Archive for September, 2008

What’s the big deal about choosing wedding shoes?

I had no idea that finding wedding shoes was such a complicated affair. I was foolishly under the impression that you spent hours labouring to find the perfect dress and then popped down to a shoe store to buy the first pair of white shoes that caught your eye. Apparently this is a mistake that a lot of brides-to-be make, and they end up in a flat panic when they find that shoe stores don’t really keep stock of white shoes, or that the white shoes they do have are hopelessly inappropriate for a wedding. So, what is a girl to do?

First things first, your wedding shoes need to complement your wedding dress. Unfortunately, experts are divided as to what exactly this means. Some say that your shoes need to be the exact colour of your dress. To achieve this, you need to walk around shoe shops with a swatch of fabric until you find a perfect match. Alternatively, you could buy a comfortable pair of shoes in the style that you like and have them dyed or covered to match your dress.

Traditional white wedding shoes

Traditional white wedding shoes

Others believe that if your wedding dress is simple, your shoes should be embellished, and if your dress is embellished your shoes should be simple. If, however, you decide to add detail to both your dress and shoes, you need to ensure that they are well coordinated. For instance, if you’re wearing a dress with sequins or jewels you could add crystals to your shoes, a dress with pearls can be matched with shoes with beads, and a lacy dress can be complemented with lacy shoes. Your choice of fabric is also important. Satin shoes work best with shiny fabrics. Matte dresses work well with crepe shoes.

Another school of thought, albeit a minority, subscribes to the notion that your shoes should contrast with your dress, but that they should do so tastefully. Gold or silver shoes make a nice difference to the traditional white or cream, but it’s not unheard of for brides to wear powder blue shoes, pink shoes and even red shoes. I’m pretty sure my hairdresser got married in green shoes, but I couldn’t swear to it.

Wedding shoes?

Wedding shoes?

When it comes to buying wedding shoes, there are a few things that all experts agree on:

· Buy them early, don’t leave it til the last minute. This is important for several reasons: you need to have your dress altered to suit the height of your shoes, you will need time to break them in so that you don’t end up with painful blisters on your wedding day, and you need to practice doing all the things that you will need to do on your wedding day, such as climbing stairs, dancing, walking, standing for long periods of time, and depending on how late you are for the service, running.

· Choose shoes that are comfortable. Obviously you want to look beautiful, poised and elegant on your wedding day, but it’s very difficult to carry all that off while your shoes are pinching your toes or you’re wobbling on heels that are too high or trying to hide the fact that the balls of your feet are sore and bruised. In much the same way that some brides have opted for coloured shoes, others have opted for plain white tennis shoes. But if this is too casual for you, you could always try wedges, flat ballet slippers or boots.

· Shop for shoes at the end of the day, when your feet are a little bit bigger than they are in the morning. This will ensure that shoes that fit in the morning don’t pinch at night. When shopping for your wedding shoes you also need to consider what type of hosiery, if any, you’ll be wearing with your shoes on your wedding day. If you’re going to wear stockings, wear stockings while trying on shoes.

I’ve saved the best advice for last: choose shoes that you are comfortable with and that make you happy. Your wedding shoes should suit your style and no one else’s. If that means you want to get married in knee-high purple boots; then go for it, it’s your day after all.

Purple boots

Purple boots

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Modification to trainers make exercise more efficient and effective

For most of us, exercise is an unpleasant prospect. It’s like a dirty chore (like cleaning the sticky gunk off the bottom of your fridge) that hangs over your head and makes you feel increasingly guilty each day you put it off. Over time I have learnt to ignore the stabs at my conscience and as a result I can not exercise guilt-free for weeks at a time. Others, however (such as my significant other) give in to the pressure and push themselves through relentless exercise every other day. And still others (such as my father) actually take joy in pushing their bodies to their physical limits. They lecture you on the benefits and joys of physical fitness while gasping for breath, as they double over to stifle a stitch and their sweat-drenched faces turn alarming shades of purple and crimson. The picture of health and happiness.

It’s for people like me that Power Diet Shoes were invented. Power Diet shoes are your “dream diet solution”, at least according to the manufacturers. The concept is simple: take a regular pair of trainers, insert a set of weighted insoles, take a walk and voila, you’re exercising. Apparently half an hour’s worth of normal walking in these babies burns 300 calories and improves your cardio-vascular fitness levels. There are two sets of weighted insoles. The first set (which is red) weighs around 460g each, and the second set (which is grey) weighs 1kg each. It’s recommended that no matter what you level of fitness is, you start off with the red set and work your way up to the grey one.

Power Diet shoes effectively kill two birds with one stone; they help you with your cardio-vascular workout, while simultaneously subjecting you to weight-bearing exercise. And they don’t even have to be worn exclusively for exercise. You can slip them on and pop off to the shops, walk to the office or run down to the corner store to get that milk you forgot on your way home. At £115 ($229), the shoes are quite dear, but then, so is your health.

Spira Footwear has also come up with an innovative shoe that makes exercise that little bit easier. Their WaveSpring™ shoes are designed to put a spring in your step, literally. WaveSpring technology is being hailed as the most significant advancement ever achieved in footwear. While that may be overstating things a tad, the shoes are pretty nifty.

Little metal springs are inserted into the heels of trainers to cushion the feet while running, walking or hiking, and also to return 875 – 96% of energy used to the wearer. Apparently the spring is incredibly durable and will “outlast the shoe”, so you never have to worry about harmful wear and tear. Spira has united with firstStreet products in their retail endeavours, so WaveSpring shoes can be found on their website from $129.95 (£65).

All things considered, however, I think that I’ll invest my money in another comfortable pair of bunny slippers and curl on the couch with a good book.

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