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.

 

Strappy Black Sandals – my go-to party shoes! August 10, 2013

It is always nice to wear heels. However, with driving for more than 3 hours a day and incessant rains, it has been a chore to wear shoes that need buckling at the ankles, or have heels that can slip on wet streets.

The other day when we went out for dinner with family, I thought it was the perfect time to bring out my strappy black heels. Hubby was driving, and we were going to a restaurant which meant – no walking through rainy puddles!

They take me about four inches further away from the ground, and make me feel oh-so-happy. There is something about a delicate pencil heel that can make your back straighter, your stride longer and your smile wider. 🙂

Strappy Black High heeled Sandal

Strappy Black High heeled Sandal

I bought this pair a while ago from Catwalk, and considering the delicate nature of Catwalk shoes, have worn them sporadically.

The black colour ensures it matches most clothes, especially skinny jeans – the silhouette it provides is very sleek. There should be one such shoe in every girls wardrobe. A staple which can be worn with almost any colour, can match almost any occasion, and is feminine.

The criss-cross pattern of the straps makes this very feminine, and the gold/metallic loops on the side save it from being too black.

The material is a soft suede, with bits of elastic near the ankle which helps me slip on the shoe fast despite its steep angle due to the heel and the many straps.

This design per se is pretty standard, but there is a specific pair made for every girl out there. This is mine.

strappy heels 1The shoe is super comfortable notwithstanding the pencil heel. It is very well balanced, and the straps hold my feet in place perfectly. There is an ankle buckle, which is a little difficult to tie by oneself. The buckle is a small delicate thing, and the strap is as wide as the buckle. This makes it a little difficult to put it through the buckle keyhole, especially for someone with long fingernails. In my opinion they could have put a simple faux buckle, but then this is a small point, and probably makes the shoe more stable.

Strappy high heeled black sandal with open buckle

Strappy high heeled black sandal with open buckle

All said and done, they are a definite plus to my shoe wardrobe, and a very comfortable pair!

 

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)

 

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

 

Shoes in 18th Century Europe (1700’s) October 26, 2009

I had once picked up a beautiful coffee table book from Landmark in Calcutta (it is now called Starmark), which traced shoes since as far in History as known, in Europe to date.

What was remarkable while browsing through the book was that shoes have barely changed since their inception. Sure, today there are computer-generated ergonomic and machine made shoes with material unavailable in the 15th, 16th of even 19th Centuries. But, the shoe in-principle, has remained the same.

To talk of not too far a past, I thought I will mention a little about the shoes worn in the 18th Century, or 1700’s. This was the era when Europe was still united and society was divided into the rich and poor. The rich aristocracy wore every possible type of grandeur, dresses were grand and stiff and the shoes matched the flavour of the day!

Women’s Shoes

18th Century Shoe Painting

In the 18th Century, shoes with heels were very much de-rigeur. Typically, the shoes were covered with cloth, and these were embroidered intricately with flowers, and usually women wore them to match with their outfit (as today!). The cloth was backed by a stiff material giving the shoe its characteristic shape.

The rich also wore shoes embedded with precious stones and wearing a gold shoe with red rubies along with a dress of golden lace and rubies was but natural.

The toes of the shoes were extremely pointed, and the heels were wooden, curving inwards. The heels too were embedded with jewels and sometimes embroidered. These shoes were usually known as Clogs.

!8th Century Italian Shoes

Most times the shoes were covered on all fronts, thereby helping the wearer brave the cold weathers in Europe (it was afterall the Little Ice Age, and the weather was much colder than today). The shoe top was then embellished by buckles which were made as pretty as possible using the materials allowed by the social status of the wearer. A rich person would wear precious stones, diamonds and so on, while a peasant’s would probably be un-embellished.

Since the shoes were meant to accompany the dresses, and made with specially dye-ed cloth, their colours were spectacular and varied. It is a pleasure to look at these shoes. The dresses were made of the height of the person, so when wearing a stiff brocade gown, the hem would be till the ankle of the wearer and the shoe would be clearly visible to another person, making it important to wear matching (and pretty) shoes for important social functions.

Yellow silk shoes with buckles, French, c.1760s

Yellow silk shoes with buckles, French, c.1760s

I do not think they are as comfortable as shoes available in the market today, but one must give credit to the pretty specimens that are available in museums and antique shops.

Mid-1700s Silk Shoe

Towards the end of the century however, with the Napoleonic war and French Revolution as well as the advent of Muslins, and reduction of the number of jewelery and colours worn, as well as the movement of womens dresses from the stiff brocaded and hooped versions to soft, flowing lines, shoes also underwent a change. Heels and stiff shoes seem to have lost their popularity. The trend seen in early 19th Century made its appearance, with flat ballet-like shoes, tied with ribbons around the ankle. These were made of soft silk and muslin and though very pretty, they were delicate and needed replacements pretty soon. The advantage of these shoes however was the fact that they could be repaired at home – much cheaper!

Political Evolution

Satin Slippers

Satin Slippers lined with Linen

Heels seemed to signify social status, as people in the higher social strata did do any manual labour and did not to walk too much and hence wore very high heels to signify the same. The lower strata poorer people did not wear very high heels as most of their work had to be done themselves, and the could not afford carriages for short distances. Considering that most streets were cobbled at the time, wearing even 5-inch of such inwardly curved heels and walking in the elaborate clothes fashionable at the time was definitely a feat! With the French Revolution, heels reduced in size and as they tended towards vanishing, they signified how everyone was of the same social status.

In fact, in the 18th Century, the first Ballet slippers were made, and they had  high heels! The toes were padded so one could dance on the toes. It was only later that flat ballet shoes evolved.

While the shoes with heels made walking difficult because of the high and difficultly balanced heels, the flat shoes (called slippers) that came up after them also made walking difficult on the often muddy and slippery roads, especially in the country and in England. Also, since their soles were thin, the wearer was often subjected to cold and it was definitely not a healthy fashion trend!

Shoes over the Century

Shoes over the 18th Century

Mens Shoes

18th Century Man with Red Heels

Men in the 18th Century were as, if not more flamboyant than the women in their clothing. To go with this, their shoes too were flamboyant. Though men usually wore black shoes with white buckles, it did not stop them from embellishing them with precious stones to match with the rest of their attire. Rubied heels for red-lined coats, emeralds for green lined coats and diamonds if the wearer was decked out in silver lace! The elaborateness of the dress as well as the number of jewels worn showed the social stature of the person and hence was an important indicator.

While the poorer people wore plain shoes, the aristocrats wore extremely high heels making them walk ‘mincingly’ so as not to lose their balance. The

Working class shoes

high heels apart from showing the social stature by making it impossible for the wearer to do physical labour, also balanced the outline of the person. With dresses that balooned around the waist with stiff materials and multiple ‘skirts’, and head covered by towering wigs, it was essential that the human outline be maintained and that was achieved by the high heeled shoes.

However, men indulged in many more activities than women and these primarily comprised of hunting/ riding and the Army. While the heeled shoes were alright for wearing to parties, it was a practical necessity to have shoes which could be worn for riding horses and walking and running. These were the Hessians or Boots, as we know them.

French Military Boots

18th C French Military Boots

The hessians were knee high riding boots made of leather, without heels, and definitely useful while riding a horse as they would help when the leg chafes against the horse. However, in this century of extreme fashion, they were confined only to wearing in the Country, which meant not in society. They were worn when men went for out-door activities, but were a definite no-no in polite circles or when meeting guests at home.

The shine of the hessians were a matter of pride to the wearer, and they were frequently adorned with gold or silver tassles or lined with fur.

Political Evolution

1786 Mens Fashion

With the war, the heels of men’s shoes also went down. However, more drastic to note was the advent of Hessians into every-day acceptable wear. By the early 19th Century Hessians were worn by men in Town (i.e. London or Paris or equivalent cities) though not worn for evening events.

In the late 1700’s, the dressing had reduced in grandeur to signify democracy and the shoes too had sobered down. Boots were still making an entry into society, but calf length boots allowable in town-wear. The shine on the shoes determined the wearer’s status and the style of the top of the shoe  -tassles, fur or embroidery- determined his style quotient!

For this post I have sourced information and pictures from: Wikipedia, Encarta, Doubledeckerbus, Lousiana State Museum, Shoe Blog, Bata Shoe Museum, Canada, Tongue in Cheek, The Costumers Manifesto, Colonial Williamsberg, Humanities etc. Thanks! 🙂

 

My Walking Shoes October 12, 2009

The Shoes
The Shoes

I bought this pair of pretty looking heels from TresMode early last year, and have worn them on a number of occasions. However, what stands out the most in my mind is the fact that whenever I have worn them, I have not usually planned a day filled with walking around. Quite the reverse.

Since these pumps have a decent amount of heel height and are pointed towards to toes, I usually reserve them for occasions which involve more sitting and less walking. Like going for dinner or a movie rather than going shopping.

But, every time I have worn these shoes, my quiet outing has been converted into one where I have ended up walking around a lot!

So I call them my walking shoes.

With Pink Dress
With Pink Dress

With Multicoloured skirt

With Multicoloured skirt

A pair of pretty cmfortable pumps, they are well balanced and a colour unusual enough to match grey, blue and green pretty well, as well as compliment colours like pink with which I have worn them as well.

I especially like the small bow made in front with the faux leather, with rivets at the ends, which gives it its unique look.  The detailing on the front and sides are thread-work in a clever design which gives the shoe the look of a cowboy accessory, yet be feminine and anything but thanks to its one and half inch heel and pointed toe. The sole is also very pretty, black with the same  intricate design etched onto the hard material. I often have the urge to walk over sand or soft soil, just to see how the imprint of the shoe sole looks!

Let me give a few distinct examples of the shoe’s effect. There was this wonderful day when I was supposed to meet someone for a movie, and then that person would drop me back home after dinner. Not a chance of walking more than the required few steps in the theater and the adjoining diner. However, as luck would have it, we found the diner closed, and then proceeded to walk all the way around the area, chatting and having a good time, and yes, we ate something for dinner. But we walked kilometers!

Then there was the time I went on vacation. This particular day we were supposed to go on a cruise, so I expected a relaxed day on a boat, and really, no walking. So I wore the heels. And then we landed in Evian-les-Baines, and had to walk around that delightful town, through its uphill mountainous roads. Good fun, but walking for more than 10 hours is something this shoe was not designed for!

Yesterday, I was supposed to meet someone for breakfast, and I did not anticipate anything more than an hour in a restaurant. It ended up being a three hour walk through an extensive mall with cobblestones after the meal!

Walking Around Evian

Walking Around Evian-les-Bains

However, though every time I have worn these shoes anticipating a quiet time, I end up having a lot of wandering around and meandering through all types of streets. But it has always been good fun and I have enjoyed every moment of it. So, in a way I also look at them as the shoes I have fun with.

I must say, after all the walking I have put this pair through, they look very well, without a scratch or any other complaint. The only complaint that comes is from my feet by having to walking in heels over terrain definitely not meant for them (hilly areas etc) – so its not their fault at all. However, to that my shoes have a response. Recently I went to a mall and got a free foot massage the day I was wearing these shoes!

Walking Shoes

Walking Shoes

I must say, Tresmode has made a very pretty and sturdy pair of shoes, but they hold special mention in my shoe closet because of the special connection they have with me. They always give me a good time, lots of walking around with friends and even free foot massages!

They are indeed, my favourite walking shoes now 🙂

PS – I would like to thank Tresmode once again for the great quality, fit and endurability of their shoes which has enabled me to complete all my impromptu treks!

 

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