CRAFTY SHOE GIFTS

Do you have a friend, relation or partner who loves to make stuff?

When everyone is hibernating between Christmas and Spring, they’ll love the satisfaction of making a pair of slippers by hand.

I’ve sourced a diverse range of kits you can buy your loved one, so that they can make their own footwear.

 

Joe’s Toes (love the name), offers an excellent selection of slipper kits, from ridiculously adorable knit your own baby slippers…

…to plain or fun adults’ options in a selection of colours.

 

Stitch & Story have created this excellent knitted slipper kit, which provides everything you need (including needles), to create your own slippers. It’s aimed at beginners, so the recipient doesn’t need to be a knitting whizz already.

 

I Can Make Shoes is a company which provides workshops on shoe-making to the public. If your budget won’t stretch to a gift voucher for a course, you can buy this slipper making kit for your favourite person instead.

 

Prym sell the components you need to make your own espadrilles. You can start by using the base fabrics they sell, and when you get more expert, buy another pair of soles and make your own uppers (perhaps out of something cosy).

 

If simplicity of aesthetic suits your recipient’s taste, Iriss of Penzance sells reasonably-priced kits for making these warm felted slippers.

 

If you know someone who would prefer to learn the craft of slipper making with like-minded people, you could send them to the Learn to Wet Felt Slippers course at the Fluff-a-torium in Dorking, Surrey…

 

…or one of the excellent courses run by moccasin expert Rose Choules in Bude, Cornwall. I’m sorely tempted by this Baby Moccasin Workshop.

 

I hope my guide makes your Christmas shopping a little easier. Let me know how your gift is received in the comments or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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DANCE ALL NIGHT

  • Multi hued
    Multi hued
    These sleek points remind me of the black scratch paper I used to play with as a child. A subtle way to add colour interest to wearable black.
  • Sharp snake
    Sharp snake
    Snake and jewels together should be OTT, but the subtlety of the greyscale colour palette keeps the look of these flats very elegant.
  • Glaminal
    Glaminal
    Not everyone is a fan of classic leopard print, but if ever there was a time to try the furry feline look, it would be during the party season. Give it a shot?
  • Slipper style
    Slipper style
    The smoking slipper gets a glam twist, with the diamanté-embellished gold heel, and tassel cuffs. Navy gives it a richness which black can't emulate.
  • Glitter ball
    Glitter ball
    Try this new take on a ballet pointe shoe for a pretty somewhat Cinderella-inspired look. Equally delightful with cropped tuxedo trousers or a dress.
  • Dorothy feet
    Dorothy feet
    Red patent pumps can add happiness to your outfits all year-round, so these would make a good investment. Also the perfect Christmas shoe shade.

 

Ah it’s December already! Time for partying with friends, family and colleagues. I shall be your Christmas shoe fairy today, and help to save you from foot pain.

As much as we tell ourselves that alcohol will numb the burning pain in the balls of our feet, sometimes the wisest decision is to wear footwear we’ll be comfortable in all night.

How lovely to be the smug one at the end of the evening, who can keep her shoes on for the journey home.

I often share secrets about how to select comfortable heels, but today I’m giving you Russell & Bromley’s finest selection of the easy option: flats!

Click through the slide show and let me know which you’ll opt for in the comments or on FacebookInstagram or Twitter.

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PRESENT LIST PT 1

  • Glam adventures
    Glam adventures
    There's nothing cooler than these comfortable hiking-style boots for wearing the outdoors trend, in a luxurious street-styled way.
  • Rose-tinted view
    Rose-tinted view
    Gibson shoes have been making a big come-back. This twist on the classic gives the cuteness of pastel pink, with a Geisha-style elevated flatform.
  • High and mighty
    High and mighty
    Everyone needs a go-anywhere boot. This style offers the height and stability of the 8cm heel, comfort of a shearling collar, and grip of the camo sole.
  • Simply sleek
    Simply sleek
    These beautifully shaped lace-ups are in delicate pale grey patent leather, with a classy dip-dyed effect on the toe. The crepe sole gives a casual feel.
  • Comfy classic
    Comfy classic
    To pull on as you're running out of the door, opt for these traditional-looking brogue boots. The rich tan colour brings warmth to dark winter outfits.
  • Party style
    Party style
    Show up to festive events in these metallic patent flats, and walk home with your shoes still on. Ribbons give a feminine contrast to the sharp pointed toe.
  • Hug me boots
    Hug me boots
    These are the ultimate cold weather boots. In warm grey sheepskin with a lightweight but grippy sole, are they just too beautiful to wear in the snow?
  • Stand-out slip-on
    Stand-out slip-on
    Sometimes in the winter we want a chunkier shoe style. The bulbous toe and chunky crepe sole are contrasted by soft merino wool embroidery.

 

Have you written your letter to Father Christmas/your family/your partner yet?

 

Italian brand AGL (Attilio Giusti Leombruni) is run by the three Giusti sisters, who are third generation shoe-makers. These ladies know good shoe-making, and have a fondness for the luxurious and unexpected.

Have a browse through the slide-show, and you might just find something to add to your Christmas list (or that you can’t wait ’til Christmas for!).

Let me know which style you can’t live without in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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FESTIVE GLAMOUR

  • Cinderella
    Cinderella
    A delicate pale silver gives these simple court shoes a glamorous evening feel. The position of the heel, and leather upper and lining add comfort.
  • Manly metallic
    Manly metallic
    These beautifully-made Italian brogues have an elegantly tapered toe and bronze shine, for touches of the feminine.
  • Ruby slipper
    Ruby slipper
    Who can resist these supportive block-heeled courts encrusted in luxurious red glitter? These are shoes to make you smile whilst dancing the night away.
  • Day to night
    Day to night
    These tassel loafers will look sharp with your office attire, and entirely chic with your glammed-up evening look. The flat heel helps you avoid foot ache.
  • Dancing shoes
    Dancing shoes
    These Oxfords will complement your trouser suit and little black dress equally well. Patent is a really useful option for day to night wear.
  • Not tied down
    Not tied down
    Dark silver is the perfect colour for glamourising these simple Gibsons, and the black velvet ribbon laces add extra luxury.
  • Luxury legs
    Luxury legs
    Is there anything more tactile than a knee-high velvet boot? Just try and stop yourself and others from stroking your calves. The platform adds comfort.
  • Graceful glitter
    Graceful glitter
    Sport the simple chic vibe of the 1950s in these low-heeled ballet pumps. The low block heel is having a renaissance, so make the most of it.

 

It probably is time to start thinking about your festive wardrobe. How will you look glamorous but not overly sexy at the office party? How about an outfit for New Year’s Eve with friends, or a hot date with your other half? Which shoes won’t elicit tuts from your granny on Christmas day?

For high-quality footwear with classic styling, Hobbs is the place to go. With leather linings and quality manufacture, you’ll also find really wearable heel heights.

 

Check out the slide show for the most comfortable and beautiful Hobbs styles this season, and let me know which style you’ll be rocking in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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CHIC HIKING

  • Cool climb
    Cool climb
    Thank you Adidas for making functional, comfortable, waterproof walking shoes, in cool-looking black and grey with not a hint of pink.
  • Strong paws
    Strong paws
    A more interesting upper design than standard go faster stripes: Jack Wolfskin's signature paw logo enhances these 4 shades of grey hikers.
  • Street sleek
    Street sleek
    These sleek black Haglofs shoes are intended for speed-hiking. They offer functionality for trail walking, but won't look out of place on the street.
  • Compact calm
    Compact calm
    In grey suede and mesh, this good-looking low-profile style from Columbia will squash into your luggage more easily than bulkier options.
  • Dry & determined
    Dry & determined
    Salomon are true experts in this type of footwear. This hi-spec black and grey style has a full Gore-Tex lining to keep your feet dry while looking good.
  • Vertical value
    Vertical value
    A good-looking budget option from the Mountain Warehouse own brand. These have a waterproof lining, and come in wearable navy with grey.
  • Chic curves
    Chic curves
    Merrell is another trusted brand for walking footwear. This waterproof style boasts curvaceous lines, a subtle colourway, and a memory-foam footbed.

 

I love to go walking in the great outdoors, particularly when I’m on holiday. I’m not an adrenaline junkie, but know that sometimes the best views come at the end of an uphill walk.

Trip after trip, I find that my trendy trainers are not really up to the job. I once swam through a cave in Thailand in white leather Cos trainers. They dried out around a week later, and eventually lost the odour of bog.

The reason why I’ve never bought any fit-for-purpose walking shoes, is that I just haven’t found any I like enough. Brands have a nasty habit of taking a men’s style and saying “let’s shrink it and pink it”. I’m serious, it’s a phrase I’ve heard used. The result is usually a fairly bulky-looking black or grey shoe with a hideous flash of purple, pink or another supposedly “girly” colour.

If you’re anything like me, I imagine you aren’t happy to completely compromise your style to avoid falling off a cliff. Click through the slide-show to discover good-looking walking shoes so you can stay upright, alive and stylish whilst having adventures.

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TROUPE THROUGH AUTUMN

  • Delicate brogue
    Delicate brogue
    An easy bronze and white lace-up adorned with pretty ribbon laces and butterfly piece. Display with tights and a skirt or narrow turned-up trousers.
  • Cosy flatform
    Cosy flatform
    These sheepskin and leather boots will work hard for you year after year. The comfort of the flatform sole is well-matched with the ease of a pull-on boot.
  • Elevated doll
    Elevated doll
    Thick ankle straps can look very cute, especially with a simple platform. Channel Japanese street-style with these luxurious leather beauties.
  • Sneak up
    Sneak up
    All white trainers are having a real trend moment. F-Troupe's version is durable, and made in soft leather with a comfortable leather lining.
  • Blue Christmas
    Blue Christmas
    There's nothing like a blue patent party shoe with velvet detailing to give instant festive cool. Be the rebel not wearing red or gold glitter.
  • Warm walk
    Warm walk
    Can you imagine ever wanting to take these cosy boots off? As comfortable as slippers, with a durable slightly elevated sole. Your go-to non-black boots.
  • Snow white
    Snow white
    The monk strap fastening and chisel-shaped toe update the classic brogue look for this season. Winter white freshens the look still further.
  • Laced up
    Laced up
    With a nod to Victoriana, these Oxford boots smartly blend the masculine and feminine. Back zips help you put them on in a hurry.
  • '80s animal
    '80s animal
    There's something very pleasing about the intricately pieced together lion faces and tassel tail of these tan suede pumps. Dear Father Christmas...
  • Hike about
    Hike about
    Have fun avoiding traditional black and brown by rocking this season's hiking trend in an unexpected purple colour. I love the two colour double laces.

 

Whenever I’m in Soho, London, I like to check out the F-Troupe shop on Ganton Street.

This London brand never fails to impress me with their well-made leather footwear with hints of cuteness and a sense of humour.

For those with daintier feet, you’ll be happy to know that F-Troupe‘s footwear runs from UK size 2-8 (Eur 35-41). All styles are also leather lined.

Check out the slide show, and let me know which fabulous F-Troupe style tickles your fancy in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

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BLACK + WHITE + BEAUTIFUL

  • Desert zebra
    Desert zebra
    For an easy boyish style perfectly complimented by slim-legged black trousers, look no further than these Opening Ceremony chukka boots.
  • Splatter loafer
    Splatter loafer
    Repetto don't just make excellent ballet flats, but also effortless loafers. Smart, with a fashion look from the high-shine paint splatter leather.
  • Snow leopard
    Snow leopard
    The low block heel ankle boot is this season's most important silhouette. Senso provide a sleek version in luxurious printed hair-on leather.
  • Pointed reptile
    Pointed reptile
    Ever seen a furry snake? Now you have. Senso have created these unusual pointed flats with wrap ankle straps, which are great with tailored skirts.
  • Glittery tweed
    Glittery tweed
    Chelsea boots are perfect for pulling on and off quickly. These Beau Coops points are unusually treated with tweed elastic and a glittery silver welt.
  • Scholastic fantastic
    Scholastic fantastic
    With a nod to '90s school shoes, Beau Coops give us loafers for grown-ups. Details include scalloping, that glitter welt, and a pointed toe.

 

I love popping into Poste Mistress on Monmouth Street, London. This delightful boutique always stocks a great mix of highly wearable styles from unusual smaller shoe brands.

When I visited recently, there seemed to be a bit of a theme in the Autumn/Winter selection. This season’s focus is on black and white. This colourway is a great way to avoid all-black looks, without introducing garish colour into your shoedrobe.

 

Have a click through the slide show, and tell me your favourite style in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

 

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5 REASONS NOT TO BE A SHOE COLLECTOR

My friend alerted me to this Wired feature, about how collectible sneakers kept for many years, can disintegrate. Can you imagine spending all of your spare cash collecting something which then falls apart on first wear?

My advice to you is not to buy shoes to squirrel away. Buy them to wear and love now. Here are five reasons why:

1. They might fall apart.

The Wired article explores in great detail the horrible things that can happen to trainers. This is equally true of many other types of footwear. Most ladies shoes are held together with glue, and many soles incorporate some PU elements. These materials are both susceptible to what I call shoe-rot.

Boots kept for 12 years and then worn again

2. Even if the glue somehow holds together, it might turn yellow with age.

This is particularly obvious on fabric in light colours, and can ruin the look. The likelihood is that with a few wears, any yellowed glue will also lose its adhesive strength.

Yellow tide mark of glue just above the sole

3. Trends never come back in the same way.

I have seen several distinctive shoe fads come back around again. Each time a trend comes back, it is altered somewhat, to fit into the current era. It could be anything from details such as hardware or studs, to the toe shape, heel height, colour, or texture which updates a retro look.

80s night

4. Your feet might change.

If your feet spread when you get pregnant or with age, you may find that your shoe size changes, or you need to start wearing wider shoes. If you have invested a lot of money into acquiring many pairs of beautiful shoes which fit your feet perfectly, it would come as an unpleasant surprise if you couldn’t wear your collection any more.

30 weeks pregnant

5. Your style will evolve.

No matter how sure of our style we are at any particular stage in life, our personal development and changing roles can alter the way we want to dress, or choose to be perceived. Don’t let your old shoes hold you back from your own evolution.

Evolution

Are you a shoe collector, or do you have frequent clear-outs? Let me know in the comments or on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.

For inspiration on achieving a minimalist lifestyle, I love Want Less blog.

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THE NEW AUTUMN NEUTRAL

Have you worn out those 3 year old shoe favourites by kicking your way through the beautiful fallen leaves?

If you’re looking for something a little more special than the vast selection of black, brown and wine-coloured footwear in the shops at the moment, try a little bronze.

 

These double-fringed Office lace-ups offer more detail than the average Gibson, whilst still remaining sophisticated. The metallic bronze option will take you from work to party throughout the colder months.

The leather linings will keep your feet comfortable, and your shoes smelling pleasant.

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REVAMPED BOOTS

If you’ve recently looked for Duo Boots: purveyors of multi width boots and shoes, you’ll notice that this brand has gone through a metamorphosis.

Now named Ted & Muffy – Fairytale Fitters, this Bath-based company deserve their name, as they still offer boots in many different calf fittings, and shoes in 3 widths.

The Covent Garden shop has had a beautiful refit, complete with adorable squirrel door-knockers. The window display is modern, but certainly reflects the fairytale feel.

 

Styling of the footwear remains fairly similar to the Duo offering, but quality is improved, and prices have increased accordingly.

The brand still provides us with really wearable shoes and boots which fit properly. I like how they play with colour in their Autumn/Winter collection. Check out these fabulous red suede Chelsea boots:

The details range from feminine frills to classic mannish broguing.

Texture is also important, as demonstrated by these simple gibsons in glamorous pewter croc-print leather:

A classic black military-style ankle boot is updated with a pointed toe, metal heel plate, and easy zip fastening.

 

Check out Ted & Muffy’s new website, to discover more of what this intriguing new identity has to offer.

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