The great hunt for a perfect spring shoe
by Claire Miglionico
There are few things in fashion as satisfying as owning a great pair of shoes, and what better than the spring season to get down and funky with our footwear?
It was with undeniable bad taste that I started hunting for spring trends at The Shoe Company — a big Canadian chain specializing in footwear. Despite the good deals one can find there on occasion, the stores often fall short of fantastic. I should have known I wasn’t going to get much of an answer here, but I couldn’t resist the urge to ask anyway. The sales girl did not know what the latest trends were. She told me “they weren’t trained in that area” and that the store focused mostly on trends found in magazines.
Next up, I made my way to a cosy little shoe store perched in the Devenish Building on 17th Avenue S.W. called Shoe Craze. The store seemed too fancy to cater to a student clientele, but I thought it wouldn’t hurt to get an opinion from a high-end store. Shoe Craze manager Laura Halabi had no trouble answering my every shoe question.
“Nude is really in,” she said of spring trends in women’s footwear. Nude is the it colour this spring and nude shoes are any kind of shoes — whether stilettos, wedges, or flats. Shopstyle.com offers a great collection of “nude shoes” to look at if the “nude” concept is still perplexing.
Next in line are loafer-style flats, you know, the ones your mom used to sport 15 years ago. Well yes, they are all the rage this spring. Halabi says they are a great alternative to heightening footwear because of the great comfort they offer. But for those looking for that “slim and heightening look,” Halabi says wedges of all sorts are also quite popular this spring, from peep-toe to cork wedges. Even stilettos seem to come in different styles this year. Halabi showed me two types of stilettos at significantly different heights. One shoe was a kitten heel stiletto while the other was a high-heel style. Apparel-wise, the good news was that it can swing both ways: either dress up your wedges or stilettos with a fancy dress or give yourself that more casual “but sexy” look with nice slim pants, Halabi said.
Although great advice was given by Halabi, my shoe hunt wasn’t over just yet. I had yet to find a shoe store that offered trendy shoes for men. Gravity Pope on 17th did not disappoint. The store is heaven for shoe-lovers of both sexes. It originates from Edmonton where Louise Dirks founded the first store in 1990 and Gravity Pope now has stores in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. The displays inside Gravity Pope show off a variety of styles, the store is roomy and the staff are friendly. Salesman Johnny McKay gave me a good feel for the latest trends in men’s and women’s footwear that Dirks handpicks herself on various shoe shopping trips around the globe.
Similarly to Halabi, McKay pointed out the cork wedges. Not only are there is a huge variety of cork wedges, there are wedges of all heights, colours, as well as chunky heels of all sorts. Unisex-wise, the oxfords are extremely popular. McKay showed me woven-leather pairs for women and a sleek black leather pair in the men’s section — the kind that goes well with skinny jeans and a fedora, or a nice suit. Boat shoes and desert shoes are very in for men. Boat shoes were originally designed for sailing but have now gone noticeably mainstream. They are typically made out of leather, have a string around the quarter of the shoe and have rubber soles. The desert shoes McKay showed me are made of suede and had a great avant-garde look to them. They are designed to keep your feet cool in hot temperatures, hence the name. McKay then makes it even more interesting when he directs me to a new brand of shoes called Native. The quarter of the shoes resemble holed-rubber found on the very unaesthetic Crocs. “They’re cut out like Vans or Converse for those (people) who wouldn’t be caught dead in Crocs,” said McKay, “They kind of have a springy, summery feel to them.”
Gravity Pope gives off that vibe that it’s serving a younger crowd and McKay confirms it by telling me the frequent clientele age range is 17 to 35 years old. The perfect place to go shoe shopping, in my opinion, so get at it!