Friday, 21 June 2013
I suppose a good place to begin would be to define my current relationship with shoes in general. I am a self-proclaimed shoe-oholic, and shamelessly so... most of the time. It is an age old attachment with no distinct beginning and no perceivable end. A friend once recalled how on my very first day at my new primary school, some 11 years ago, her foremost observations were my very un-(south)Asian-like appearance, my nervousness and my pretty high heeled black sandals. I too remember them well, black ankle-strapped suede wedges with plastic stars adorning the straps at the front and bright red insoles - a childhood favourite.
It is usually towering heels that catch my eye. When it comes to style, words like beautiful, fun and elegant enter the mind. Good shoes put confidence in your stride, gives you an air of gracefulness. As Marilyn Monroe stated: "Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world."
Having put things into perspective, it may surprise readers that I tend not to drool over designer brands or the flashing red soles of a pair of supposedly hot Louboutin's, the reason escapes me as well.
That was until I happened upon the most charmingly elegant pair of pale pink kitten heels of unknown origin. Strangely alluring, the pair defy my usual preferences, for one, the heel is teensy, for another they are stud encrusted, a detail rarely teamed with the adjective 'elegant' and finally, the very fact that they a designer. A little research revealed them to be none other than Valentino Garavani's rockstud sling backs - to my utter dismay (see photo below). Argh! The frustration of wanting something so far beyond the stretches of your student loan! Hence, I reluctantly settled to envisioning them as that one pair of shoes I love but will never come to own.
Source: Farfetch website ( Original price: £897
 Then lo and behold, a cheeky detour to Zara's website (my new found favourite place to shop in Leeds, a store my hometown is unhappily deprived of) during intense revision period, returned a gem of a find. Zara's spike stud micro-suede kitten heel sandals, from the Spring/Summer 13 collection, strikingly resemble their premium relatives in both style and general impression (see photo below).
Source: own image. Original price: £39.99
The shoes share the same heel height and gold detailing, both are pointed and both are trimmed with studs, pyramid in the Valentino's, spikes in Zara. While the they are sling back in design, the Zara differ in that they have additional studded ankle straps, a definite plus for me. The main difference though, aside from the price tag and origin, has to be material; the Valentino pair are made of leather rather than suede. Suede, though pretty, tends to be fairly delicate, and is best avoided on wetter occasions (trust me, I learnt the hard way). There is also the plastic (or acrylic, can't quite tell) trim lining the front of the Valentino pair which I can really do without. The only real let down with the Zara pair is that they come in the one colour, black when it was the pink I was lusting after. Having put it off, again and again, my first trip back into city centre after exams brought me to Zara's doors. It look some searching for, the way the store display their shoes is particularly unhelpful. And after trying them on for size, I was in love! Not so surprisingly they came home with me that afternoon.
To wear: I've only taken my studded sling backs out once, a shopping trip that was cut short due to the onset of uncontrollable hay fever. I can report that they are fairly easy to walk in given the small heel, however be sure to keep the ankle strap loose as they do tend to pull when walking and of course it is going to hurt when one foot accidently catches against another, so tread with care. All in all, these shoes look stunning and demure in black with a playful but dangerous streak, perhaps not the most comfortable pair of shoes in the world but then most beautiful shoes aren't.
Currently on sale at Zara, reduced to £29.99, grab them before they go!

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