GUATEMALAN SUMMER

I recently came across the brand Ix Style, and couldn’t wait to share it with you.

Ix means “water” in Mayan, and this sandal business was launched to give children in Guatemala and elsewhere clean water.

The beautiful footwear is handcrafted by Guatemalan artisans, who are ethically treated, and paid properly for their work.

Many children have no option but to trek long distances to collect water which is often unclean. This takes time away from their education. For every pair that is purchased, Ix Style donate clean drinking water to children. This not only helps them to thrive, but also frees up their time so they can attend school.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This traditional Mayan multi-coloured option is bright and beautiful for summer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The navy colour is more muted, and complements the raw colour of the woven leather.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The white offers an easy-to-wear neutral.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try the neon trend with the yellow version.

 

The huarache sandal style is on-trend now, and set to stay thanks to the launch of the Nike version.

Ix Style also offer kids sandals, which are mini versions of the adults’.

 

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SLEEK SNEAKS

Despite being born in the U.K., and never having lived across the pond, the word “sneakers” seems to be popping into my vocabulary more and more. Alas poor “trainers”, is your end almost nigh?

Perhaps this switch is in part because the kinds of trainers I like are generally not for training purposes, and are much better suited to…well…sneaking.

I wouldn’t dream of getting deliberately sweaty in these beautifully made leather styles by Feit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The queen of trainers: these “greige” veg-tanned suede lace-up low-tops are designed to be worn without socks. The leather linings provide plenty of breathability and comfort.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These hi-tops remind me of the classic white boots of the figure skater. They give a street look when worn with the leather laces as pictured (no visible bows please!).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the most natural-looking “sand” hue, these seamless slip-ons represent the ultimate in sophisticated sports-chic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In some workplaces, you could even get away with the smarter black version with your tailored trousers.

Good-looking, comfortable footwear, made to last by true craftspeople.

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A RAINBOW OF SLIPPERS

I was strolling down Marylebone High Street in London a few weeks ago, when I came across the most appealing kids boutique: Rachel Riley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My husband and his friend started making comments about “that bird from Countdown”, but in fact this is the other Rachel Riley, who began her namesake children’s label in 1993.

The beautiful array of children’s slippers in store stuck in my head, so I knew I had to return.

 

The slippers are handmade in France, using the traditional stitch and turn method.

Linings are made from soft kid skin, and the uppers are mostly made from calf skin. The soft soles are made from pig skin, but a hard sole can be added by a local shoe repairer at an extra cost.

The delightful selection includes matte leathers in an array of colours just daring you to match them to flower girl or bridesmaid outfits.

You can also find pretty patents, fun hair-on leopard prints, neons and glitter options.

 

…sandals and elastic slip ons…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…and sweet T Bars and lace-ups: ideal for Christenings and naming ceremonies. The matching outfits are also adorable.

 

All of the slippers come nested in tissue paper, in these appealing little boxes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next time you’re near Marylebone High Street, Pont St Belgravia, or even Madison Avenue NYC, pop in to the Rachel Riley shop and feast your eyes. Be prepared to walk out with gifts for your favourite little people.

Rachel Riley also offer clothing and slippers in ladies sizes, so you can treat yourself too.

 

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NEXT BIG U.K. TREND

If you have been to the U.S.A. recently, you might have noticed that the shops are full of a certain kind of shoe.

Did you see the array of colours available in footwear made from woven elastic strips?

David Z

 

 

 

 

 

 

This selection is from New Jersey-based footwear brand Bernie Mev, and these flats and wedges are selling like hot cakes across the pond.

A large part of the attraction comes from how comfortable these shoes are (believe me, I’ve tried them on). Not only are the soles cushioned, but the elastic uppers hug your foot.

Perhaps the popularity of such comfortable shoes is also in part influenced by the “normcore” trend: a movement towards dressing to fit in.

Although they are available from many shoe shops and department stores in the U.S.A., Bernie Mev shoes are hard to come by over here in Blighty.

Get ahead of the crowd, and try one of these options:

Demure

 

 

 

 

 

 

Try them in pewter, in a simple flat pump style.

 

Hallie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How about this mary jane style in bronze? The platform and wedge mean you get extra height, with no pain. The peep toe gives a little ventilation for the spring and summer.

 

Comfi

 

 

 

 

 

 

This version is both girly in pink, and sporty with the curvy, flexible sole.

 

Crystal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These sandals would be good for holiday, as they’re lightweight, comfy and cool.

 

You may think Bernie Mev footwear looks unusual, but in a few months they’ll take off in the U.K.

Will you be a trend leader or follower? Let me know what you think in the comments or on twitter @shoeconsultant

 

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WHY WE LOVE DILAPIDATION

I recently went to the Ruin Lust exhibition at Tate Britain. Perhaps it is rather a morbid fascination, but I love to see once-great buildings in a state of decay and reclaimed by nature.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re interested in this sort of thing, you will love the photos on Derelict London.

Anyway, all of this made me think about the connection we have with old and battered things. Typically, my mind then wandered to footwear.

What is it about a well-loved pair of boots that makes them so…well…loved?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most footwear requires some degree of wearing in. During that period, you may feel hate towards your boots for the blisters, pain, and maybe even bleeding they are causing.

Once the boots stop rubbing, you will wear them to many places. They may take you to a festival, out shopping, on a date, to work, or even a job interview. They may keep your feet dry in a rain deluge, or help you to climb a long hill.

Those boots will gradually, and obligingly, form to the shape of your feet.

The journeys you take with your boots will bond you to them. You will appreciate that they are your most hard-working item of clothing.

Does this help you to understand why you feel such pangs of regret when you finally have to say goodbye to old boots?

Tell me about your favourite pair of boots in the comments or tweet me @shoeconsultant.

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DUNE ST. PANCRAS – NOW OPEN

Exciting news for lovers of Dune‘s brand of affordable, wearable footwear: the new St. Pancras shop is now open.

Dune St Pancras

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here is my pick of the best Dune has to offer this season:

 

 

 

 

 

 

In “nude” leather with a bejewelled suede toecap, this is a sleek loafer, with just enough detailing to display your fashion savvy. From the premium Dune Black range, sourced in Europe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With neutral beige and black, and a soft pink T-bar, this leather wedge sandal is easy to wear for a summer day-to-evening look. Try with beige chinos and a pink top or belt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love silver as a summer neutral, especially on these gorgeous flatform sneakers. Croc is the texture of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a chic evening look in a seasonal fashion colour, you can’t go wrong with these suede sandals. They’re a great way of spicing up your LBD.

If you’re heading to the races, or a summer wedding or anywhere involving grass or uneven surfaces…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

…go for a block heel like these bronze beauties…

…or pretty flats like these:

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t forget to pop in to the shiny new Dune next time you’re in the prettiest station in London.

 

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WIN BRIDAL SHOES – RAINBOW CLUB

With spring being a time of weddings and proposals, (and the birth of extremely cute baby animals), it seemed apt to draw your attention to Devon’s best-kept secret.

Before your mind wanders to cream teas and childhood trips to Dawlish, I must tell you that a fabulous wedding shoe and accessories brand has its headquarters in that beautiful county.

Rainbow Club has been designing bridal footwear since the mid 80s, and now you can win a pair of your own to make you feel like the most beautiful bride.

Avanti

Avanti

Who wouldn’t look pretty in these 2-parts with their pointed toes, delicately shaped satin pieces, and glitter-wrapped bows? With 9cm heels and secure ankle straps, you will be comfortable all day and night.

Carmel

Carmel

For that chic Audrey Hepburn look, have you thought of flats? Not only will they carry you pain-free way beyond your first dance, but they’ll add an element of individuality to your look. The petal-shaped toes would look dainty peeping out from under a full-length gown, or would complement a ballerina-length 50s style.

Christy

Christy

Are you a girl who likes a heel? If so, these 3/4 cut courts with cross-over satin toes are for you. The glittery platform means you get the 11.5cm height, without being too much on your toes.

Enter below for your chance of winning a pair of gorgeous bridal shoes!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Terms and Conditions
There is no cash alternative.
Open to entrants in the UK and Ireland. One entry per person only.
This competition will end on May 23rd 2014 at Midnight.
The prize will be the choice of any pair of shoes (up to a value of £100) from the Rainbow Club collection. Rainbow Club will cover postage costs.
The winner will be chosen at random from those who enter and the decision final.
The winner will be contacted via email.
Prizes cannot be returned, refunded or exchanged
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A TERRIFYING TRUE STORY

If you have been reading my blog for a while, you will know that I take footwear seriously. Of course I’m aware that many things matter more in life, but my obsession and my entire work life are focused on shoes.

You can therefore imagine the shock and horror I felt when during Christmas dinner, my dad told me this story:

He married my mother in the early 1970s, and as was the norm for grooms at that time, wore a velour suit with flared trousers. Rather than splash out on brand new shoes, Dad decided to wear his black patent boots. He had bought that pair to go with a dinner suit, and not yet had occasion to wear them. My father would wear them on his wedding day.

As was the wish of my mother’s traditional English parents, my mother and father were married in a Church of England church.

In the Church of Scotland (which my father was accustomed to), it was not required to kneel at any point in a church service or wedding.

The December wedding went smoothly to everyone’s joy, and later, in the room where Dad and my mum spent their first night as husband and wife, my father took his boots off. Such a relief after a long day on his feet.

It is hard now to know what made this man turn those boots over, but when he did, he blushed from his toes to his (even then balding) head.

There were labels on the soles of those boots. Those labels told a story all of their own. They were bright red, shouted out “sale”, and (as my father realised) let everybody know when he knelt down in the church, how much they had been full-price, and the discounted price my frugal father paid.

The moral of the story is of course: REMOVE THE LABELS FROM YOUR SHOES!

Do you have an embarrassing shoe-related story to tell? If so, please write it here in the comments, or tweet me @shoeconsultant

Photo courtesy of Photography Life
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ISA TAPIA

Despite my frustrations at not being able to find the complete wonderful SS2014 Isa Tapia range for sale online, I thought I would share the best of what I could find to buy (and a couple that I couldn’t).

Isa Tapia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A beautiful embroidered court shoe, great for weddings as the bride’s something blue, or to complete a guest’s outfit.

 

Isa Tapia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In silver: a metallic neutral that will take you from beach to bar. If you only buy one sandal this year, make it this simple lizard-print leather style with scalloped edges.

 

Isa Tapia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a dash of 1950s retro, pick this sweet almond-toed style with its flattering ankle strap and V-throat. I love the powerful combination of black, white and red.

 

Isa Tapia 4 sale

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For a fun animal-print look, try these in tan hair-on with their two different spot sizes. The heel is well-positioned to prevent wobble.

 

Isa Tapia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Domed black studs give an edge to this sleek cut-out sandal. Wear these with playful tailoring from Cos to show your fashion credentials.

 

Isa Tapia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The key feature of these red suede sandals is the carved wooden heel, with its inverted comma-shaped cut-out. Great for adding height and impact without looking slutty.

 

Isa Tapia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These court shoes are covered in subtle details, such as tear-drop-shaped cut-outs, white lizard-print leather with leopard spots and black studs, and the red leather-covered studded heel. Wear with a white, black or even red suit for high impact.

Here are a couple of styles from www.isatapia.com. Let me know if you find them to buy!

Isa Tapia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Isa Tapia

 

 

 

 

 

 

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MAKE YOUR OWN SHOES

Do you like to be unique, or long to wear something made-to-measure? Have you ever wanted to make your own shoes? Perhaps you know someone who’d be thrilled if you paid for them to learn shoe-making.

I have compiled a list of shoe-making courses in the U.K. for you , so that you or your favourite person can make a very special and unique pair.

 

 

 

 

From their half-day Summer Sandal Making workshop to the 10 day intensive Mastering Footwear course, I Can Make Shoes offer a variety of tempting opportunities in their London studio.

 

Prescott Mackay

 

 

 

 

Prescott & Mackay are another big name in shoe-making workshops, and offer the largest variety of course options. The One Day Moccasin Course is run by the expert in this construction Rose Choules, and they not only offer courses in London, but also in San Francisco, U.S.A. and Melbourne, Australia.

 

 

 

 

For something outside the norm, go back in time with Sarah Juniper‘s Gloucestershire-based Historical Shoemaking Courses. You can make medieval turnshoes in three days, or Blücher boots in five. Primarily for reenactors, or perhaps anyone interested in historical footwear manufacturing methods.

 

 

 

 

UAL not only run the famous BA (Hons) Cordwainers Footwear: Product Design and Innovation, but also short courses in shoe-making, pattern cutting and design. Who wouldn’t want this famous institution on their C.V.?

 

 

 

 

De Montfort: another university famous for its heritage in footwear design tuition, also offers a short course in footwear design and making. You can opt for just the design day, the footwear fundamentals day, or days 3 and 4 when you learn pattern cutting and make a shoe.

 

 

 

 

 

Carréducker (run by bespoke shoemakers James Ducker and Deborah Carré) offer their London-based shoe making course in a traditional evening class format (be warned, a pair of shoes will take you three terms to complete). They also offer intensive pattern making and shoe making options, and if you so wish one-to-one tuition.

Green Shoes logo v. smallest

 

 

If you fancy travelling to peaceful Dartmoor to learn the craft, Green Shoes offer 1 day shoemaking and 2 day bootmaking options. Be warned: their courses are very popular so you will need to book well in advance.

 

 

 

Paul Thomas offers his expertise in another London-based course. This one caters for those who need to learn flexibly. My tip: ensure you are willing to put in the 80 hours it takes to make your pair before embarking on this shoe adventure.

 

Let me know how you get on with your shoe education.

 

If you run a non-web-based course in the U.K. that I haven’t featured, please e-mail the details and your logo to consultant@shoeconsultant.co.uk , and I will happily add them to this post.

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