Even if you’re not into tattoos (and I have written about my tattoo thoughts here), you can’t deny that the delicate work of California-based Dr Woo is something special, and he’s well worth following on instagram for the artistry alone.
Now, even if you can’t get to California, you can have a little bit of Dr Woo’s magic via a Converse collaboration. The very special limited edition, personally tattooed and signed-leather high-tops were released today, at the eye-watering price of $1,095, but for us mere mortals, the cheaper, non-signed fabric version will be available online from the 20th of January 2018, not that these haven’t been touched by the artistry of Dr Woo, just check out the detail on the fly on the toe:
I’ll have to come clean and say that I recently had a big shoe clear-out and gave away my marble patterned Chuck-II high-tops to someone who would wear them more than me, as they just weren’t comfortable enough… not terrible, but the flatness of the sole always had me reaching for a different pair of trainers. However, I know that many people find the flexibility of Converse good for their feet, so if you love Converse and want to treat yourself to some art, check this collaboration out, as these are exquisite.
We’re well into 2018 now, but I got very busy before Christmas, then got flu, then had to catch up on all the work I didn’t do because of the busy/flu’y situation so it’s only now that I am blogging. I am sure everyone found suitable Christmas party solutions/had a lovely Christmas/picked up a bargain in the sales so I’m going to just gloss over all that excitement and get back to blogging about awesome shoes for arthritic girls (and guys) who still want to look cool.
So, my beloved Adidas gazelles finally died just before Christmas after being worn to death, and my first thought was, naturally, to buy more gazelles. However, the question of the correct colour combination reared its head, and as I was trying to determine what I really wanted, it came to me: I wanted leopard-print trainers.
Leopard goes with everything (except maybe more leopard, but you know what, if you want to go full Big Cat then do it, if 2017 has shown anything it’s that rules are just an abstraction) and it looks especially smart with black, which makes up 90% of my winter wardrobe (and also my heart).
So, there is a lot of choice around at the moment, at a range of prices. In the end, I went with the Air and Grace trainers, because I was so impressed with their espadrilles in the summer:
Air and Grace have memory-foam in the soles and provide a lovely cushioning when you walk but without being unsupportive. They also look really good, and really pep up an outfit based around black jeans, which is basically my go-to on dark mornings when I have 5 minutes to get dressed before the school run. They are a little heavier than I was expecting (it’s not a massive issue, but it’s worth noting if you get tired legs).
Other notable mentions that competed for my attention included these Hush trainers, I really liked the black facing edges, but they are quite expensive (though they do look very classy, check out the gold lace tips):
At the other end of the price spectrum, New Look has these reduced from an already bizarrely low £19.99 (I mean, how is it possible to pay someone a reasonable wage on top of materials, if the shoes cost only this much?) They don’t look cheap though, I really like the colour and the velvet, although the soles look maybe a little thick to give a comfortable flex:
If you need a wide shoe, Superga are a really good bet, and this mini-leopard is currently in the sale, reduced from £55:
And finally, if you prefer a traditional sporty trainer shape, rather than he flatter soles of the sneaker styles, Scandinavian brand Woden, which have ultra-lightweight, cushioning cork insoles, have a leopard offering, which is currently in the sale:
And although this is not leopard, an honourable mention goes to the new Rogue Matilda sneakers. I love everything about these: the colours, the heart on the heel… [spoiler alert] these will probably be my next trainer purchase:
Oh yes it is! With apologies to the international readers who may not be aware of the rather quintessentially British ‘immersive theatre’ that is pantomime, but it’s Christmas and it seems ASICS are also getting in he mood with their Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs range.
For adults you can choose between the sweet Snow White, the colour is lovely, and I surprisingly really like the removable bow, maybe it’s the velvet:
Or, for the darker of soul there’s the Wicked Queen:
The shoes are based on the pleasingly retro 1987 Gel-lyte model, and were designed to be very light (always good when you have sore bones). It is, however the fleece-lined older children’s range of ‘dwarf’ shoes that I REALLY like — these do go up to a UK6 (starting at 2.5), but sadly this is too small for me. I think the fun is picking, which dwarf you are. I would argue that I am sleepy:
Although I am sure my family might suggest grumpy might suit me better (I also like the colour, maybe I am grumpy!):
But the pair I think I will be buying for my daughter is the adorable Bashful (although that’s not an adjective I’d often associate with her). The sunny yellow is just perfect (oh no it isn’t, etc, etc):
Having been initiated into the tribe of Grenson-wearers after spotting a particularly amazing pair on Susan Calman (now a Strictly-Come-Dancing goddess), I am rather pleased that I can get 20% off with the code THANKYOU20 (until midnight GMT on the 27th of November), as I want more and they’re expensive.
Grenson do some amazing flatform shoes, and the colour of these metallic chocolate are just beautiful, they look like melted galaxy bar (a good thing!):
and I also love the colour contrast of these monks:
Alas, flatforms and I don’t really get on, but that’s not a problem because there are plenty of other shoes, including some lovely sneakers, to choose from, although I think I am most taken with these, because you can always rely on a pair of black boots, and these would look awesome with some rolled-up jeans and bright knit:
Susan Calman is my favourite on Strictly, and hopefully she’ll stay in tonight. She’s not the best dancer, but I love watching her dance with Kevin. If she does go through to next week, I may treat myself to a pair of Grensons to celebrate…
I’m not going to do a massive Black Friday post. Mainly because I think people are more likely to be shopping than reading blogs about shopping, and hopefully everyone knows the rule that you buy something you have had your eye on anyway, so don’t feel swayed by what I want. Also be aware that discounts are often meaningless in these days of dynamic pricing, so don’t feel pressured (for example, mahabis slippers are offering a 10% discount on Black Friday with the code BLACKFRIDAY, but they email me a 10% discount at least once a fortnight throughout the year. In fact, of you have been on the mahabis website, you’ll probably get a 10% discount come up in targeted advertising… could do better, mahabis).
So, things I really have had my eye on includes most of Uterqüe, and they have up to 40% off selected items from 22:00 tonight (GMT). I don’t know which selected items but given I do want a lot of the shop, there is bound to be something I covet. Bear in mind that Uterqüe recently did 40% off their lovely trainers, so if I don’t get that discount again, I’ll feel short-changed.
Also on my wishlist have been these amazing burgundy (slightly too high but don’t ruin the moment with facts) velvet boots from Office, which is doing a 20% discount with the code SHINE:
However, Black Friday is most useful for things that are usually out of your price range that rarely go into the sale, but are kind of essentials. Last year I bought a Protected Species waterproof coat (regular readers will know I spend a good junk of my time walking the dog in Britain’s crappy weather), and not being wet is of utmost importance. Not looking like a tit is also pretty high up there, so when I found a coat in which I could walk the dog and follow that immediately with a pub lunch without looking like I had been up Snowdon, I was over the moon. I had to pay dearly, however, for such coats do not come cheap. However, Protected Species are doing a 20% Black Friday discount with the code CYBER20 across all their coats:
The parka is great, the fabric is soft and not at all ‘rustly’, and it keeps the rain out. It’s a great coat and I’ve no qualms about wearing it into town when it’s chucking it down.
I am a massive fan of Gore-Tex here on shoeslifeblog, and who wouldn’t be? Waterproof yet breathable, it prevents soggy feet and cold, sore bones, especially in winter, without having to don a pair of massive wellies. For my arthritis, wet bones are excruciatingly painful.
More and more shoe manufacturers are lining their winter offerings with Gore-Tex, and most interestingly, Adidas have just brought out a pair of Gore-Tex NMDs (they seem to be based on their original versions looking at the support on the heels). I know a lot of people really like NMDs, myself included, although I much prefer the R2 versions. I find them cool and modern and supportive without being bulky. I think I’ve said before, I wouldn’t run in them (I mean, I can’t really run, but I wouldn’t advise other people to), their lack of laces/adjustability means your foot could slip, and the knit fabric isn’t supportive. But for walking about, they’re good, and have lots of cushioning.
Now, typically, they have only brought the Gore-Tex versions out in men’s sizes. It’s frustrating; I don’t know why — maybe they don’t think women go out in the rain (hahaha) or maybe NMDs just don’t shift in sufficient quantities in women’s sizes to warrant a special run. If you really want a pair and you have small feet, please write to them and tell them. If you’ve got big feet like me, the non-Gore-Tex NMDs tend to run small, so I would go up a size. I wear a UK7 (but I am actually a 6.5) and they are snug on me, but bear in mind that a men’s UK7 is a women’s UK8, so if you’re a woman, I would go for your normal size and hope for the best.
They come in black and white, and have a sleek urban design:
They’re not cheap, but Gore-Tex never is, but if you’re a fan of the NMDs and having dry feet, they’re something to know about.