TICKLE YOUR FOOTBUDS

  • Cool contrast
    Cool contrast
    Shades of tan and blue leather create a surprisingly pleasing colour combination. These Aldo slip-ons look great with all shades of denim.
  • Swinging suede
    Swinging suede
    With a long sweeping fringe, these Kendall & Kylie "nude" suede sandals are an elegant version of this trend. Pretty enough to wear to a wedding (or five).
  • Jumbo jelly
    Jumbo jelly
    Made from PVC and rubber, Kenzo have caricatured the classic fringe. The exaggerated upper gives a bold but simple aesthetic perfect for fashionistas.
  • Opulent opalescence
    Opulent opalescence
    The Lost Ink chunky flatform sole contrasts against the ethereal iridescence of the snake print upper. A ramped-up metallic, which still works as a neutral.
  • Rich raffia
    Rich raffia
    This fabulous Manolo Blahnik statement sandal is covered with multi-coloured raffia tassels. A real investment pair, to make your feet sing.
  • Prominent pink
    Prominent pink
    Pick this double-fringed style from Office to stand out at festivals, barbeques, and picnics. Pink is grass green's polar opposite for total contrast.

 

With festival season upon us, and summer teasing us with the odd guest appearance, it’s time to think sandals. Warmer weather brings out the fun side of many of us, as there’s nothing like the sun to elevate your mood.

What’s more playful than adding movement to your sandals as you walk…or dance?Unless mosquitoes would steer clear of a swishing fringe, this adornment is completely frivolous. It’s time to embrace the whimsical.

Click through the slide show to see my pick of the best (and most fun) tasselled flat sandals out there.

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WOULD YOU SUE FOR SHOES?

I frequently hear of shoe brands suing each other over intellectual property infringement issues. Steven Madden has been confronted by umpteen brands. Representatives of Christian Louboutin regularly appear in court to uphold a patent for the Chinese red sole colour. But have you ever thought you would take the company who made your footwear to court (excuse the shoe-themed pun)? What if you wore a pair of pointed toed, high heeled court shoes to work every day for a year and your feet sustained long-term damage?

For years, the USA has been known as a country in which litigation is rife. This culture seems to be gradually working its way into the British way of life, and I’m uncomfortable with this. I think people should take responsibility for their own decision-making, but I do wonder what would happen if shoe companies were held more accountable for their products.

Actually there has been one case I know of, where a class action lawsuit was brought against the brand Skechers in the USA. This was based on advertised health claims of the toning abilities of certain styles of footwear. The ability of the shoes to firm wearers’ buttocks was claimed to be unfounded, and there were even accusations that the footwear caused back pain. According to Business Insider, Skechers had to pay $40 million to customers who bought the shoes. Perhaps if a shoe brand doesn’t make any claims about the wearability, comfort or durability of its shoes, it won’t make itself vulnerable to lawsuits.

It appears that Christian Louboutin is taking the opposite position of Skechers. He is quite open about the discomfort his footwear can cause. The designer has been quoted as saying “High heels are pleasure with pain“. He was even reported in the New Yorker in 2011 expressing “‘Comfy’—that’s one of the worst words!“. Is this a clever way of insuring the Louboutin brand against legal action?

What if a sales assistant recommended a shoe style, which turned out to be unsuited to your feet. Only yesterday I was chatting with a lady who has bunions and a hammer toe, and had been ill-advised by sales staff in the store of a well-known comfort brand. The shoes they recommended to her were so uncomfortable that she was only able to wear them once. In that circumstance, would you return the worn footwear?

As explained in Spectator Health just a few days ago, “calf muscles may shorten, and tendons thicken with long-term wearing of high heels“. This article by health expert Dr Roger Henderson also details “strain on the knees, lower back and hips” as a consequence of wearing high heeled footwear. A study of patients in USA emergency departments published in The Journal of foot and ankle surgery, found that “high-heel-related injuries have nearly doubled during the 11-year period from 2002 to 2012“. These articles don’t even mention how an inherited tendency for bunions can be aggravated, or corns develop as a consequence of wearing uncomfortable shoes.

Have excruciating and dangerous high-heeled shoes become the norm? The Journal of foot and ankle surgery study explains how more injuries were caused to women between the ages of 20-29 than to older women. Should we be teaching our daughters to look after their feet as well as they care for their teeth?

The thing is, shoes can be comfortable and beautiful. These two elements are not mutually exclusive. You just need to know what to look for. It’s time to take responsibility for your own comfort and foot health. You’ll discover lots of essential tips and tricks for finding the holy grail of footwear in my book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

How long will it be before all footwear comes with a disclaimer? To avoid this extreme anti-litigation measure, I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask shoe brands to make foot-shaped footwear. I provide consultancy services to help them work out the best way to make this happen.

We all have the power to stop companies from making uncomfortable footwear. Stop buying it, and they’ll stop making it.

I’ll leave you with one final thought: If a washing machine looked great but gradually ruined your clothes, would you still buy it?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SILVER IN THE SUN

Metallic shoes are often thought of as Christmas party wear or evening footwear.

Case in point: when I showed my husband this latest purchase, he was confused by the intended wearing occasion (um, flouncing around in daisies obviously).

I explained that metallics, and silver in particular, are on-trend on sporty flats this season. I think I also muttered something about day to evening, then realised our evenings tend to be rather Netflix based these days, thanks to our 4½ month old.

Having mostly worn (v. glam) trainers during pregnancy and the early months with a newborn, it was time to try something a little sleeker. Moccasins like these wrap cosily around your feet, giving them a gentle hug. Frankly, I can cope with nothing less than extreme comfort these days. Don’t we all have better things to do than worry about our sore feet?

These Clarks slip-ons are seriously comfortable, with their soft leather and bouncy white soles.

With their reputation for comfort and durability, it’s great to see a bit of modern glamour injected into this British stalwart’s range. Clarks have also introduced a brogue and a chukka boot on this athletic-inspired sole.

To find out more about experimenting with different shoe colours, download my book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SAVE OUR LEATHER SOLES

  • Emerald elegance
    Emerald elegance
    Attract attention of the good kind in these metallic La Paire beauties. The black and white print adds to the bold look without appearing garish.
  • Simple starfish
    Simple starfish
    Channel the seaside in these simple gold Aspiga slides, with beaded starfish appliqué.
  • Tassel tease
    Tassel tease
    Chunky colourful beads and tassels provide strong contrast against slim black straps on these Sam Edelman toe-post sandals.
  • Garnished Greek
    Garnished Greek
    Iris make sleek leather styles with pretty embellishments. The footwear is made in the sunny island of Crete. Here, grey and tan combine unexpectedly.
  • Tomato touch
    Tomato touch
    Fancy trying a splash of colour, without losing your beloved black completely? LK Bennett let you do just that with these contrast sandals.
  • Silver school
    Silver school
    Bring out your inner child without looking juvenile, in these Hudson T-bars. Silver makes for an easy day-to-night option.
  • Oh orange
    Oh orange
    Classic French styling comes from Isabel Marant, in the form of these adjustable cross strap flats. Delicious with Navy, or Breton stripes.
  • Strappy studs
    Strappy studs
    Ash know how to make a woman's feet look rock-chick fabulous. Do the band T-shirt thing, or pair with tailoring for just a hint of rebellion.

 

Have you ever wondered whether leather soles on shoes are better than rubber?

The answer is yes, and also no.

Yes

Leather soles look great. They can give a rustic natural, hand-crafted look, or be beautifully finished to give a refined aesthetic.

They are more breathable than other sole materials. This makes them great in warmer weather, on sandals or shoes.

If your bare foot sits on the leather sole, the moisture from your skin will be absorbed into the sole. This stops your feet from feeling clammy, and will make them more comfortable.

Leather soles on sandals form to your unique foot shape, making them extra comfortable.

No

Leather soles and rain are a bad combination. The sole will absorb some moisture, and become softer. This means that walking on wet leather soles wears them down more quickly.

You are also more likely to slip whilst wearing wet leather-soled shoes than rubber equivalents.

Just as shoes with leather uppers cost more than those made from synthetic alternatives, you can expect to pay more for leather soles.

Should you buy them?

An easy way to try out leather soles for the first time, is to pick a style which you would only wear in warm, dry weather anyway.

Have a look at the slide show of leather-soled sandals above to find your pair.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SHOULD YOU SLING BACK SLINGBACKS?

  • Dotty kitten
    Dotty kitten
    Black and white don't have to be boring. Fun without being childish; these Hobbs slingbacks complement block colours at work or play.
  • Gold strap
    Gold strap
    These gold Topshop slingbacks with 2" heels are a comfortable option for day to night. With a rounded shape, they have plenty of room for your toes.
  • Sleek snake
    Sleek snake
    This pale nude and natural snake combination from Jones Bootmaker looks fresh for spring. Great with a tailored look in the office, or at a wedding.
  • Flat fuchsia
    Flat fuchsia
    These flat cross strap sandals from & Other Stories are made from beautifully shining brocade fabric. Everyone will be asking where you got your shoes.
  • Wood weave
    Wood weave
    The woven upper against the chunky wood-effect heel of these Mango sandals creates a desirable textural contrast. Black without looking too heavy.
  • Summer print
    Summer print
    The classic pointed toed slingback court shape is updated in this modern floral print. Try wearing an item of clothing in one of the colours of the print.
  • Pearl loafer
    Pearl loafer
    These 1960s-inspired loafer slingbacks are from Clarks' Victoria and Albert Museum collaboration. Who can resist pearl-encrusted pumps?

 

Footwear styles with a slingback strap can be a practical and attractive option for this time of year. Click through the slide show for a selection of my favourites on the high street right now.

To make sure you pick the right slingbacks for your feet, follow these pointers when shopping:

Strap height

It’s important for the strap to sit at the right place on your foot.

Too low, and it easily falls off when you’re walking.

Too high, and it scrapes against your Achilles tendon.

At the back of your heel, there’s a subtle natural dip where the strap should sit, and the strap should pass just under your ankle bone.

As you can see, it will look a little different on flat and heeled styles.

Fastenings

You should find that straps with adjustable buckles or Velcro and no elastic create a more secure and comfortable fit. Elastic allows for quite a lot of movement of your feet in relation to the shoe or sandal.

The more the shoe moves, the more likely it is that there’ll be points of friction which result in blisters. If the shoe clings properly to your foot, the chances of there being areas of abrasion are reduced.

Secure straps with no elastic also help your foot not to fall off the side of the shoe: especially important when your slingbacks have high heels.

Watch out for hidden elastic attached to the buckle itself.

More shoe tips

To discover more essential tips for finding comfortable, beautiful shoes, download my book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

OPEN YOUR IRISES

As the weather starts to look distinctly perkier, our toes are beginning to think about emerging from their boot burrows.

There’s no better way to embrace the oncoming summer sunshine, than to pay a visit to the Iris SS16 collection launch and workshops.

The founder and designer Anastasia designs her beautiful sandals and jewellery in London, and the sandals are made in the delightful Greek island of Crete.

Anastasia has taken the classic look of Greek leather sandals, and adorned them with all kinds of beads and embellishments.

She even makes custom orders for brides, bridesmaids, or anyone who fancies a bespoke pair.

Pop along to see the SS16 collection between 10am-6pm every day until Sunday 10th April at:

Craft Central

33-35 St Johns Square

London

EM1M 4DS

You can request a unique design…

…or fall in love with one of the fabulous new season styles.

Check out the highly wearable statement jewellery pieces…

…and the luxurious leather backpacks.

Look out for Iris sandals on Kickstarter soon.

To discover top tips on how to shop for sandals, download my book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SHOE STORAGE TIPS – VIDEO

This time of year can make us itch to reorganise, clean, or have a clear-out.

Watch my short film, to discover clever ways to reorganise and store your shoe collection.

 

Download The Shoe Shopping Kit for an entertaining guide on how to shop for shoes like a pro.

If you now have shoe storage envy, you can buy the shoe rack featured in this film.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

THE SHOE SHOPPING KIT

It’s with great excitement that I can announce the launch of my new book The Shoe Shopping Kit.

Have you ever bought a pair of shoes and regretted it? Perhaps they turned out to be uncomfortable, or just didn’t suit your wardrobe or lifestyle.

If you have even one lonely unworn pair sitting in your wardrobe, then this book is just what you need.

 

The Shoe Shopping Kit is packed full of revelations based on my 18 years of experience in the footwear industry.

Learn tips and tricks to:
Know whether a shoe will be comfortable before trying it on
Work out whether you’re getting value for money
Think outside the shoe box – try different styles and colours

You’ll learn to:
Save money on unworn shoes
Save time by planning your shopping trips
Save your feet from pain
Navigate the treacherous waters of the seasonal sales, and bag yourself a real bargain this time.

Download it now to discover what to look for online and in the shops, so you’ll never make a mistake again.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

10 SHADES OF GREY

  • Teal grey loafer
    Teal grey loafer
    An easy suede penny loafer from iconic jacket makers Barbour. Great with straight-legged jeans for a laid-back weekend look.
  • Warm grey gibson
    Warm grey gibson
    Sleek and smart, masters of comfort Gabor have introduced this delectable lace-up for Spring. Leather linings keep you cool and comfortable.
  • Light grey court
    Light grey court
    A court shoe for those who want to explore a lighter colour palette. This snake print leather Gabor court is perfect with summer pastels.
  • Charcoal grey loafer
    Charcoal grey loafer
    Serious but fashion focused, this easy loafer makes for a smart and speedy work option for when you need to look the business in a hurry.
  • Pale grey point
    Pale grey point
    For work, weekend, and even a wedding. Try this versatile pointed flat with a skirt, skinny jeans, or slim-legged trousers.
  • Cool grey brogue
    Cool grey brogue
    Suede gives a softer look to masculine styling for Spring. Try working the mod look with wide-legged jeans and a cute blouse.
  • Pure grey bootie
    Pure grey bootie
    Shoe boots or booties are a really useful style for early Spring and late Autumn. Keep your feet warm and comfortable with this block-heeled style.
  • Taupe ankle boot
    Taupe ankle boot
    With its inside zip, this ventilated ankle boot is an easy style for bolting out of the door. Great with a knee-length A-line skirt or skinny jeans.
  • Dark taupe western boot
    Dark taupe western boot
    Cowgirl-inspired styles are creeping back on to the shoe shop shelves. Get in on this trend early before Autumn comes.
  • Ice grey zip boot
    Ice grey zip boot
    A pretty pale grey option to complement dresses and skirts in muted tones. The perforated back part keeps your feet cool when the weather hots up.

 

Grey is a useful neutral when black is just too boring and dark for Spring. It comes in many shades (50 if E.L. James is to be believed).

Pure greys (black mixed with white) coordinate well with black.

Blue tinged greys look great with cool blues.

Taupey greys complement brown.

Jones Bootmaker are offering 10% discount off the new Spring Summer 2016 styles in the slide show above with voucher code NEW10.

This offer expires at 11:59pm on Sunday 6th March 2016 so click through now to avoid missing out.*

 

*Code can only be redeemed online for home delivery only. Applies to full price lines only. Excludes lines in the ‘Sale’ and ‘Outlet’ categories. Code expires 11:59pm on Sunday 6th March 2016.
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FRESH AND BRIGHT

The mornings may still be frrrrreezing, but spring is showing its colours in gardens across the Northern hemisphere…

…and also indoors.

Do you love an imaginative shop window display as much as I do? Aldo caught my eye with this bright arrangement.

Their styles this season seem to dare you to wear dull black on your feet.

Try the flat point in blue with black tailored trousers.

Relax (and outdo the teens) in a blinged up red trainer.

Dress like a fashionista in these grey gibsons with a lime flash

Feeling inspired? Tweet me a photo of your brightest foot coverings @ShoeConsultant

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment