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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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Shiny Indian Party Shoes/ Slippers April 19, 2012

Over the last year I have been attending a number of family functions. Across IndiaCalcutta, Delhi and Mumbai. Thats a lot of locations for a lot of family gatherings. These have ranged from full blown weddings to smaller-key dinners or festivals.
Now, while for a wedding it is mandatory to have a shiny slipper, or at least one that matches your ornaments (read red, gold or silver), for a family dinner or small festival like Rakhi, the footwear has to match your clothes. Which is to say, they have to be smart, a little shiny to respect that its an ocassion, but cant be over the top. In comparison it is easier to buy a pair of crystal studded footwear for the shaadi!

Wearing a plain sandal of course can be a recourse, but one that will put you on the lower rungs of family fashion. Especially in Punjabi families.

Here, I struck gold. And Im quite smug about it. I found a perfect pair of slip-ons while browsing through the shoe-shops of Colaba (Mumbai) with my poor tired husband. I liked them. He asked me if I needed them. (I vehemently nodded yes) He asked if we can sit somewhere and eat after that. (I vehemently nodded again) He bought them. Joy!

My Every Occasion Shiny Indian Slippers

The Heel

These slip ons have a small heel. THis is very important. A very high heel is invonvenient when you have to stand around for ages, or walk through roads that are less than perfect. The last thing that I want to do is stumble and fall, or be tired when it is my maiden visit to meet relatives. A flat shoe looks less than perfect, because then, somehow, the churidars look shorter, the saris look inelegant, and well… in general the look seems incomplete.
Thus enters short heels. This awesome slipper has a heel of an inch. Perfect!

Style of Shoe

This slipper is not just a slipper. A typical Indian slipper is backless, with the straps ending under the arch of the foot, and divided in front through the thumb and the rest of the fingers. Though a decent enough design, it is rather common, and tends to slip out as well. Also, the shoe glory ends with just the front bit of the shoe.
This particular slip on is more like a slingback. The back is elasticized, making it easy to slip it on while also ensuring the foot doesnt slip out. The design also, therefore extends for most of the shoe, except for the back of the ankle where the elastic resides.

Indian Slipper Shoe for Formal Evenings

The design

The shoe has a leather base, self embossed with flowers, so that when I take it off, it still looks pretty. The top of the shoe is decorated with sequins, beads and a large-ish crystal. The sequiins are a dull copper colour, and therefore even when they are ‘sequins’ they look understated. Especially in combination with the muted off-white beads. The crystal in the center is. in-silo, rather large. However, stuck between all those beads and crystal its kind of hidden, and adds that pop of ‘Look Im a party wear shoe!’ look to it. The whole look it ‘party’ but at the same time, the colours are versatile enough to be worn in any combination. This looks good with my green, blue, red and of course black clothes.
The toes remain fully uncovered in this shoe, and as a result this gives me ample opportunity to show off any nailpolish or toe-rings I might want to sport. With most of the foot visible, mehendi, if applied is also visible for display. Of course, since the ankle is free, wearing a payal is possible, though I havent yet worn it.

This shoe has also been of help in recent times for office wear. It is muted enough to be worn with staid, work-suitable ethnic wear, and often I wear it with my cchuridars to bring in an aspect of colour into otherwise dull surroundings.

Shiny Indian Slipper Shoe

In short,this is become my go-to footwear for any occasion which involves being a little dressed up, in ethnic wear.
I would suggest you go out and get something like this soon, I promise you it will remove the headache of wondering ‘which shoe will match this suit best’.

 

Dressing Casual (Delhi Vs Mumbai), Shoes for Short skirts September 30, 2009

Yesterday, while switching channels on TV I chanced upon an interview of Sonam Kapoor talking about ‘dressing up’ in Delhi. I agree. While Bombay takes the charm out of going out, in Delhi every outing is a definite occasion. I agree that it is really comforting to go out wearing whatever you want, but really! If you are out partying, might as well dress up that way, right? Otherwise whats the point of going to an expensive place?

Casual yet dressed

Casual yet dressed

So while in Mumbai one can walk into any pub/disco/eatery in flip flops and torn jeans, no makeup or jewellery, in Delhi, it is nice to see men and women put in some effort while going out. I would have thought it human instinct (but then I guess that is a little lacking in Mumbai) to want to make a one-off ‘going-out’ an occasion to warrant a little more dressing up than going to the store. Albeit, in Mumbai the ‘going to the store’ look is also crafted carefully.

However, what is important and needed is a look that makes you look dressed up, yet not too casual. Something that makes you perfect for an evening out with a few friends while not looking like you stepped out of home wearing what you wore last night, or that you spent hours dressing up.

If you are one of those people who want to dress up but don’t really know what to wear so you fit in seamlessly with either of the crowds, I would suggest wear anything you want to, dress up as you want to, and don the right pair of shoes.

Rihanna in short skirt

Rihanna in short skirt

It is depressing to see the number of women in Mumbai who wear really chic skirts and have obviously spent time on their face and hair, and then wear a pair of flip flops. The end result is so casual, I wonder why they even put in the effort for the hair and face. Short skirts and flat chappals is not a combination I would suggest, unless you want to roam around home after a tiring evening.

So, many Indian women are placed in a quandary when it comes to footwear to go alongwith short skirts. The last thing they want to wear is something that will make them look slutty, but the last thing I would suggest in lieu of that is bedroom slipper lookalikes which make them look like they have been lounging around home. (Its Ok if you are on the beach, but most times its not the beach).

So, what do they wear?

Platforms and gladiators with skirts

Platforms and gladiators with skirts

Shoes for Short Skirts – Casual Dressing Style

Here comes in the importance of sandals. Remember those footwear one used to wear as kids? With a little heel, yet not too high? Well, for adults they make the same thing, only more suave. Of course, one can go ahead with the Indian impulse and wear something strappy, but I prefer blockier designs.

Block heeled shoe with short skirt

Block heeled shoe with short skirt

Sandals basically give the foot around an inch of height from the ground (at max) and come in various designs. If you want to make it a little more dressy than plain old sandals, kitten heels fit best. They keep the delicate feminity of the look, while emphasizing what short skirts are meant to.

Kitten heels

Kitten heels look classy

Sandals can be covered or open toed. Block heeled or pencil, plain slip-on with a strap holding down toes only, or ballerina styles or even gladiators. For a casual evening out, I would suggest a heel type that makes it comfortable for you to walk around as much as you want – platforms (cork heeled look great), wedge or square heels usually fit this bill. Pencil heels automatically increase the oomph quotient of the attire, especially slingbacks.

Short platforms with Skirt

Short platforms with Skirt

Now to the top of the shoe – ballerina styles and open toes look good, but again they become a tad more evening-ish than say, something with a buckle near the ankle and a strap covering the toes.  Practical, yet stylish without becoming dressy or slutty.

Sneakers with Short Skirt

Sneakers with Denim Short Skirt

If of a sporty kind, the personality then screams sports shoes, with ankle-length socks.  Nude shoes are also OK. This is one of the few things allowed to women and extremely well dressed men who know what they are doing.

So there you have it. A tutorial of how not to get totally ‘just-out-of-home-as-I-was’ look everytime you are out. Yet, not going the whole hog and look like you are off to a glamorous evening affair.

Shoes may not be noticed by men, but they can make or break an outfit. The right shoe can make a simple dress look glamorous, just by virtue of the being on your feet. Shoes force the way you walk and your body posture. I would say, stay away from flip flops as far as possible – they can make you waddle. And no one is allowed to waddle!

Me traveling all over in comfy shoes and skirt

Me traveling all over in comfy shoes and skirt

Confident in short skirt and heels

Confident in short skirt and heels

So try and get shoes that improve how your legs look. A little heel will help your calves look better, so if you have stocky legs, try not to go for the sneaker look. Flat shoes are great for slender women with long legs, not the usual Indian figure. But if you must wear flats, try to make them covered ballerina style shoes or stylish sandals rather than flip flops.

So go out, this festive season grab yourself some neutral, convenient sandals which you can wear anywhere you want to!

Me in Skirt and Kitten Heels

Me in Skirt and Kitten Heels

Suggested shops:

High budget:

  1. Clarks
  2. Nine West
  3. Charles & Keith
  4. Catwalk

Medium – Low Budget:

  1. Bata (perfect for the casual yet trendy look!)
  2. Shoe shops in malls like Pantaloons, Westside, Lifestyle
  3. Metro/ Regal/ Mochi
  4. Khadims/ Liberty (if you really don’t find anything elsewhere)

One thing I however ask you to stay away from are extremely chunky black sandals. They will steal the look away from your entire outfit, and truly speaking look a little dowdy. Skin coloured and light coloured sandals look best. Preferably if the sole is either leather or rubber-plastic.

Indian Sandals

Indian Sandals also look good for a casual look

PS – if you want to look glam, I suggest a pair of boots(!) or even stilettoes. Try those ankle length shoes with care – they can make you look short AND your legs calf-less. And like mentioned, flip flops are ultra-casual, but if you want a casual look, I would still suggest ones with a little heel, like Indian Sandals.

Short skirt and Boots

Short skirt and Boots

 

Small and Sweet Kitten Heels September 17, 2008

Filed under: Shoes — Dips @ 10:16 am
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“My foot’s hurt real bad.” Was my colleague rant as she hobbled down the road wearing flat chappals on Monday.
Yesterday I saw her sporting her latest chic black kitten heels. Duly admiring the asset I ask her about her foot.
“Oh its still hurting, though better than yesterday.”
“What about the heels?” I ask.
“Well, I wanted to wear nice shoes.” *Grin!*

And that, people sums up the beauty of affairs with shoes. She was in pain, but the pain diminished – by her causing more pain to herself. Idiotic? Not to her.

To most women, nothing can prep you up like a pair of shoes can – even though its something most people wont notice. You don’t need to have a substance abuse problem with shoes (ala Carrie Bradshaw), but you sure can keep yourself well stocked.

When you don’t want to wear flats, but want something to give you that slight elevation, kitten heels are the best. As the name implies they are not full blown heels, but are sweet and small like kittens. They work very well in office and out. Functional, while giving you a chic look for the fashion element.

Tiny heels with lovely designs, they elevate your foot just enough to give the impression of heels, yet are short and stable enough to be comfortable for all-day wear.

Unlike the ugy block heels of the past, kitten heels combine the svelte look of a stilletto, while curtailing it at a few millimeters. They look just amazing with full skirts. Better than the ballerina shoes or the old variety that women wore in 80s.

As with any heeled shoe the Kitten comes in a variety of toe types and designs but can wear the incongruous colours like pink really really well.

And, if like my colleague who hurt her foot and dint want to repeat her flat chappals, you want something fashionable to prep you up, I would suggest a nice kitten heel in your shoe cupboard for just these occasions.
Kitten Heels, finally, are the answer to the ugly square heeled, but oh-so-comfortable slingbacks your mother wore.