Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Gazing down


Number one rule about living in the tropics: don't wear shoes that will soak up water like a sponge. An espadrille is a case in point. If caught in the rain with one of those, expect to toss them after. They'll smell and no amount of drying with deodorizers will return them to their natural state.

Suede is another material I have foresworn. I put away my suede loafers and pumps when I returned to the tropics. Then they got moldy, so I ended up spending more money! Curses on thee, humidity!

Lately, my basic shoe choices are my clunky Naot black sandals, bought on a splurge a few years ago in DC, and two pairs of ballerina flats (a pair in black and a pair in brown) from Via Venetto. VV can customize a pair of choice so long as they have the last. And they've been churning out ballet flats for generations so it was easy enough to tell them what style and color I want.

Shoe shopping in Asia can be a horrible experience. I'm a size 10 (US), and most shops in Asia don't know what a size 10 is. Over the years, I've had to deal with the innumerable annoying suggestions from sales personnel to try the size 9, when they don't have a 10. Sometimes I ignore them, other times I put them in their places with well deserved scorn. In the past, I'd anticipate my US trips just to buy shoes. Books and shoes, my luggage would be packed with both. Favorite shoe binging destinations are Nordstrom Rack, Filene's or Macy's, Saks, and those wonderful shoe outlets up and down the West Coast.

These days, I'm committed to buying local shoes, especially if Via can support my needs. On my wishlist are a fantastic pair of stacked maryjanes, another black pump (the basic work shoe), and perhaps, one day, a customized knee high brown boot (that won't be much good in the tropics either, but it's more of a dreamshoe than anything else).


wysgal said...

I can never find shoes (or even clothes) my size when shopping in Manila ... or in a lot of Asia (Thailand, Hong Kong, etc).

Socky said...

At least you walk into a store thinking that it probably doesn't sell shoes in size 9 or 10. In my case, as I have the same shoe size as a million other girls, the shoes are almost always sold-out!

Katrina said...

I learned the hard way about espadrilles when I went to college and had to commute. At first I'd try to walk on the outside of the shoes, where it's covered in rubber. I ruined a few pairs before I stopped being stubborn about it. But I haven't given up on espadrilles or suede shoes; as I do with my feathered flip-flops, I just have to make sure it won't rain the day I use it.

As for boots, I know it's highly impractical (some would say even ridiculous) to wear them in this country, but I do anyway. I've noticed that, lately, many other women do too. As long as you're not outside in the heat, they're no problem at all. And unlike ballet flats, boots are great for when it rains!

M.Tan said...

Interesting how I had my own set of preconcieved ideas; Tina, wouldn't have thunk it that you'd have a hard time finding shoes/clothes. You're not a (shoe) size 10 too are you? And Socky, yes, I guess having the same size as everyone else can also be troublesome, especially when it's a popular style. Thanks for making me see a basic problem through different eyes.
Katrina, did you see those espadrille designs? Maybe they're only good for shepherds herding sheep up rocky Pyrenean mountains.

Katrina said...

Yes, they look like regular espadrilles except printed and in polyester. I like the animal print ones! At least these have fully rubberized soles, unlike the old ones which were only partly rubberized.

Don't you love the poorly translated copy on the site? My favorite line: Very funny, Espadreams are designed in France.

Hahaha!!! :-D

ChichaJo said...

I have a problem with Manila sizing too (Asia too...horrible experiences in HK!). Hard to have a non-Asian body in Asia :(

M.Tan said...

Imagine what horrors and humiliation I went through when I had to try on these Japanese sandals (kind of like the ones that go with full dress kimonos). Nothing in my size or in my foot width, I felt like the stepsister in Cinderella, that needed to cut off all my toes, and heel, and well, just get rid of it the whole pair of feet all together! The japanese ladies who were hosting us kept trying to find sandals but none worked and I just had to tell them to stop worrying, I'd just use my happy feet sandals instead.

christine said...

Ok you guys, at least you never accidentally burned your own espadrilles! Another stupid-me story from the nena archives hehe.

M.Tan said...

that would be a great blog entry Nena! You could do a series: Nena archives and just share those moments.

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