For some women, it's handbags. For others, it's jewellery. But my fashion weakness - my soft spot - is shoes.
Not only do I feel like I can never have enough, I am very picky when it comes to buying shoes. Considering how picky I already am with fashion items in general, you can imagine how frustrated my mom gets when she tries to help me find shoes. My preferences have partially been influenced by my dad, who is also extremely particular about shoes. We often huddle together by shoe racks judging the goods, and he'll teach me ways to spot high quality shoes. Those are the kind of father-daughter moments I look fondly upon!
Since I have such a rigorous selection process, I thought I'd share some of my must-haves when looking at shoes:
1) Single Sole
Single soled shoes will always be the most beautiful. They produce the classiest silhouettes, and can instantly refine an outfit. There are occasions where platforms are acceptable (with chunky heels), but I would never go near a platform shoe with skinny heels. Despite the added height of platforms, they make legs look stumpier and shorter. They give me visions of girls in bedazzled, skin-tight dresses and caked-on makeup. If you want sleek elegance, go for single soled.
2) Toe Box
Looking at toe boxes is crucial! My tastes have changed over the years; I used to like rounded toe, but now I can't do anything but pointed. The toe box should come to a clean taper, and the connection to the vamp should be so smooth it calms your soul. For a shoe with a majestic toe box, your eyes should be able to naturally follow its sumptuous lines. There are many different ways to do a successful toe box, but I avoid all shoes which taper too sharply, or which unnecessarily extend the taper. I also check to make sure they are as flush to the ground as possible. A slight lift at the tip is acceptable, but I often find cheaply-made shoes will have their toe boxes curved upwards, and that has become a tell-tale sign to me that a shoe is of poor quality.
3) Leather Upper
Generally, I prefer shoes to be leather. Of course, suede has its appeal and other materials can add fantastic texture, but as a basic guideline, leather can't be beat. Other materials are more difficult to clean, and since my dad is on my back every time I walk out of the house with dirty shoes ("No matter how nice your outfit is, dirty shoes will make you look sloppy!"), leather offers me the added benefit of practicality. I steer away from pebbled leather because I like to have the richness of smooth leather, and patent should only be used when it is high quality and adds to the design of the shoe. Otherwise, it can get tacky. Lastly, I only look for real leather. You know the sticker on the bottom of soles that outline the shoe's materials? If there is anything besides the leather symbol in the first two boxes, I will usually put the shoe back down.
4) Leather Inner
Building off the previous point, I prefer shoes with leather insoles. Not only is a shoe of higher quality if it has a leather inner, I have found leather to be the most breathable material. Synthetic material results in unfortunate sweating, and so for summer shoes especially, leather insoles are a must.
5) Leather(-Like) Sole
As for soles, this is a more flexible point. Leather soles are nice, although often not ideal in terms of traction. Rubber soles are less attractive to me, but if they are on flats, I am often not against it as long as the rest of the shoe is well-made. For heels and boots, I do like to see something akin to leather.
Sidenote for men: My dad believes quality men's shoes will have stitched soles. He points out many shoes nowadays imitate stitching along the edge of the sole, when in reality the sole is glued on. I own a pair of flats with a stitched sole, and can say it is a nice detail to have!
Lastly, all of my shoes have some sort of heel, even my flats. This is usually not a problem as most shoes are not completely flat (except flip flops...so please, get those away from me). However, I do love when heels are sturdy enough to make a sound when walking. Some people grit their teeth at or shy away from heels clicking, but for me, that's music to my ears. Every click is like a surge of power running through me; I stand taller and walk with more purpose. A good set of quality heels is the ultimate confidence-booster.
Image Source: CareerGirlDaily, JaneSays, JimmyChoo, Clochet, HoltRenfrew, Favim, TheStyleSpy