Shoes for him

While many women feel a strange excitement at the discovery of a new, ‘gorgeous’ shoe, it can also be possible for men to get a little excited over that new, ‘awesome’ shoe too.

But with women having so many different styles to choose from, such as the stiletto, court, kitten heel or flat, what do men have to choose from? Below is a list of shoes for men to seek out.

I spoke to Alexander a 24-year-old student, and George a 59-year-old trade worker, and asked them which shoes they would or wouldn’t purchase and why.

The Sandal

Alexander: “No, They look like something my dad would wear.”
George: “Yes, these are good for everyday.”

The Moccasin
Alexander:
“Maybe, it’s like grandpa slipper meets trendy.”
George:
“I have a pair of these without the laces, they are comfortable and good to wear out to dinner.”

The Dress shoes:

Laced

Alexander: “A bit too formal to wear except to a wedding.”
George: “These are too formal for everyday wear but they’re great for special occasions.”

Lace-less

Alexander: “Definitely. They’re the pair of shoes every guy should own.”
George: “These are another good pair to wear out for dinner.”

The Sneaker
Alexader:
“Only for the gym, sneakers should never be worn unless running, never!”
George:
“I only wear these when I go for walks, other than that they just sit in the shoe closet. I probably won’t be buying a new pair anytime soon.”

The Thong
Alexander:
“Trendy thongs are a bit of a waste of money, I always seem to lose one.”
George:
“Yes, good quality thongs are great to wear around the house and to the beach.”

The Boot
Alexander:
“Yeah, I think I’d probably buy a pair.”
George:
“Other than to work, I don’t wear boots so I probably wouldn’t invest in a pair like these.”


The making of the shoe

Mesopotamia

The first shoe is said to have been invented by the mountain people of Mesopotamia in 1600-1200BC, a simple, leather, wraparound sandal that after many centuries has been turned into the shoes we wear today.

In today’s age shoes are no longer solely built to protect the feet from harsh ground or weather. They are now built for comfort as well as style.

As we all know, shoes come in a range of materials, from leather to satin, plastic, suede and synthetic imitations of all such materials.

But how often do you wonder about how exactly shoes are made? My guess is rarely.

So your answer?

The moment this question enters your mind you may imagine an old, run down factory somewhere in Asia where small children labour over running shoes and get paid less than one Aussie buck.

The Vegan Peace website states that,

“The International Labor Organization (ILO) has estimated that 250 million children between the ages of five and fourteen work in developing countries. 61% in Asia, 32% in Africa and 7% in Latin America. Many of these children are forced to work. They are denied an education and a normal childhood. Some are confined and beaten. Some are denied the right to leave the workplace and go home to their families. Some are even abducted and forced to work.”

The website also states that many shoes are made in sweatshops, with sneakers and athletic shoes being the most popular.

Nike and Reebok are two brands that have been under fire for the working conditions of their staff in the past, and have since done their best to improve conditions and move away from the ‘sweatshop’ label.

However not all shoes are made at the expense of children in sweatshops. Vegan Peace offers a list of sweatshop-free shoe retailers that make their shoes ethically and from organic materials.

But if you want the fancy shoes without the morbid back story, search out for someone who makes shoes by hand. Or even learn to make them yourself!

Shoes of Prey is a small Australian company that hand-makes stylish shoes according to the design and colour that you want. The company has even created a Youtube clip that shows customers how their shoes are hand-made.

Mel.

Fashion as art

Fashion and art are constantly bring intertwined by designers and artists around the world to bring consumers pieces that push the boundaries and are purely for visual pleasure rather than practicality (most especially when it comes to fashion). In the last few years, designers such as Alexander McQueen and Christian Louboutin have combined fashion with art to create masterpieces that have begun to  nestle themselves in fashion history.

In 2010, designer Alexander McQueen created a shoe that pushed all the boundaries stylistically and physically. Nicknamed the ‘Armadillo’ shoe, curved with a killer heel, this shoe from the 2010 Spring Runway Show challenged expectations and stood out against other designers.

On receiving a pair, the writers behind the Vogue.co.uk blog attempted to give the artistic shoes a whirl:

“Even the most seasoned among the Vogue fashion team were quite literally staggered by the arrival of these Alexander McQueen mega shoes. Dubbed the “armadillos”, these python numbers dwarf even the most towering stilettos. Measuring an otherworldly 12

 inches tall, we couldn’t resist giving them a whirl, but miserably failed to make it further than the Vogue fashion cupboard. How those McQueen models made it down the runway is beyond us. Respect is due.”

In 2011, shoe designer Christian Louboutin launched a new collection and advertised the shoes in the style of many well known paintings, featuring footwear that blends in with the paintings surroundings.

To see the entire campaign click here.

However this does not seem to be the only way in which shoes can be involved on an artistic level. The Shoe Buff has complied 30 art works that base the shoe as their centre. Ranging from advertisements to actual artistic pieces, the shoe is brought into a different light using various materials and illusions.

Shoes have also played an important role in film. The Devil Wears Prada aside, the latest shoe to be brought to attention is the Nike sneaker. Its debut in the film Back To The Future has finally done the shoe justice as Nike has attempted to create the self-lacing shoe that also lights up. Don’t get too excited though, the shoe lacks the magical function of lacing itself but according to the advertisement featuring Christopher Walkin, there’s possibility for the future.

Mel.

Shoes of all sorts

Shoes are an important part of our daily uniform, and we all know that they come in more than one style, size, colour, shape and so on. For some men perhaps they are merely a necessity while for others they are a reflection of their fashion sense. For women however, shoes can be a necessity, a fashion statement and a murder weapon.

According to a survey conducted by ShopSmart magazine in March 2011, the average woman owns 17 pairs of high-heels. ShopSmart magazine surveyed 1000 women and found that the average woman spends approximately $49 on each new pair with only 31 per cent spending over $100 on a single pair.

Perhaps for some 17 pairs of heels sounds like a whopper of a number, but for others (like myself), it sounds fairly ordinary. This number does not include flats, boots, thongs, uggs, or sneakers, that is a minimum of another 5 pairs right there.

Men on the other hand seem to vary on the amount of shoes an average male owns.

The TIME Style and Design Poll from 2006 found that:

 Nearly two-thirds (63%) of men own 10 pairs of shoes or less with the average being 12 pairs. A large majority (82%) of women on the other hand, own 11 pairs of shoes or more with the average being 27 pairs. Two-in-five (19%) women confess to having more than 50 pairs of shoes, compared to only 4% of men.

However according to the author behind Anthropology In Practice, men admit to only having between 4-5 pairs of shoes.

So with figures like these, it makes you wonder what drives men and women to buy a new pair of shoes. Perhaps it is somewhat like the below diagrams found on cracked.com?

Women:

click to enlarge

Men:

click to enlarge

How many shoes do you own and what do you consider when buying a new pair?

Fill out the poll below to find out how many shoes you own compared to your girlfriends or mates!

Mel.