I have many things to thank ballet for, but I especially thank ballet for making me wear flat shoes. As someone who has lived in heels for most of her life, I never quite realised how slowly it took me to get anywhere. Now that I wear flats 80% of the time, I find I race about the place in record speed!
Heels never hurt my feet, but having to carefully negotiate Glasgow's rattly and broken pavements certainly tested my patience on a daily basis. Before, my eyes were almost exclusively glued to the ground, constantly looking out for heel destroying paving slabs, whereas now I get to enjoy things above ground level.
All that's not say if I came across an utterly glorious pair of heels I wouldn't buy them, because I most certainly would, but it's just now I can really appreciate a good flat.
In terms of those flat shoes, I'm happiest in a pair of Oxfords/brogues. If the said shoes come in pretty colours or prints, then that is optimum combination by far; masculine + whimsical.
A good brogue is worth it's weight in leather. They will last you many, many years and see you though rain, hail and shine. For that reason I am considering investing in a pair of Grenson brogues.
'Investing' is a word generally used to rationalise any very expensive designer purchase, but in the case of Grenson you are investing shoes so well made that they will most likely outlast your taste in shoes.
All Grenson shoes are "Goodyear Welted", a process invented in the 1800's in England. Apparently, this is a very time consuming process but the end result is a product lasts longer than any other type of shoe. More importantly, it also means that the shoe can be re-soled many times over, thus making them a genuine investment.
"There are 4 main departments connected with manufacturing within a footwear company and the components follow a progressive route through each of these departments to produce the finished shoes. The departments are, Clicking, closing, Lasting/Making, Finishing/Shoe Room. From start to finish will take around 3 weeks to make top quality Goodyear welted shoe whereas in cheaper shoe production the rule of thumb is often that if it cannot be made in 5 minutes it won't be profitable!"
The best selection of Grenson can be found in the shoe Mecca that is Shoescribe. The prices aren't cheap - that investment comes in around £375 - but if you are willing to spend your money on function and form over fashion whimsy, then it's money well spent, in my opinion.