Thursday, 31 March 2011

If the shoe fits

I love shoes and have for as long as I can remember. I can vividly recall the shoe of my dreams when I was four- red mary janes in patent leather. After wanting them for ages my Mum said I could have a pair, but in the shoe store the biggest pair was too small. Only I said they weren’t. I wanted them so badly that I didn’t mind that they pinched my toes, I was just so happy to have them. My Mum tells me that she knew very well that they were too small, but that she couldn’t bring herself not to buy them for me. Nowadays I’m extremely fuzzy with the fit, but I still love shoes and have very clear ideas on how I want them to look. I have, for example, always loved the 1940’s shape with a rounded toe, and not too thin heels. Some shapes I can’t stand at all, and depending on the current fashion I may buy several pairs during a year, or nothing. Though I understand that not everyone want to buy shoes online, I often do it and have been happy with almost every purchase.

It is, of course, possible to buy old shoes and wear them. I rarely do, though. I find it difficult to find comfortable shoes when someone else has already walked them into shape and as I almost exclusively wear heels, I’m also very particular that shoes are comfortable to walk in. Lots of people have told me that heels can never be comfortable, but I don’t agree. There are a few things to think about. The height of the heel. We all have a limit for how high heels we can walk in. Most of my shoes have a 7 centimeter heel, but party shoes may have 8 or 9. 10 centimeters are my limit- I have one pair that high and I only wear them at parties where I know I can sit down a lot. The width of the heel is important too. A stiletto heel is much worse than a broader heel. And last, the thing I think most people don’t think about at all, the angle between heel and toe. It is really important and, at least for me, impossible to judge without trying them on. I have had shoes with moderately low heels, f centimeters, or so, that has made my feet scream in agony after a few steps. Generally I have found that cheap shoes are the biggest culprits when it comes to bad angles.

So, of I don’t want to wear actual vintage shoes, but still want the shape, what should you do? Well, a visit to a perfectly ordinary shoe store may yield surprisingly good shoes. It depends a lot on the current shoe fashion and you may have to look around, but it is possible. Then there are several websites that offer reproduction shoes. I have bought shoes from Pin Up Clothing that I have been very happy with. At the moment I am ogling some of the shoes from Dancestore. Dance shoes are usually very comfy to wear; I once spent three days in London in a pair of dance shoes and didn’t get sore feet at all. There are also possible to design your own shoe. Shoes of Prey is a modern shoe company, but you can design a shoe with a distinct forties feeling out of their options for toes, heels and other design elements. More expensive, but with lots of options for heel height and she and heel design, is Harr. They make shoes for movies and theatre companies and they are not cheap, but their shoes are very well-made and very comfortable. I bought a pair of 18th century shoes from them and I am very happy with them. And last, you can buy unused vintage shoes from Re-Mix. There are definitely some nice shoes there.

This is by no means a comprehensive list, these companies are merely those I have tried myself or have heard a lot of good about. I need to look over my shoes soon and see what I have that works with my forties wardrobe, and what I need to get. The list of shoes for the autumn and winter are; heavy boots, brown sport shoes, black walking shoes, black evening shoes, rain boots, green shoes and black pumps. I have a pair of black suede pumps that I think will work and when it comes to heavy boots, I don’t know if I will even try. Swedish winters are cold and snowy and I need boots that work, rather than look great. To my utter delight I have actually found a pair of reproduction rain boots. They are really from 1939, but I’m not going to be that picky. I am sure ladies didn’t by rain boots every year anyway.

Neat, don’t you agree?


Beth said...

I've got shoes from Dancestore and Re-mix, and love them all. Dancestore shoes are super comfy and look fairly authentic, which is great considering the price (the men's shoes are totally the wrong shape, but the women's shoes are good). Re-mix is less comfortable because they have less padding, but still good - about what an average street shoe would be. And their styles are delicious! Their sizing varies a little, so you might need to ship back and forth a couple times to work that out, which could get a little pricey.

I've also found good vintage styles from Naturalizer and Nine West.

I'm currently drooling over Miss L Fire and Chelsea Crew, but have yet to buy a pair from either company.

Isis said...

Beth: My birthday is coming up and I want shoe money! I haven't heard of the last brands you mention, but I will check them out. Thanks!

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