If there’s one thing I’m obsessed with, it’s…well, it’s chocolate. But if there’s another thing I’m obsessed with, it’s shoes. Looking at them. Trying them on. Buying them. Matching them with outfits. Breaking them in, soldiering on through the pain…and coming out a stronger, more stylish (albeit bloody-toed) woman on the other side. They say you’re either a shoe girl or a bag girl, but I say why choose?
So many of the defining moments of my life have been accompanied by the right pair. There were the patent grey job-interview pumps with the heel that almost touched the sky. There were the sturdy black flat city boots that once came with me on a long-weekend trip to Oslo…and trudged through snow and rain for four days. There was my trusty Converse wardrobe (classic white, blue with a star print and black-on-black studs) staying by my side from the first sun of spring until autumn showers. There were the black ankle booties sprinting through the streets of Camden. And finally there were my wedding shoes, white like snow and delicate like glass – in fact, my first and only ever broken heel occurred just moments after my first dance with my husband. Leave it to my shoes to make lasting memories everywhere they go.
Unlike many, I don’t underestimate comfort with my shoes. I’m not a “either it’s flat or it’s six inches” kind of girl. I very rarely wear stilettos. Why? Because, as it happens, I like to do more than stand around in my shoes, or sit in a taxi in a ladylike manner. I like to walk in them, for instance. I like to dance in them. I like to skip in them, if I’m in the right mood. I even like to run in them (okay, only if the nr 3 bus is getting away). This is not to say I’m a stranger to a challenging shoe: when my sister got married we all had to walk up the world’s most enormous hill to the restaurant…and I swung it in my five-and-a-half-inch stilettos. So there. It’s just that, when choosing an everyday pair, I need to know that they will take me from the big H&M in Oxford Circus all the way to Zara Bond Street without morphing into a torture chamber for my feet.
I must confess that I’d never tried a pair of Chelsea boots before this lovely Beyond Skin style crossed my path. I had seen them on the likes of Victoria Beckham and Alexa Chung, but for some reason never taken the leap. Boy am I happy I did.
These boots don’t only go perfectly with everything (and I mean everything), they’re also ridiculously comfortable. I’ve styled them with my red coat (PLL, anyone?), my black winter-staple coat and my fake fur, and they add that London cool feel to each and every one. Brilliant.
As with so many other things in life, finding a pair that ticks all the boxes is harder than it seems – but it’s also incredibly fun. Like that other search for The One, the hunt for the right pair is exciting, rewarding and at times tricky. Remember vegan goddess Alicia Silverstone’s classic, “you know how picky I am with shoes, and they only go on my feet”? I say be picky – the right pair is worth the wait!
Now if you excuse me, I have to go try them on with yet another dress I’m sure they’ll match perfectly. Happy shoe shopping!
In collaboration with Beyond Skin. Photo by David Camilli