I went through a phase of buying absurd shoes. By absurd, I mean both absurdly expensive (thanks for that, SATC), and absurd in their discomfort. But it was the noughties, and exciting footwear had reached fetishistic levels, which in my case meant spending all my money for the hell that was cramming my poor feet into patent pink stilettos by Louboutin or silver strappy Choos.
Fast forward ten years, and I am no longer enslaved by trends – even though they’re admittedly now far more moderate and foot-friendly that those of my early twenties. Now, if someone suggests I wear something that might even slightly pinch a corner of my foot, I’ll ignore them; the comfort of my feet far outweighs their appearance because, as a Londoner, they are my primary vehicle for getting around.
Designers who thrill me today: Minna Parikka, who makes trainers that look fun (and made these bunny ones that continue to delight me – and everyone I encounter while wearing them), Tods (reliable flats, though spendy), Toms (can’t go wrong, oh-so cheap), and every trainer brand going, for a trainer is the next best thing to my trusty fleece slippers in comfort.
Despite my rigid adherence to choosing shoes for their comfort, I am sometimes lead astray. Prime example: I bought Stan Smiths in the hope I could just fling them on sans socks (a new direction for me and one on which I’m not yet fully sold), and discovered that despite being a superior shoe for pairing with jeans and tailored trousers, they also form blisters no end.
Similarly, the strappy Dries van Noten sandals I coveted for months started to rub under every strap – and don’t even get me started on the extortionate Sergio Rossi studded numbers that have probably prompted more cab journeys to the safety of my slipper-littered home than any other single factor over the course of my life.
As the above stories illustrate, I am no authority on comfy shoes. It is a minefield that I am still navigating. I have heard that socks paired with Birkenstocks is perhaps the zenith of contentment of foot, but I work for a magazine and live in London – even I am not so seduced by the promise of pain-free feet as to take things that far.
I can, however, point you towards a purchase that has made my journey (both metaphorical and actual) easier: Compeed Anti-Blister Stick. It looks like a big, fat lip balm, but one roll of this stuff over areas that are starting to redden from friction, and the pain is lessened thanks to the slip this stick imparts. It is absolutely not a seal as the plasters are, but it reduces the likelihood of getting a blister in the first place, which I consider to be the bigger win. That, and the fact that it costs £4.25 and seems to last and last, making my feet more comfortable every time it goes on. If only I could say the same about those Loubs.