Well, in a nutshell, shoes are an incredible product. They have history and function, they are a product of design with a need of technical know-how in construction and form. They art an art and a nod to objects of artisanal creation.
Stereotypes may place women as being obsessive over shoes, but in reality, this obsession is just as present in men as it is in women. It has become quite obvious that men too can be just as passionate and enthusiastic about them.
But what is it really with shoes, why the whole obsession with it?
Ah, well… shoes.
They can be purchased for a few dollars or thousands of dollars, and they can be mass produced, custom made, bespoke or even homemade! (Read Handmade vs Machine-Made Shoes to know more).
An accessory for some, a necessity others. They are needed for survival in extreme climates or safety in dangerous jobs, they are used by athletes to excel at their sport or as aids for those with walking or posture difficulties.
They can be a worn as a statement piece or a side thought. They are a versatile product that can be historic, classic, modern or futuristic. They combine architecture, engineering, art and soul.
A shoe collection might be large consisting of hundreds of shoes, or might be small and consisting of a few exquisite pieces - and it might be a large collection of absolutely exquisite pieces! Whatever the case, shoe collections have been growing larger and more diverse over the years - for both sexes.
Shoes tell a lot about an individual, and shoe collections are the epitome of getting to know a person through these physical products in their closet.
Because each pair would have been individually picked with a certain mindset at that point in time.
They are bought for practicality.
They are bought for comfort.
They are bought for travel.
They are bought for special occasions.
They are bought as collectable pieces.
They are bought as works of art.
They are displayed to be seen.
They induce confidence,
Set the tone of an outfit as a statement piece,
Can add personal style without going overboard,
Can allow you to be experimental without feeling too exposed.
They are works of art that you take with you and make you feel great,
But in some cases, worn only once because they were made for a special occasion,
Worn only once because they were actually quite uncomfortable.
Worn well until you gained wait and realized that your feet are no longer comfortable in them,
Worn well until you got pregnant (if you’re a mum) and realized that you now would wear one size larger for the rest of your life!
Worn out because they aged so beautifully and were over-worn, but still too precious to be thrown out.
Personally, my love for shoes encompasses all of the above. The footwear industry has given me the opportunity to explore craft, culture, and history (read For the Love of Leather and Shoes or How to Design a Shoe: Concept to Creation to know more). It has allowed me to work with my hands and watch how a good product can change over time. I have grown to understand that wear is the process by which appreciation is given to a product, and that shoes are not made to always look brand new. I am proud that the wrinkles in my shoes are able tell the story of the journey I have taken over the years.
I am always happy to hear from you, and this time, get in touch to share your shoe stories and shoe closets - why do YOU love shoes so much?!
Signing-off: Rana Cheikha for The Shoe Advisor