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Shoes for the Discerning Indian Woman

Jutis – for Rainy season…& Breach Candy July 19, 2013

It has started raining in Mumbai. Let me amend that sentence.

It has been raining in Mumbai since before Summer ended, and there is copious amounts of water pouring from the sky at any given time of the day except when I leave for office. *breaths in*. Which makes me sad.

I have not had a single rainy day off. Never in school, and not in office. Such is life.

However, I do have bright, zany, shiny footwear to repel those evil puddles and light up these working days!

Now, the Indian Juti is an awesome footwear. It is ballerina type, and it cut low on the sides, showcasing more of the foot that the more famous ballet slippers. Plus, the jutis have a lot of intricate design and handwork done on them. Traditionally from northern India, the term literally means ‘shoe‘ in feminine (as in, Juta is masculine and used to denote more heavy type of footwear. Men have Jutis as well)

juti 2 Juti pic

However, traditionally, the Juti is made of leather. This makes it a little uncomfortable in the initial days when you are breaking it in, and also makes it a difficult footwear for all those rainy days.

Which, when you are living in a city like Mumbai or Calcutta ( Kolkata) is 10 months out of the 12 (figurative). The sad part of which is the damage they wreak on leather footwear through the myriad potholes filled with water.

Now, I don’t know if you have heard of this place in South Mumbai called ‘Breach Candy‘. It is next to the sea, and is a narrow uphill road. Its remarkable feature is the plethora of shoe shops on either side of the road!

Shoes! Everywhere! And oh! so many. I love the place.

MBMapBreachCandyEDIT

So when in June my mother came down for a visit, I made my way there with her, for not only is it about a lot of shoe shops, it is also a nice quaint neighborhood where one can spend a lot of time doing nothing. Oh! and it has a number of coffee shops and bakeries. What more can you ask for eh?

Walking around Breach Candy, it is almost impossible not to buy shoes. And, in one of the shops as we went in, I spotted these bright blue jutis.

I put them on, only to realize they were made of rubber! Not a bit of canvas or leather near these things! How delightful! Waterproof Jutis!

Mu Jutis

They have a base color of black, with colored thread embroidery all over it – in blue, orange and silver. The piping of the shoe is silver as well. Imatches very well with jeans, and also any salwar or churidar. They are super comfortable to walk, with enough friction at the base.

Since then, I have paired this pair with jeans a number of times, not only on weekends, but also to my ultra professional office (on Fridays) and had pleasing results. Whenever I need to step out of the car and access that shop, through a puddle, these shoes cause me no worry.

By virtue of being made of rubber, they dont get too wet, and they dry pretty soon. Also, after being wet so many times, they still look as good as new!

These are now my favorite go-to shoes for Fridays and weekends, when its raining.

my waterproof juti

 

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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!!