Cinderella, Carrie Bradshaw – women who showed us that a new pair of shoes can lead to a life-changing experience! From seductive stilettos to a dependable pair of Doc Martens, it is imperative to know what shoes to wear when and how. In honor of our everlasting summer and the innumerable festive occasions, we’ve put together a special list of shoes that every stylish (yet sensible) Indian woman must own…
FOR THE INDIAN SUMMER
Kohlapuri chappals (sandals)
Originally made from hardy buffalo leather for people residing in mountainous south Maharashtra, these open-toed, T-strap sandals are undoubtedly the most popular footwear in India. Worn by women and men, the modern versions of the famed tan slippers are available in a plethora of vibrant hues and materials. With pairs available in local markets for as little as Rs150, you can also procure embellished ‘designer’ versions for thousands of rupees for your wedding. Sadly, the artisan families who had hand-crafted these beauties for generations are now choosing other work as the demand for original Kohlapuris has declined. Nevertheless the most versatile of Indian footwear, metallic Kohlapuris can be worn with every ensemble from an ethnic kurta to a modern shift dress.
Roman and Greek sandals
This is another pair of slippers that can trace it roots back to ancient times. The long laces which can be wound around the wearer’s ankles and calves set these beauties apart from the milieu. Fashionistas often vie with each to wear Roman sandals with the longest laces. These sandals are trendy but considered informal in India so are best not worn to the office or even to a place of worship. These look best when teamed with a knee-length skirt or dress.
Famed shoe designer, Christian Louboutin loathes them but honestly what’s not to love about wedges. The wedge heel is the easiest of all high heels to walk in, not to mention the healthiest, providing almost even, elevated support to the entire foot. Whilst the ‘wedge’ refers to the heel, the rest of the design can be anything from a semi-formal leather peep-toe heel to a summery cork and fabric wedge which is perfect with a salwar suit, a dress at a picnic or for the beach.
Once again it is the heel that distinguishes these enticing heels. The heel of a stiletto is narrow and tall and must be at least 2 inches or more. French designer Roger Vivier is credited with creating the very thin heel of the stiletto using a steel rod. These are the most difficult to walk in but are coveted by every woman (and most men!) for their sheer seductiveness. The strappy stiletto is perfect for summer nights at a hip club or dinner while formal pump-stilettos are perfect for board meetings, weddings and of course the red carpet.
IN THE MONSOON
Crocs, gum boots and other rubber delights
The scorching heat of summer comes to a brief lull if we are blessed with a good monsoon. The torrential downpours across the country often leads to chaos, hence dependable rubber boots, sturdy ‘Crocs’ and the ageless ‘rubber chappal’ (flip-flops) are the way to go – even for the office! Given how disruptive the rains can be in urban India for these few weeks, employers are simply happy to see you in the office and ignore the casual footwear!
FROM WINTER TO SPRING
Mojiris, juttis and ballet slippers
November heralds the brief but bitter autumn/winter in north India and ballet slippers, mojiris and Punjabi juttis are perfect for the festive and wedding season. Mojiris and juttis are ballet slippers with an Indian flavor and are handmade from leather. These can be worn by women and men and are traditionally hand-crafted into closed shoes with slightly curling ends and embellishment from mirrors, beads, sequins, golden threadwork and more. These are also multi-purpose shoes and can be worn to the office and then later to a wedding or a Diwali party.
Sneakers and sports shoes
While these should ideally be worn throughout the year – during your morning walk – we notice that a trendy pair of sneakers is a great investment during the cooler months. November to February is also the best time of the year to travel in India and a pair of Converse sneakers is perfect for a train ride. Last year’s biggest trend – white sneakers – has given way to bedazzling slip-on sneakers with funky stickers and fun prints.
Capital city Delhi is like any other fashionable style capital in the world and if you are here in December you must bring out your knee-high boots! From trendy over-the-knee boots to practical Chelsea boots and the ubiquitous ankle boots, boots not only look great with almost any outfit but keep you warm. Whether you embrace cruelty-free vegan options or pick a futuristic patent pair, invest in a pair of boots that best suits your needs. A low-heeled, knee-high pair in a neutral black or tan is a safe, stylish bet which can be worn with your jodhpurs to polo or with a turtleneck and jeans to the mall.