The range of shoes and boots available to men, women and children today are vast particularly for those of us who can remember the nineteen sixties when a visit to a shoe shop was about as boring as it could get.
This was particularly the case for men. Remember, this was before the advent of trainers and when you think that there are shops today that are exclusively retailers of hundreds of different types of trainers then you get the idea.
Instead of trainers there used to be one make of plimsolls destined exclusively for children and the gym as well as adults and squash or tennis. They were not fashion items to be seen about the street.
In the very early sixties there was little else for men to choose between the relentless rows of black lace-up office style shoes and the only excitement came about when the new summer sandal range came in; the type of sandal to be worn with socks in all hot climates which singled out the English from Johnny foreigner with his fancy canvas slip-ons.
At the back of that early sixties shop were shoes for the subversive teddy-boys and these were known as winkle pickers. Strictly for anti-social spivs they were the equivalent of the top shelf men’s magazines and mothers would steer their children away with a look of disgust.
Sometime in the middle of the sixties the elasticated shoe arrived without conventional laces and along with something called a desert boot things were looking up for the adventurous risk taking man.
In hardware stores about the country there was another type of footwear for men and this was the working mans hobnailed boot. This boot had been around for millennia and could be heard in coal villages crunching up and down the cobbled streets at beginning and end of pit shifts.
Meanwhile, women had a better deal but nothing like as adventurous as today. Women’s shoes are so diverse in shape, colour and design that it is little wonder many become obsessional about their collection and spend more than they can really afford on all the latest fashions.
One of the latest stylish attractions is studded boots where unlike the hobnail the studs are not for practical but more for design effect.
We have seen studs on jeans and on jackets, we have seen studs adorning hats and shirts and now there are these studded boots.
They look great with anything from designer jeans to designer miniskirts and are proving very popular amongst all age groups from teens to mums.
One of the best things about modern shoes and boots compared with those of decades ago is that they do not require the amount of care since the leather is better treated when turned into shoe.