Just recently, I posted a piece on the difficulties inherent in buying ladies’ night attire. I’ve just been through another retail trauma, this time involving the purchase of ladies’ walking shoes – note the word walking. Judging by what was on offer in the normally sane Shoon outlet, you would end up believing that manufacturers live in a fantasy world as regards footwear for women – and think that we do, too.
All I wanted was a pair of shoes that looked good, felt comfortable and that one can actually walk in. There are plenty of shoes out there that look good, that is, if you lead the Jolie/Kidman lifestyle, tripping from chauffeur-driven car to movie set, and then home again. Mock-croc patent and suede ankle fringes over impossibly spindly heels are useless on rough, urban terrain, bedevilled by the elements.
And there were plenty that were no doubt comfortable, looking for all the world like cut-down Uggs. But what if you don’t want to negotiate the world in fleece-lined, slipper-like booties that flap around your ankles like toothless gums? After a while searching, I thankfully grasped a streamlined, leather walking shoe, only to be told: Those, Madam, are for men.
Aaasaagh! It was all I could do not to knock over the display. I finally found my quarry, a pair of quasi-boots that fitted my original criteria – and me. Great, but why do women have so little choice in footwear alongside the vast array available to men? Short of making our own, what can we do?