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Before heading out to the mall or surfing the net to find yourself a new pair of shoes, there are a few things you need to consider before forking over your hard earned money. First and foremost, know what you’re buying. In other words, don’t buy a pair of slingbacks if you want thigh-high boots. Here’s a bit of information on the different types of shoes that you might just find helpful for your next shopping escapade!
Sandals: The perfect shoe to coordinate with any ensemble, weather permitting, of course. This style of shoe has been around for thousands of years, as the simple, versatile style could be worn while you were building a pyramid or dressed to kill for an evening out at the chariot races. Its simple design of a sole held onto one’s foot by straps has made this warm climate shoe a favorite among designers for generations. Rhinestones and other sparkling objects are added to the straps to take this simple shoe to an all-new level.
Pumps: This graceful, yet comfortable shoe was made popular in the 1930’s and 1940’s when the glamorous ladies of the silver screen wore them for nearly every occasion. They are also referred to as “court shoes”, as the thin sole was adapted for walking on the pricier floor coverings such as parquet and carpet, which were common in the elite gathering areas and homes of the day. Nowadays, pumps are worn with everything from suits to wedding gowns to everything in between. The average 3″ heel and full-foot enclosure make this shoe a staple item for every wardrobe, no matter what season you plan on wearing them. One popular variation is the “Peep-Toe Pump”, which simply has a small hole at the very front of the shoe, usually allowing two toes per foot to “peep” out.
Slingbacks: Modeled after its sister shoe- the Pump, this variation has a open back with an added strap around the ankle to keep the wearer’s foot from slipping out. This adds a bit more of a sexy attitude to the pump, as the heel and sides of the foot are left bare. This shoe is a perfect pick for a pencil skirt that falls just above, at, or just below the knee.
High Heels: While this shoe is generally impractical for work, an evening out on the town will be made that much more glamorous with the perfect high heel. Learning how to walk in a high heel can take some time, so be sure to buy them well in advance of any occasion. In fact, many women will choose their high heel first, then go out and find the perfect outfit to match. They became popular in the 1950’s with high society women who heeded warnings of floor damage, not to mention severe bodily damage if not worn or walked in properly.
Mules: Many in the fashion industry have referred to the Mule as “a clog with a heel”. But the styles change just as fast as those popular in the industry. Mules have an open back, which is the major similarity to its clogging cousin. Wedge heels, high heels and stilettos are all popular choices. Mules come in a variety of styles to wear in the summer with a swimsuit ensemble or in the spring with a prom dress. Weather is a factor in choosing this type of shoe, as the open back and sides can make for some cold toes.
Ballerina Flats: Guess where these got their name? This ultra-comfortable style of shoe has been referred to as “flats”, “ballet flats” and “ballerinas” just to name a few. A full shoe that wraps all the way around the foot, leaving the ankle and top of the foot bare is the basis for this shoe. Adornments like rhinestones, bows, stripes, or even a single, large flower placed at the front of the opening have taken this simple shoe to a whole new level.
Stilettos: Named after the Stiletto Dagger, this ultra-thin, ultra-high heel became popular in the 1950’s, as technology would allow for such a heel to support a person. A thin, metal rod was placed within the heel for this matter. Stilettos can be seen in everything from boots to slingbacks, and pumps to mules. It truly takes a master to walk successfully in these, so heed any warnings and practice diligently before heading out.
Platforms: Since ancient times, platforms have been utilized in footwear to add height to those who were “vertically challenged”. Today cork, wood, or even plastic is used to “pump up” the shoe by adding an inch or two (or more), with or without a heel. Boots, sandals and sandals are each popular in their own way within the platform shoe genre.
Marabou: Did someone say feathers? Marabou feathers have been added to mules with a heel (usually within the stiletto family) across the front material holding the front of the foot in place. Popular behind closed doors, these ultra-fab, fluffy shoes unfortunately don’t hold up well in unfavorable weather.
Boots: They’re not just for cowboys anymore! Actually, they haven’t been for a long time now. Popular in the 1970’s, boots made quite the comeback in the 1990’s and new millennium, as the styles changed, right along with how they were worn.
Ankle Boots: This shorter style of boot comes in a variety of styles and heel heights, but is mostly worn with pants, jeans or trousers. Since you can’t see the top of the boot under pants, it’s almost like money down the drain (or a style unseen) to have a design hidden for only you to see. Flare, skinny, or boot-cut bottoms all look great with ankle-length boots.
Knee High Boots: Whether you’re wearing pants that are tucked neatly in the boots, a knee length skirt, or an ultra-short mini, this style of boot goes unmatched by any other. This trend that initiated itself in the cold, winter months has grown to be worn well into warmer weather. Heel lengths and widths vary immensely, as do the styles of the boots themselves.
Thigh High Boots: Sometimes referred to as “Over the Knee”, these larger than life boots are often associated with exotic dancers and those employed in the world’s oldest profession. That’s too bad because these boots are practical and versatile, as there aren’t many varieties of footwear that can keep your legs warm while wearing a mini-skirt in the dead of winter in Montreal. Heel heights range from ultra-high to basically non-existent.
write by Andrew Caccam