It was the evening of my wedding party – the last event of the seemingly never-ending spectacle. I wore my favourite LBD and the strappy black wedges that seldom saw the light of day. Very aware of the eyes watching me closely, I strutted towards my waiting cab with feigned confidence, stepped into a pot-hole, twisted my ankle and landed face first on the tarmac – limbs and dress flying everywhere. I still shudder at the memory. Fortunately I didn’t hurt very much. Just my poor, brittle ego.
I have always had functional shoes and shopping for them was the easiest task in the world. One pair each of sneakers, open sandals, flip flops, and formal black flats never let me down.
Being self-employed changed that. For a reason I cannot yet put a finger on, I went through a brief but intense shoe addiction. One fateful night the shoe fairy paid me a visit. She sprinkled sparkly, magical shoe-lust dust into my sleepy eyes. And suddenly I dreamed of boots and ballerinas, loafers and lace-ups, strings and bows, seams and tacks, white shelves stacked with enchanting colours.
I woke up feeling like Cinderella – a distressed woman missing some shoe sorcery in her life.
BUT… WHY IS EVERYTHING HIGH HEELED?!
For the first time ever, I walked into shops filled with gorgeous footwear with an open mind. My eyes devoured the spectrum, stopping to scrutinise the denim pumps, teal pencil heels, floral wedges, coral stilettoes, and chic ethnic numbers. It filled a hole in my soul I didn’t know existed. What is this strange emotion towards something that covers your feet?! It was enough to inspire the likes of Nancy Sinatra and Elvis Presley, so who am I to question it.
But a pattern quickly emerged – there is much more for women comfortable in heels, less so for those who prefer flats. Maybe fashion takes a while to catch up to the needs of the few. I can’t wear heels for more than an hour owing to my bad back (and my bruised pride).
FINDING THE RIGHT FLATS
My determination to find a few good pairs took me to the internet first. If you are happy to purchase online, Flipkart, Amazon and Jabong have an exhaustive range of ballerinas, mules, peep toes, espadrilles, slingbacks and everything in between. All these things I learned! It made me think of Meryl Streep in Devil Wears Prada.
But my macho feet mean it’s best I try the shoes on before buying them, lest they split at the seams. I found a few pretty ones at Shopper’s Stop, Lifestyle, and Max. Of everything I saw, my favourites were from Max, Inc. 5 and Bata. From clunky school shoes to hip heels, Bata has come a surprisingly long way. I only hesitated a moment before buying three pairs – classic red slip ons, extra comfortable Converse shoes and a floral pair (the category of which I am unsure of).
Reason quickly took over fascination and I stuck to buying only a few comfy pairs. I’ll take that over glamour any day.
UPKEEP, BITES AND STORAGE
It only took three days to encounter three unexpected problems – wearing out, storage and nasty shoe bites. Nothing worth having comes easy, I suppose.
Living in Chennai is by no means kind on your feet, or your shoes. The only thing you can do is try to take care of them while they last. The amount of money I paid for these has me in tears!
Storage is another massive unexpected problem and I did a quick U-turn to my 4 pairs solution. Even if you store them inside a wardrobe, they manage to gather dust!
In an attempt to appease my inner crazy organiser, I also bought a shoe storage pouch that you can hang off the inside of your closet, or on a door. Whoever thought of it is a genius, but it was a bust for me because I could not find the right hooks to hold all that weight. It now sits folded up in my closet, next to the shoes.
If you suffer from shoe bites, I shall pray for them to not leave permanent damage on your feetsies. The internet told me to buy shoe liners. But of course, even the “free size” doesn’t fit my hobbit feet. Where’s my sneakers?!
While you enjoy this New Shoes song, remember to donate your old shoes!
Read about the flats incident at Cannes here.