Thursday, 15 August 2013

The guide to comfortable Lolita shoes

This is an image heavy post :) Hope you like it! Please feel free to comment :)

This guide is divided in to three sections:
>A debate about the lack of real leather in Lollie shoes<
*Comfort tips for any new Lolita shoe!*
#Real leather Lolita shoe tips with pictures and links to online shops#
So many pretty shoes!
Yet all of them are made of plastic...
>I've been thinking about Lolita shoes lately<

My friend is a true shoe nerd. He would never-ever buy anything in PU leather, yet alone in low quality leather - thin leather that scratches easily. His dream shoes are handmade by real shoemakers, such as John Lobb.

Lolita's are all about high quality, fancy brand dresses that sell for 2500 SEK, high quality lace that doesn't scratch your skin, handmade bows, accessories etc etc...
So why does the Lolita society succumb to PU leather? Why are the plastic fantastic shoes so popular?

I guess the answer to the question is simple: There are no high quality real leather Lolita marketed shoes out there! And even though there are a few Lolita's that wear the fashion everyday, most Lolita´s simply only wear their shoes for a day or two, when dressing up.
90s Chunky Leather Heels
The Lolita shoe style with the rounded toe and the clumsy heel, was a mainstream fashion of the 90's, and the retro mainstream fashionistas have not yet flicked the eyes toward the thick, chunky heels... (YET. Give it a few years and you'll see Lolita style shoes and boots everywhere ;)

A lot of lifestyle Lolita's do think that the PU shoes are comfortable and wear them a lot. But, as often as I hear praise for the PU, I hear girls (and boys) moan and complain about blisters, the lack of breathing from the shoes material and general dissatisfaction.
Honey Cross Shoes
I do find the lack of real leather (which for me stands for high quality) in Lolita shoes rather odd. And that even brand shoes are sold in PU? (I've seen some with leather lining, however - but still!) That's just plain strange and it seems very overpriced for a piece of plastic.
There should at least be a choice! 

But as I ventured online shops I did notice how difficult it is to find good shoes, in real leather, in pastel colours. White is common, as is various shades of brown, red and black - but the baby pastels are rare (except at modcloth)!
Please post if you find real leather Lolita shoes in pastels online!

The Classic or Gothic Lolita seems to have a wither range of choices than the Sweet Lolita.

*The key to all comfortable shoes are the following:*
1) That they fit your feet! Lolita shoes are often made for Asian feet - short and wide, while many European/ American girls have long, slender feet. And if you are inbetween sizes, always choose the bigger size ^^ - over a day your feet will swell up slightly, because standing up causes blood to gather in your feet.

2) That the sole is thick enough! Cheap shoes sometimes have very thin soles, making you feel every sharp stone as you walk down to the meet-up... A thin sole can be compensated by a separate inner sole; but then you must buy a bigger size shoe to fit the sole!

3) Mary Janes are the best! (And the most beautiful and classic style for Lolita) Open shoes, such as ballerinas without straps or high heels without a front are devastating to walk in, because your foot doesn't necessarily stay put in the shoe ;) Especially if you have heels, you automatically involuntarily cramp with your toes not to drop your shoes with every step! This leads of course to stressed feet muscles and PAAAAAIN... o___O

Think about it, try out your shoes at home :) Adding some extra straps to your open shoes or an extra insole to your thin-soled shoes is a great way to add comfort!

If you have a pair of shoes that you know that you get blisters from (or if it is the first time you wear a pair of shoes), save yourself a lot of pain by just prepping your feet with extra plasters at home!
Ballet dancers know how to prep their feet!
The key to find real leather Lolita shoes online are the search words, use "genuine leather", "real leather" and "100% leather". When you come by a nice shoe that you like, look for "leather upper", "leather insole" etc. Man-made, PU, "Japanned leather", "patent leather" and "other materials" are words for plastic - that's all right for the shoes outer sole. (Leather soles are difficult to wear! You can for example not wear leather soles on a rainy day (they get ruined!), and they are very slippery to walk in - this is therefore common in dance shoes, because you only wear them inside.)

A textile lining is also all right for leather shoes because the textil + leather combo breathes nicely.

Secret Shops popular bootleg of Baby's Tea Party Shoes
The common aesthetics for a Lolita shoe is such:
1) Round, closed toe
2) Low, flat or chunky heels
3) Decorative ornaments such as bows, lace, straps, string etc.

Essentially the toddler/baby shoe Mary Jane is the model for Lolita aesthetics:
Silk baby shoes
If you have smaller sized feet I guess you always could rumble the children's section, but for the rest of us...
I've made a small online guide.
Don't forget that taxes and postage may be added to the price!

First of all - you'll need clip-on bows to get the right Lolita aesthetics :). Clip-on bows are a great way of getting the most out of your shoe! You can easily change colours to match your outfit, or even mood :).
Classic Lolitas doesn't have to add bows, but they still might want too...

You can buy them online, reuse one from a dress you bought or create your own.
Generally it is smart if the clip is vertical to the bow, to fasten the bow properly on the shoe.

But the T-bar shoes are great, 'cause it's simple to attach an ordinary hair bow to the bar.
Clip on Baby bow tie
I generally prefer a bow with a good clasp on the back, they seem to be the most sturdy.
If you prefer something more permanent, you can just stick the bows or whatever on to your shoe with a glue gun!
Clip-on Shoe ribbon with clasp from Monki
All of the below real leather Lolita-wannabe shoes stay in an affordable midrange price (from 50 USD/ 327 SEK/ £32 to ca 200 USD/ 1300 SEK/ £129), so everyone has the ability to buy one pair of good Lolita shoes!
Joy and Merriment Flat in Café 57.99 USD
#1) Indie brands!
Check out Etsy, Ebay, Aliexpress, small boutiques, up and coming designers :D
Genuine Leather Lolita Shoes from Aliexpress
#2) Jeffrey Campbell
Well known amongst fashionistas for making fabulous shoes that you can actually walk in, Jeffrey Campbell has something for every Lolita!
Carmilla Boot 203.99 USD
Life of the party planner 159.99 USD
Principal dancer flat 114.99 USD
Amuse Mint Park Flat 139.99 USD

Cherry Jam Heels 159.99 USD
Jeffrey Campbell Refresher Course Flat 106.99 USD
Delightful droplets Cherry Wedge 124.99 USD
#3) Irregular Choice
Irregular choice makes comfortable and fun shoes in great styles!

#3) Modcloth
Shoes, retro and vintage! They have a huge selection of every different kind of vintage items.
And they even have pastel flats! :D

Stroll in time heel 186.99 USD
Delightful Footsteps 89.99 USD
Brocade for each other Heel 76.99 USD
Out in the open house Flats 109.99 USD
Home made Ice Cream flat in mint 37.99 USD

Plie Date Flat 114.99 USD
Stylish step in rose 69.99 USD
Parade my day heels 187.99 USD
Bow N Places 134.99 USD
Gift-wrapped perfection heel 89.99 USD
#4) Hush Puppies
Hush Puppies Lolita pump bow £65
Hush puppies are very comfortable shoes, and they have loads of beautiful models for a Lolita. Most shoes come with a little heel, but they have many flats as well. These shoes are truly made for walking and standing all day long!

But, unfortunately I did see that a LOT of the Hush Puppies shoes have a wooden heel, which may or may not coordinate with your outfit...
Hush Puppies Lonna £65 - Add a bow! Or two! :D
#5) Ecco
Ecco has flats and low heels in leather that are very comfortable. Besides red, brown and black they have some odd yellow, green and blue hues.

Ecco Sculptured 1000 SEK/ £98 - TIP! Change the shoe lace to a beautiful satin ribbon :D
Ecco Pawi 1200 SEK/ £118 - something for the Classic Lolita
#6) Dansko
Although they originally are a clog-company, they have lately made lighter and sweeter shoes.

#7) Clarks
Mostly boring mainstream shoes, but they occasionally have a good Mary Jane for Lollies.

#8) Dr Martens
Don't think that Dr Martens are all clumsy boots! They have very comfortable Mary Janes, mostly black or muted colour schemes, but keep your fingers crossed that they will release more!
Dr Martens Mariel Shoe £90
And here are some high end brands to dream for!
Little Bunny Shoes 249.99 USD
205 Euro - Repetto Mary Jane Lio
Something for the EGL or Aristocrat :)
Miu Miu
Miu Miu - 590 USD

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