Women's Footwear

Do I really care? Yes and No is the answer. The 'Right' answer is "Of course not, I'm married, I don't ogle women, why would I give a damn?" (disgusted look, shake of the head and a sigh before turning away)

But I work in fashion and I'm a dedicated follower of what's going on, so I get a 'Pass'.

The latest issue of Front Magazine and a trip to New Look with a female friend made me wonder. So these are my observations and thoughts about the footwear choices women make. (Solely* from my walks to and from work)(*pun intended)

I will try and keep this as un-sexist, un-sleazy and un-sexually gratifying as possible, but I'm not promising. I'm married, not gay.

It's 2010. For a number of years now the truth has been that Footwear is no longer only for women. If anything Men are just as likely to camp out, line up for hours, spend the mortgage money and cause GBH for and because of a pair of shoes.

Yes there are those who continue to live by the same BBQ/Deck/Boat shoe and hell even Sandal that's never gone out of style (nor been in style) for the last 30 years. But they are in the minority now. Phew!

Not a week goes by it seems now without some major release and hype over a pair of shoes. And I believe we are better for it. Gone are the days of general release. If it matters that much to you, you will find a way of getting it*. (*Read GBH again above)

But I'm off topic. What do I think about the shoes women are wearing today. Let's keep it to Mon - Fri in the great city of London shall we. I walk to and from Charing Cross and Regent Street daily (to get to work, not just some lost tourist), and all around Soho (avoiding Spankarama) most lunches. I see a lot of shoes. Here's what I think -

Let's start with the single most viewed shoe, actually boot, the 'Ugg'. I remember not so long ago quite a debate over these. To start with I wasn't a fan. However, after finally giving in to the fact that so many women wear them, I give them the benefit of the doubt now. Yes I'm sure they are super comfortable. They seem pretty durable too having seen women wear them in ALL weather conditions. Most will tell you they have had their's for years and years. You can't knock that. Are they fashionable? No. But they look good on the right woman. The other side of the coin is they look garbage on the wrong woman. Yes I mean the all velour tracksuit wearing woman, or teens in their PJs. Stop it.

Next, a close 2nd to the Ugg, the 'Ballet Pump' or 'Flat'. My brother cracked me up not so long ago when he was visiting us from America and said "What's with every single girl wearing leggings and those stupid ballet shoes?" Stores and streets are saturated with infinate styles and colours of flats. I can't for the life of me imagine they are comfortable. The sole is about 1 mm thick. You work it out and get back to me. Granted you can make them go with any outfit, so they can be practical. I used to not get it, now I accept it. They are here to stay, even if they wear out within say a week.

I'm gonna now speak on all shoes that belong to the 'Heels' family. Here's my take on them. If you can walk in them, awesome, doesn't matter if they are £20 or £200. If you can't but still try, they better be nice to look at whilst you are falling on your ass. It seems at least here in London that most are nice to look at.

Ah yes, close to my own heart, 'Fashion shoes'. By this I mean Nike Air, Vans, Converse (not a fan but popular) et al. Basically, any shoe from the likes of size? or Office I guess. Seems to be mainly the younger females rocking these. Occasionally you get your retro chic chick, and your unaware that it's even anything but the norm wearers. God bless you. Stay true to yourself! So, yeah I'm a fan either way I guess. Girls that wear trainers/sneakers don't usually get it wrong enough to upset me. And bonus, they usually are the very same shoe you want but can't bloody afford, but chicks can because they are cheaper in smaller sizes! (WARNING - Check for an Adam's apple if your chick is the same size shoe as you and not 6+ foot tall)

One exception - those ugly looking 'Exercise shoes'. YES they are cheaper than a gym membership. NO they will not in any way shape or form get you fit. You got robbed AND look stupid. They look like correctional shoes from the early 1900s. Ok we have the technology to go to the moon and all sorts of shit. But realistically, these are never going to make a difference. You made some ass hole rich, probably the same guy that invented the 'Wheelie'. Now his wife CAN afford a gym membership, and I'd bet my house she isn't wearing those shoes. I love fitness, and to those trying to get (and stay) fit I tip my hat. If you really want to make a change, change those ugly ass shoes and do some real exercise. Actually, walking IS a great form of it alone, just please look less offensive whilst doing it.

And this leads me nicely (though I'm slightly aggitated after that minor rant) to today, when I came to the realisation that I have a favourite. And it surprised me more than a little. I don't know when exactly I changed my views, or softened up. Heck the truth is maybe I just got old and sensible. Nah, probably not that. 'Running shoes' worn with skirts/tights/trousers - basically your everyday average formal work wear. Although I can't tell you when, I'm pretty sure this used to piss me off. A pair of genuine running shoes, teamed with a blouse and skirt? What? How badly do you want to get to the office that you gotta run there? But today, it just seemed, natural.

Cons as I see them - you gotta have shoes at work, or carry them with you in a bag. Pros as I see them- it's unquestionably practical and better yet comfortable.

You aren't looking to score a man on your way to the office (are you?). Why are you making your feet hurt to all hell in those heels/peep toes/slingbacks/torture devices before it's even 9am? I don't wanna hear you moan about it all damn day. Every freaking tea break to and from your desk to the kitchen (for the record this is in no way a portrayal of anyone at my office). If we were at a club, I'm probably drinking heavily and not me but some other guy is most likely contemplating getting you in the sack. So in that situation yes we'll listen to your bitching about how your shoes hurt, and you only wear them cuz they look great on whats-her-tits in Heat Magazine, or some chick I don't know wore them on SATC, or they were 50% off and you just HAD to have them.

So that's it, I had way better dialogue and ideas when I first thought of this blog post on the way home from work. No matter. I kept it fairly clean, and I hope we agree on some things and that you don't regret having wasted your time on this post, thinking it was going to be about 'Stripper Shoes'. There is only one place for those, ok two places, the strip club, and rap videos. I'm out.

"Daddy, can we talk?" "Hey, I'm watching the game!" "I'll show you! I'll dance naked to the Mötley Crue records!...I'm gonna change my name to Cina Buns!...and I'm gonna wear clear heels!" When did clear heels become the new whore uniform? When did that happen? Was there a big ho convention, and all the hoes got together and said: "We need something new! Something that just says nasty"...And one girl said: "I got it! Clear heels!" Ooh, girl, you disgusting!" - Chris Rock