5 THINGS EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SHOES – 1

Yesterday evening, I gave a talk for a fabulous event held by Smart Works Inspire: the fundraising arm of the charity Smart Works.

Smart Works dress and coach women for job interviews, and I have been working closely with this charity for some years.

My talk was titled “5 Things every woman should know about shoes”. These top tips had quite an impact on the audience. One lady tweeted “after your talk on top 5 shoe tips I’m off to clear out my shoe collection. Here I come @SmartWorksHQ #inspirespeakingevent”.

Smart Works always need work-suitable footwear, so if you are having a clear-out, please do look up your local branch and consider donating your collection.

I didn’t want you to miss out on these life-changing pieces of advice, so here’s tip 1.

 

Shoes should be foot-shaped

 

When you’re buying high heels, look at the angle of the area where the fleshy underside of your heel sits. Is it at a steep angle like the style on the left?

If so, even if the shoe is the right length for you, your foot will slide forward and your toes will be squashed or spill out over the front. There will also be a gap at the back of the shoe making your footwear look too big.

If you pick a style with a flatter area for your heel (it won’t be completely flat but just at a less steep angle), then your weight will be more evenly distributed, not just pushed onto the balls of your feet. This angle can also help with balance, fit and general support.

 

Keep visiting the blog, or follow me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, to find out when the other four tips go live.

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BRIGHT BROGUES

  • Bold blue
    Bold blue
    Don't let cloudy summer days get you down. Brighten up your mood by wearing these with dark yellow, mustard or paler blues.
  • Feisty fuchsia
    Feisty fuchsia
    Make a bold but practical decision by complementing your trouser suit with these beauties: an outfit that works for weddings or work days.
  • Gregarious green
    Gregarious green
    Pair this colour with grey and white for a crisp look, without looking dull or wintry. These also look great with navy or with indigo denim.
  • Bewitching black
    Bewitching black
    The obvious option for work is this soft black suede. This is an all year round colour, so would make a good investment.

 

These Yull brogues are great for unpredictable U.K. days with scorching sun, North winds, and rain: all within the space of an hour. Don’t be the one in soggy sandals.

 

The Brighton brogue offers great value-for-money with beautiful calf leather uppers, and full leather linings to help absorb moisture and keep your feet comfortable.

If you like these, check out Yull’s Classic range of heels which are all made in England.

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PUMPS WITH AN EDGE

I haven’t been in Next’s shoe department for a while, but I found the displays so appealing in my local branch, that I couldn’t resist a peek.

I always try to recommend products with leather uppers and linings, as they are much more breathable and comfortable than synthetic options. These pumps jumped out at me with their bargain price and quality materials.

There’s something really appealing about the classic ballerina with an unusual metal trim. The off white colour can be worn at work with cropped tailored trousers, or even as a comfortable wedding guest option.

Of course there is also an easy black option: perfect for serious days.

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COME AND SEE THE SHOE CONSULTANT

Will you be in London on June 24th? Come and see Susannah Davda a.k.a. The Shoe Consultant give you Life Lessons Every Woman Should Know, along with Julie Hutchison and Emma Case.

Tickets for this event on June 24th are free, please register for tickets via the below link:

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/smart-works-inspire-speaking-event-life-lessons-every-woman-should-know-tickets-17372452473 

There are limited tickets so if you would like to come along please book your ticket via this link as soon as possible.

The accessible West London location will be announced closer to the time.

We look forward to meeting you!

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FESTIVAL FOOTWEAR

  • Night vision
    Night vision
    These mint coloured ASOS wellies actually glow in the dark! As well as looking cute, you'll be able to find them easily for a late night loo run.
  • Comfy glam
    Comfy glam
    You can count on Birkenstock to offer excellent comfort and support. The copper straps with a hint of iridescence ensure these don't look too earthy.
  • Waterproof art
    Waterproof art
    This season's Hunter design in a mix of blues boasts artistic geometric panelling. The taller height protects you from deep mud.
  • Gladiatrix
    Gladiatrix
    Beautiful with 1970s maxi dresses or hot-pants. These Daniel gladiators are very nicely made and offer a comfortable upper and footbed, both in leather.
  • Rock n' rubber
    Rock n' rubber
    From Be Only, these are not ridiculously priced considering the luxurious look. They will also go with everything and glam up your 2 day old outfit.
  • A flatform above
    A flatform above
    With adjustable straps, these Monki slides not only elevate you above the floor of the port-a-loos and look glam, but they'll fit you perfectly too.
  • Nautical chic
    Nautical chic
    You can count on Joules to add a bit of femininity to practical country wear. These red-soled polka dot boots don't take themselves too seriously.
  • Washably simple
    Washably simple
    These Melissa sandals have a simple look, with thoughtful details like the cut-out front strap. Perfect for subtly showing your fashion credentials.
  • Not for kids
    Not for kids
    Do you ever wish those frog wellies with the eyes came in your size? Juju and Kigu have collaborated to bring you adult-sizes rhino boots.
  • VIP level
    VIP level
    These Nicholas Kirkwood beauties really are for sunshine only. I love the in-your-face pink and animal texture. True happy day sandals.

With festival season upon us, we’ll all be trying to second-guess the unpredictable U.K. weather.

Luckily there are some beautiful and comfortable options for both rain and shine. Just click through the slide show for my selection of the best.

Want my recommendation? Bring a pair of wellies AND a pair of sandals (wear one for the journey to avoid carrying both).

Now go ahead and get prepared for your weekend under canvas…

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WHY I LOVE SEAGRASS FLIP-FLOPS

They’re comfortable, breathable, and have a more natural and high-end look than plastic equivalents.

Seagrass is a finely woven straw-like material. I like to think of these flip-flops as flat espadrilles. Very classy.

Collage my feet

 

The sole of these flip-flops will start life flat, but with wear, will curve a little around your feet. This creates a very comfortable bespoke footbed for your tootsies. The outsoles are made from lightweight EVA, which I have found to be more grippy than other harder sandal sole materials (I blush when I remember a particularly steep hill in Madeira).

Another great thing about seagrass is that this natural material ensures your flip-flops are never too hot to put back on your feet, no matter how scorching the sun is.

These fine flip-flops don’t last forever, so I was glad when I realised that Monsoon/Accessorize have a great selection at affordable prices every Spring/Summer season.

I tend to opt for fabric or polyester uppers, as the synthetic leather versions are more likely to rub.

These are a few of my favourites from Spring/Summer 2015:

A tropical print with little bead, parrot and leaf charms

For minimalists without being completely plain

Something more playful with neon animal print

Day to evening glam in navy with gold beads

Perfect with white linen trousers or a cotton cover-up

 

Let me know whether you share my love of seagrass in the comments or on Twitter @ShoeConsultant

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CHEER UP YOUR FEET

The sun may not be shining, but sandal days are near. Get prepared for summer with these adorable sandals from Paul Smith.

The colour combinations are unusual enough to stand out from the crowd, but easy enough to co-ordinate with your favourite sun dress, shorts, or cropped trousers.

 

Nude and black are surprisingly complementary. The sky blue in the sole gives a lighter look.

 

This combination of neutrals is anything but dull. The silver adds glamour, black and tan are sophisticated, and white keeps the look from being too dark.

The uppers of these sandals contrast matte leather with patent in a chic dark navy. The yellow through the sole gives a younger, more fashion-forward aesthetic.

This colourway gives a playful look, but these sandals are still really wearable with the supportive straps and moderate 6cm stacked block heel.

 

These styles are real investments: With their classic styling, they will last you season after season, and through some wonderful holidays too!

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ULTIMATE SHOES FOR NURSES

  • Boyish brogue
    Boyish brogue
    Androgynous-style shoes can look very chic, especially in smaller sizes. Clarks offer these in half sizes and narrow, standard & wide fittings.
  • Grippy wedge
    Grippy wedge
    These high-quality Daniel pumps offer a good amount of slip-resistance due to the lugs on the sole. The leather upper and lining give breathability.
  • Classic Mary Jane
    Classic Mary Jane
    Although not completely silent, the heels on these strap shoes give a cute 1960s look. Duo offer three width fittings in this all leather classics.
  • Wedge loafer
    Wedge loafer
    Packed with comfort technology, these leather-lined FitFlop loafers are made feminine with a touch of patent, and a lower front.
  • Criss-cross Mary Jane
    Criss-cross Mary Jane
    If you're opting for a flat heel, add elegance with these slender elastic straps. Ecco describe the PU sole as flexible and hard-wearing.
  • Textured pump
    Textured pump
    With a comfortable 2.5cm heel, textured leather (not too textured to clean easily) and sexy V-notch, these Gabor pumps give a look of Parisian chic.
  • Faux lace-up
    Faux lace-up
    Elasticated laces give a lace-up look with the ease of a slip-on. Josef Seibel provides a leather upper and lining and a flexible, lightweight, durable sole.
  • Almond toe slip-on
    Almond toe slip-on
    A hint of textural glam is added to these Geox points, with subtle snake-effect panels. Available in half sizes, incorporating a grippy rubber sole.
  • Cut-away slip-on
    Cut-away slip-on
    Less quirky than some of Camper's styles, but still with an individual look and practical rubber sole. The open sides will keep you cool for summer.
  • Pretty pump
    Pretty pump
    This low wedge pump is given a pretty bow (albeit tricky to clean). Hotter "Pyramid foam cushioning" acts as "a cushion to the balls of your feet".
  • X-strap court
    X-strap court
    If you like a little more height, try this 4.5cm heel Mary Jane from Ecco. The sole is quiet PU, and the lining is leather and cushioned under foot.
  • Brogue slip-on
    Brogue slip-on
    A slightly louder option (in volume), but highly individual, this Rieker slip-on with its 4cm heel fully covers your feet without looking mannish.
  • Bow flatform
    Bow flatform
    This low platform adds height without putting weight on to the balls of your feet. The double bow adds femininity to these Gabor pumps.
  • Asymmetric T-bar
    Asymmetric T-bar
    These high quality all leather Tracey Neuls T-bars with rubber soles are quite an investment, but would certainly ensure your individual style shines out.
  • Moccasin wedge
    Moccasin wedge
    These Hotter slip-ons come in half sizes and standard or extra wide fit. Good foot coverage with a more feminine PU wedge and sleek design lines.

 

I was chatting to my friend (about shoes – what else?) at the weekend. She described the criteria nurses like herself have for the footwear they wear with their uniforms, and how she often buys her work footwear in the U.S.

 

✓ Comfort: On your feet for long shifts

✓ Low heel or flat: To move about quickly and comfortably

✓ Something different: When wearing a uniform, shoes let your personality shine

✓ Quiet: No clip-clopping around the ward like Barbara Windsor in Carry On Doctor

✓ Black

✓ Affordable

✓ Leather: To be wipe clean

 

It’s clearly massively impractical and bad for the British economy, for all nursing staff to cross the Atlantic every time they need new work shoes. With that in mind, I’ve scoured the brands available in the U.K. which meet the requirements of hard-working nurses (and waitresses, bar staff, care assistants…).

Not everyone is allowed or wants to wear Crocs or black trainers, and particularly when you wear a dress type uniform, other styles can look more professional.

Enjoy clicking through the slide show. I hope you find something special which helps you to stand out from the crowd.

Remember:

  • Leather linings are the most comfortable, as they wick away moisture from your feet.
  • Consider investing in a quality pair, which could last at least twice as long as a cheaper style.

 

Please write a comment if you like this feature, or if you would like to recommend any shoe styles or brands.

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TOP 15 COMFY SANDALS

  • Woven wedge
    Woven wedge
    The dark tan of these leather APC sandals is beautifully warm against all skin tones. The light colour of the suede wedge wrap lightens the look.
  • Bright & simple
    Bright & simple
    Yellow is a more wearable colour than you might think. It perfectly sets off neutrals in your clothing like navy or beige. Thanks J. Crew.
  • Light wedge
    Light wedge
    These surprisingly lightweight black and pale pink & Other Stories wedges are great for those of you who love black, but need a less heavy look for summer.
  • Statement wedge
    Statement wedge
    This colour and print combination shouldn't work, but somehow does. The triangular cut-outs and all leather upper and lining add breathability.
  • Metallic fringe
    Metallic fringe
    Pale gold is a pretty summer neutral, which is great for day to evening wear. Think how much space you could save in your suitcase with these J.Crews.
  • Simply coral
    Simply coral
    These Sol Sana flats offer plenty of support (and no escaped toes). The colour gives a fashion aesthetic, as good with dresses as cropped tailored trousers.
  • Raffia flat
    Raffia flat
    J. Crew give us an unexpected combination of metallic with raffia texture, to add interest to your flats. The wraps around the ankles give a relaxed look.
  • Metallic flatform
    Metallic flatform
    From the quirky Taiwanese brand "All Black", these easy Bronze sandals show that the flatform trend is still hot.
  • Pale flat
    Pale flat
    Made in Portugal, these quality leather sandals are not only APC's finest minimalist chic, but are comfortable enough to wear all summer day long.
  • Iridescent snake
    Iridescent snake
    There's something very pretty about these strappy sandals from J. Crew. The multi-toned effect of the snake textured leather adds glamour.
  • X-strap flat
    X-strap flat
    Although they give a nod to the Birkenstock trend, these comfortable elasticated & Other Stories flats are thankfully too glam to be "ugly shoes".
  • Red wood
    Red wood
    The Scandi clog look is updated this season with these scarlet sandals from Cos. Comfort from a light wooden heel, platform, elastic straps & padding.
  • Gold bling
    Gold bling
    Fed up of only finding pale gold sandals? These brassy gold J. Crew ankle strap flats are great for matching with your jewellery for a dressier look.
  • Soft & silver
    Soft & silver
    The leather soles of Ancient Greek Sandals form to your feet over time for optimum comfort. The quality silver leather of the straps is pretty and comfy.
  • Airy slide
    Airy slide
    Although they're known for gladiator-style footwear, Ancient Greek Sandals have pared it back this season with these perforated slides.

 

I trawled the streets of London’s West End (it’s a tough job…) to bring you this selection of the most comfortable and beautiful sandals in the shops.

Are you looking for something blingy and flat for day to evening wear, or a minimal wedge to set off your work outfit? There’s a style for every occasion here. Enjoy!

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SHOE PERSONALITY QUIZ

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