Reviewing every pair of shoes I own – Part 2

Assessing every shoe, sandal and boot to find out what really matters when it comes to what you put on your feet

I’ve been taking a long hard look at every pair of shoes I own, and trying to learn a bit about why I own them. Inspired by my Shopping my Shipping series, and how much that has inadvertently taught me about my relationship with clothes, I thought I’d apply a similar approach to my footwear. I’m looking forward to learning more about what makes me tick, so to speak, when it comes to what I put on my feet, and how that might help me achieve my long-term goal of a more eco-friendly wardrobe. Check out Part 1 to see the first round of shoes, and read on for Part 2!

Yellow block heel sandals

Close-up of Helen wearing yellow block-heeled strappy sandals

You know how I said my black sandals were a daily occurrence in the summer months? These were my solution for when fatigue finally set in. I’m not sure it was a great one. It was a season when yellow was very much an ‘in’ colour, and bright coloured shoes and jewel tones in general were having a moment. So I guess I should be thankful that I opted for such a mild incarnation of the trend. Though I’ve become slightly skeptical of the colour, I do still love these shoes. They’re comfy, go with lots of things, and add a pleasing note of variety to summer outfits. I just have to try not to remember the time a colleague compared them to banana skins.

Would I recommend them? Yes, but with a slight sense of hesitation.

Classic pointy heels

Close up of Helen wearing black pointy high-heels with a thin heel.

A classic, timeless pair of heels that get an outing whenever and wherever I’m trying to look a little bit fancy. I think they’d look great as day wear for the office, but they’re just not comfortable enough. My feet are frankly a weird shape, and pointed shoes aren’t a natural choice for me. But they’re fine for relatively short bursts, and I do think they pull together an outfit nicely. One day I’ll wear them with the women’s dinner jacket/tuxedo look of my dreams, but until then they’re great with dresses and skirts (check them out in my vintage inspired everyday outfit post). Surely every woman owns some variation of the theme of these shoes, and I can certainly see why.

Would I recommend them? If you’re sitting down or only going to be out for a few hours, then yes.

Asics Running Shoes

Close up of Helen wearing blue, turquoise and white running shoes with bright pink laces.

These are pretty beaten up now, but they have seen me through a good many miles. I got back into running in a big way this year, having had on and off phases for probably the last five or six years. These shoes are pretty old, and due for a refresh, but they’re still comfortable, and doing the job. The carbon footprint of sports shoes can be huge, so I’m keen to get as much use out of these as I possibly can. I think when I finally replace them I’ll go for something black, but I actually quite like the brightness of these. My new ideal would I think be black with rainbow laces. Lockdown number two and mandatory masks (albeit, controversially, not for running) but a bit of a dampener on my running, but now we’re back to two hours of exercise, these are seeing the light of day and starting to work up the miles again. I’ve got some big fitness goals on my 30 before 30 list, including running a half marathon, so they’re definitely going to be seeing a fair bit more of the open road!

Would I recommend them? Absolutely yes!

Brown brogues

Close-up of Helen wearing soft brown leather brogues.

It look me a surprisingly long time to cave and buy some brown brogues as an alternative to my black patent ones. I wanted some I could wear with jeans and more neutral colours, and after quite a long search I settled on these. I’m actually quite picky about the height, length and general proportions of shoes (which I blame on the weirdness of my feet), but I think these ones are nicely balanced. They have that kind of 40s/Land Girl vibe I so often go for, and sit well with a lot things in my closet. I’ve traipsed round Amsterdam and Newcastle in these, and one re-heel later they’re still going strong.

Would I recommend them? Yes! (Especially if you’re into vintage looks)

Black High-Heeled Mary-Janes

Close-up of Helen wearing black high block-heeled Mary Jane shoes with

After a summer wearing those block-heeled sandals I’d got used to the extra height they gave me, and wanted to find something I could wear with tights in the winter months. I’m fairly tall anyway, but something about being as tall as the tall men at work felt weirdly empowering, so I wanted to keep it up. But being honest with myself about the shape of my feet and the level of comfort I require if I’m going to wear heels all day, I’ve realised that I need to have something, be it a strap, laces, or whatever, to hold shoes onto my feet. I’ve grown to like Mary-Janes over the years, but they’re not easy to find. After some searching I settled on this pair, and they’ve done me well. As will all shoes they took some getting used to, but I soon acclimatised to them, and they’ve become one of my favourite pairs.

Would I recommend them? Yes!

It’s already proving interesting to sit down and collect my thoughts on my shoe collection. I think one positive is that I’m realising I have a more practical approach to them than I do to clothes. The drivers of comfort and usability have led me to make more sensible choices, and think through what I need a bit more before actually buying things. I wonder if this is partly just because shoes are generally more expensive than clothes, so I feel a greater need to justify anything I do buy? But in spite of this, I am still drawn to some impulsive purchases! Keep your eyes peeled for Part 3 and some more revelations!

What’s your favourite pair of shoes? Do you choose shoes for comfort or do you go for looks first? Do share your experiences and tips in the comments below!

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