A foot above the rest

The art of shoe-making has turned a new page. Designers are playing with different textures, techniques and styles. Nivedita Saboo checks out the latest footwear trends and offers some tips on putting your best foot forward.

Summer of 2014 is all about putting your best foot forward and with so many available choices, it’s definitely going to put a chic spring in your step this year. From clunky to flats, from clogs to stilettoes, from Avant Garde to Mary Janes, it’s all about style over comfort. Venturing out of your comfort zone and experimenting is what footwear is all about this season. 

It isn’t just about women; men are hue-struck, too. Men have been walking in the banal browns and blacks for far too long. So now, they, too, are turning to colours for style. But one minor mistake with your choice of footwear and you are doomed to wear crocs for the rest of your life! Since we wouldn’t like to see that happen, we’ve compiled a list of pretty must-haves just for you.

Ladies, slip on a pair of “classics with a twist” - the pumps - and you’re good to go anywhere, anytime! In these ever-so-versatile pumps, you can hop from business to party without getting your laces tangled. And because its 2014 and colour being the new black, we say, go adventurous with neons, glitter and peep toes. Make them sky high. But if high heels are not your thing, then go purist by keeping your pumps tonal and strut in style, nonetheless. 

Who said classic is boring? Think The Great Gatsby, gentlemen. There’s nothing like the classy lace-ups. 

Experiment with different textures like suede and leather, or go a little adventurous with patent leather. Instead of the regular blacks and tans, try a little grey and see how it does actually work in your favour. Slip on a pair of brogues in contrast hues to tap in to your yuppie alter-ego. It’s sophistication sprinkled with a little rebellion, something like the Marlborough Man, but in New York! This season also brings with it, metallic elements to make things a little more interesting. Shine on in copper, gold, and silver sleek oxfords if you dare to be bold. These kinds are definitely meant for dancing the night away.

If you want your shoes to do the talking, embellishing is the way to go. Not just restricted to women, men can experiment, too. Indian wear gives you more scope to play around with colour; embellishing your mojaris or shoes with stones and embroidery gives the whole attire a very royal feel. Bling it up this season and make a statement. Brocade heels or mojaris, both for men and women, are quite the head turner this wedding season. 

And pure brocade customised shoes work their magic like no other. If you want to tone them down, go beige, black or brown. If you want to go quirky, have fun with bright, vibrant hues that match your outfit. Invest in comfortable delicate sling-backs or peep-toes for your big day, ladies. Don’t compromise on comfort when it comes to wedding shoes. Like you do for the rest of your attire, pay attention to your feet and they will thank you for it.

For everyday wear, gender bender looks are hot! Ladies, brogues are right up your alley if you’re looking to add a bit of androgyny to your wardrobe. Try being in a man’s shoes and see for yourself if it is any easier. Put a pair of cut-out flat chunky leather boots with metal embellishments to go gothic. If these aren’t your type, then try on black, strappy sky-high heels to feel bold, beautiful and feminine.

Give in to the flower power and bring back the 70s charm. Put on a pair of wedges and platform heels if you have comfort in mind. Embellish them with flowers and pop art. This one’s a big trend right now. 

It’s all about graphics and vibrant colours this summer. Give it a hippie chic element and make heads turn. 

Heavily-embellished flat sandals or colour-blocked kitten heels are in, too. Go glamorous at work without having to worry about anything. Dainty kitten heels are the answer to getting your posture right without having to break your back. Ballerinas in fresh pastels and animal prints are here to stay. Add a pair or two to your wardrobe and you’re sure to buy two more.

The art of shoe-making has turned a new page. Pioneering designers like Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo have re-discovered the basics and are giving it a new dimension altogether. World over, shoe designers are creating a movement of sorts, where they want to push the envelope just a little more and produce some seriously covet-worthy pieces.

 Designers are playing with different textures, techniques and styles and coming up with exciting never-seen-before designs. From claw heels to caged decorative platforms, floral prints to colour blocked cut-out wedges, booties to knee-length sandals, metallic gladiators to neon platforms, petal sandals to butterfly heels, there is something out there for everyone.
 Your footwear has the power to make or break a look. Buying the right pair will last you a lifetime, like it should. Walk in yours like you own the world, and if it’s designed perfectly, you surely do.

(The writer is a designer specialising in custom-made footwear) 

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