and have the shape a boot typically has for the foot. So, they give the convenience of shoes, but look like Boots. They can be worn with anything from midi-length dresses to jeans. They keep your feet warm enough and yet keep your ankles and legs free. A convenient addition to your wardrobe.

Boots for Winters

If you are getting boots to wear for colder climes, one of my favorites of course is the black leather look, with a bit of fur and lots of heel. Be careful though, because not only is it a difficult style to carry off with elan, its also a difficult one to get without being sleazy. Be careful about the loops and buttons and studs on such a boot! And of course, the shine factor. Try it out with what you would probably wear it with before purchasing it. You dont want to look like a slut, and neither do you want to look like a Ninja!

Length is personal choice as far as boots are concerned. Longer they are, cooler they look. Of course, the most standard length for a good boot is calf length. Its convenient and yet its boot-ish enough.

Thigh High Boots

If youve got the thighs for it, try one that reaches above your knee cap.

Flat Boots in soft leather

Heel height is also a personal preference. If you can walk with stillettoes, go in for high heels. But remember, with boots there is restricted leg mobility. So whats easy in a pump can be a little difficult in a stiff boot that covers up your shins, restricting movement. So try on the shoes and walk keeping in mind the kind of floor you will be on! Block heels also look good on boots, so dont you worry. Try out wedge heels for your boots as well.

There are flat boots apart from Ugg’s. And these too look pretty decent. I, however find them a tad difficult to walk on since the length of the boot restricts my calf and shin bone mobility. In case you want to go in for a flat boot, try one made of velvet or of a soft leather, which probably crunches up into confortable wrinkles all the way up your leg. Try some with ribbons and buckles in that case. Way cool.

What I would thoroughly recommend

This season shoots are in, in a major way. They can be worn with slim fit jeans and look great – just like the high heel pumps with ankle length jeans. So try and get a pair of warm comfortable shoots. Boots of course are classic and will make a re-entry every year for the wallet conscious. For the fashion conscious, the world is open!

And a word for Men:

There is no season for Boots for you! Men in boots always look good 🙂 Go get a good pair, probably tan leather?

Where to shop?

There is no dearth of boot and shoot sellers. However, if you need a guiding hand in India, follwing are some shops that I have seen with good designs. I wouldnt say collection, because they stock only 3-4 types, but the designs are decent without being OTT or sleazy. Remember, its my top-of-mind recall here, and not necessarily the only, or the best. Also, I dont have any tie-ups with these shops or their owners or anybody!

If wallet is no constraint, you know where to go. Sky is the limit and there is no lack of designers catering to your boots-whims!

Otherwise, Look out for boots and shoots at –

Premium Shops:

-Aldo

-Charles & Keith

-Nine West

-Catwalk

Medium Range Shops:

-Metro

-Regal

-Mochi

-Inc. 5

-Levi’s

Multi-Brand outlets:

-Lifestyle

-Marks & Spencer

-Shopper’s Stop

Happy Boot Shopping! Have a WONDERFUL 2010! One New Year resolution for you?

Get a bigger Shoe Closet! 🙂

(PS – Thanks to the many many websites I accessed for the photographs! I forgot to keep your links, but some are:

http://twistedphysics.typepad.com, http://www.shoemall.com, http://styletips101.com, and of course, the mighty Google)

 

White Shoes – Europe and India August 11, 2009

There is something about summer that makes all the men and women in Europe take out White. In every possible form – shirts, pants, handbags… to shoes!

White Pants, White Shoes

White Pants, White Shoes

White shoes are rampant all over the continent. Sports shoes are white, casual shoes are white, flip flops are white. Not only are shoes white, the trousers are white too, men and women.

Of course, its refreshing to see white in the blazing sun, especially when you are out on vacation. However, as someone who lives in India, white is not exactly associated with the best.

In India, it is indeed rare to see someone sport white shoes. In fact, it is rare enough to see someone wear white trousers, let alone shoes. Many women do wear white trousers, but very few men do. Even when the women here wear white trousers, they are rather careful about the type of trousers worn – because its quite a fashion dare.

As forwearing pure white on their feet – well, Ive heard flak about wearing my white patent mocassin-like shoes – because it dint match with the outfit.

In India white shoes are a definite no-no, unless they are really high class, with matching clothes (as in same colour!). However, not with white trousers. Quite a quandry eh? Wait, theres more to the likings for white in India.

Man in White

Man in White

However, jutis with white base and white sequins are quite acceptable, perhaps because many traditional Indian outfits have white bottoms. The churidars, salwars and even saris are white quite often.  However, even then the white is subtle, and underplayed. White churidars are usually cream, and when men wear ure white, it is usually with a white kurta. Traditionally though, white clothes have also been paired with black or tan shoes, at least for men. However, the trends seem to be subtly but definitely shifting.

Woman in Traditional and White

Woman in Traditional and White

Indian Sandals when white are stringy, underplaying the white quotient. It is however interesting to note that though white in western outfits are frowned upon by the middle class, it is rampant in the lower and upper classes. The upper classes wear really chic clothes, so its rare that they would wear something bad. Though even then, it is stared at if not worn properly. The lower, of course, just imitate passe actors like Jitender, or ‘jumping jack’ as he is called.

As for me, I have my pair of white shoes, which I wear with abandon. For wearing white shoes is all about confidence, in what you wear, and your look. And yes, stay away from white shoes in the monsoons. Mud splattered shoes are not really the best best 😉

As for my trip in Europe. I, of course ravaged a few shoe stores, and had my pick of shoes. Here is the beautiful white pair I tried on in Florence. And for my Indian readers- see? They look fabulous even with rolled up blue jeans! So go ahead, get yourself a pair of white shoes for your western wear, and have fun!

White shoes and Blue Jeans

My feet in White shoes and Blue Jeans

From all angles

From all angles

 

Rakhi Ka Swayamvar – Shoes July 15, 2009

I am a doting fan of the saga ‘Rakhi ka Swayamvar‘. The TV drama twist to the age old ritual wherein a bride chooses her groom from a group of eligible men.

Rakhi Sawant has made a name for herself in the meda business. She is outspoken and brash, and a lot of other things. However, what I am going to talk about here is her choice in shoes.

Typically, Rakhi is a woman who dresses with care. Now whether that means in good taste, loud, subtle – thats not the point. What is the point is its obvious she takes time over her appearance. And that usually includes shoes.

Most of the time, being a stage dancer she is barefoot. Dance, afterall, to the average Indian dancer is done barefoot and not with dancing shoes as in the West. However, when she appears on the stage or interviews, I have usually noticed her wearing stilettoes. And they look nice.

However, yesterday on her show, she was witnessed holding her shoe. Though the circumstances were unenviable. Rakhi was on a ‘date’ with one of her suitors – Ashwin. Upon him asking rather objectionable questions about her and the behaviour of people in the media industry, she finally had to take off her shoe and demonstrate to him the method by which she gets rid of unwanted suitors. (not him). The shoe in question was what was objectionable – to me.

Rakhi was dressed in a yellow-green synthetic sari, and a green blouse, with some sort of bells dangling from the sleeves. Decent enough, I guess. However, the shoe she took off, was definitely ‘sensible’.

A black shoe with barely a 2-inch platform heel, I did not get the opportunity to see its top. But the bottom was none too interesting. Granted, it was not expected that matters will reach a high where she will really have to take her shoe off, granted that the day involved significant walking around, it was still an objecitonable shoe to be worn by a celebrity, on national television, when she is the cheif guest. And that too, when it is Rakhi Sawant, who claims to be fond of shoe shopping.

So my humble advice to Rakhi, pay more attention to what you wear – including shoes. After spending a fortune on your face and body and clothes, it is equally important to pay attention to your shoes – elegant shoes with small heels are also available for jaunts in gardens if needed.

In fact, if the day involves wearing a Sari, walking in gardens, on uneven ground, it was an ideal opportunity for her to wear Indian Chappals or Jutis. Knowing the market and her wallet size, she would have easily got a pretty one to complement her sari, and those golden bells!