Boots that prove cheap can be chic

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News, Re­view & Fea­tures

All this talk of Trump’s first in-of­fice an­niver­sary has re­minded me of other hith­erto unimag­in­able world events that have come to pass in re­cent months. I’m think­ing mainly of The Daily Tele­graph fash­ion team’s near uni­ver­sal volte face on cheap shoes.

Not just any old shoes – mainly dec­o­ra­tive ones, since gen­er­ally, these don’t take much pound­ing. Even this is a turn­around since the team has been, in all hon­esty, some­what snooty in re­gards to its footwear. That’s be­cause we had dili­gently lis­tened to our moth­ers who brought us up to be­lieve in the NHS and in “in­vest­ing in good shoes”. If you’ve been won­der­ing how on earth Gucci has man­aged to chalk up record sales in the past 18 months, look no fur­ther than be­neath the desks in this news­pa­per’s of­fice.

But this au­tumn, rev­o­lu­tion has been afoot. It started when my col­league Char­lie (our act­ing se­nior fash­ion news and fea­tures edi­tor) took de­liv­ery of her first pair of Zara cock­tail san­dals back in Au­gust. At the time, none of us was pre­cisely sure what a cock­tail san­dal was, but sev­eral de­liv­er­ies later, we can nar­row it down to some­thing that looks madly and thus de­sir­ably in­ap­pro­pri­ate for win­ter. It will ei­ther be silky, satiny or vel­vety, prob­a­bly in­volve jew­els and al­most cer­tainly re­quire huge amounts of toe up­keep.

Gen­er­ally you’d think cut-price crys­tals and glue were not a re­li­able com­bi­na­tion. But that was the old or­der of things. High street em­bel­lish­ment prob­a­bly won’t be as ro­bust as Gucci’s or Blah­nik’s. So fac­tor this into the out­lay and ex­am­ine care­fully be­fore buying (if there are al­ready sev­eral pairs with miss­ing adorn­ments on the shelf, avoid).

Zara has ex­celled it­self in the cock­tail shoe depart­ment this sea­son. Re­cently it has added closed-toe de­signs. Since many of them are flat or low-heeled, and be­cause the weather has been un­sea­son­ably mild – thank

you, God – Char­lie has been able to per­suade her­self and, to be fair, us, that they are “sur­pris­ingly prac­ti­cal”.

It’s true that once the re­al­i­ties of cooler weather dress­ing set in, the cock­tail shoe is a rel­a­tively easy way to spruce up the jumper and trouser com­bi­na­tion that many of us will be wear­ing from now un­til late May, and Zara is not the only player in town. Marks & Spencer, now the coun­try’s sec­ond big­gest sup­plier of shoes af­ter Clarks, is hav­ing a bit of a shoe mo­ment. One of its em­bel­lished of­fer­ings, un­can­nily sim­i­lar (apart from the side seams) to Manolo Blah­nik’s Hangisi, is on­line in six colours and both a 3.5in (90mm) and 2in (55mm) heel (£35). There’s also a very pretty velvet kit­ten heel sling­back (£29.50). This one fea­tures In­so­lia, patented tech­nol­ogy that re­dis­tributes foot pres­sure and re­ally does make a huge dif­fer­ence to com­fort.

Cur­rently the con­sen­sus here on the fash­ion desk is that the cock­tail shoe looks strange with tights – al­though we may have come around to the idea by next week. Mean­while, we’re still in the ten­ta­tive-ex­per­i­men­ta­tion phase as far as socks are con­cerned, but have high hopes that Falke’s Lurex ones (£14, lux­ury-legs.com) might do the trick. If you’re think­ing £14 is an odd amount to pay for socks when the shoes may only cost £26, then you’re clearly still hav­ing prob­lems ad­just­ing to the afore­men­tioned topsy turvy world of 2017.

Don’t worry, you’ll get there, be­cause if el cheapo cock­tail shoes don’t grab you, dressy an­kle boots might. Ex­cel­lent with trousers and midis, these make go­ing bare­legged in the evening – gen­er­ally a more glam­orous op­tion than thick opaques – much more achiev­able. Zara’s char­treuse em­broi­dered ones are par­tic­u­larly good. And then there are the on-trend kit­ten heels – from Dior-es­que sling­backs to the Ce­line in­spired high-fronted V-cuts that make ev­ery­thing you wear look just a bit more mod­ern. The pointier the shoe, the more likely it is to wear away in the first two hours, but that’s equally true of lux­ury ver­sions, and far less dis­ap­point­ing. Com­fort varies, and not just from brand to brand. One woman’s tor­ture is an­other woman’s all-day standby. It’s best to try on in store. Nancy Mit­ford would prob­a­bly con­sider cheap shoes most non-u, but Nancy didn’t have Zara. She was also a snob – so last cen­tury.

The cock­tail shoes Satin em­bel­lished san­dals, £25.99 (zara.com) Velvet strappy flats, £90 (bo­den.co.uk) Em­bel­lished mules, £26 (bershka.com) The kit­ten heels Leather sling­backs, £59.99 (mango.com) Bow kit­ten heels, £29.50 (mark­sand­spencer.com) Checked heels, £49.99 (zara.com) The an­kle boots Metal­lic navy boots, £36 (top­shop.com) Em­broi­dered boots, £69.99 (zara.com) Sock boots, £55 (riveris­land.com) Blazer, £69.99; trousers,

£29.99; and kit­ten heels, £59.99 (zara.com)

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