January 27 2011
I may be a self-confessed shoe-oholic, but where others have wardrobes full of Manolos and Louboutins, I collect ballerina pumps. Light, comfortable, an understated match with above-knee skirts or ankle-grazing trousers, they have become my default shoes. But, given that most are the same basic design, a girl could only have so many pairs – until now.
In recent months I have discovered that designers are letting their imaginations loose on the basic ballerina shape; as a result, there are now three new additions to my wardrobe – a ballerina shoe for every occasion. First, the wonderful dance shoe company Bloch has taken the basic pump shape, scooped it up into a shoeboot and added a three-inch spiky metal heel (first picture), which actually looks much higher. In ruched, slightly sparkly leather (£175), they are glove-soft; I find them great for parties as they stay comfortable for hours, even if I’m standing up all evening. In short, they are the nearest thing on earth to shoe nirvana – stiletto slippers.
Then I found that Jane Winkworth, the genius behind French Sole, has popped her classic ballerina on to a low wedge last (second picture, £175). I find these really useful for wearing around town with trousers that require a heel (and they’re bendy enough to tuck into a handbag when I need to swap them for smarter heels); they’re elegant, but soft and comfortable, too. In classic hand-quilted toecap style, the taupe version goes with all my current neutrals.
Arrival number three came from Russell & Bromley, which has created a little ballerina take on the in-vogue lace-up jazz shoe (third picture, £110). These have become my ballerina stalwarts – I’ve been wearing them all winter because they’re sturdier than most, and, being patent, they’re good in the rain. But – and let’s not forget that these are, after all, dance shoes – they’re soft and comfortable enough for me to wear them to my jazz dance classes, too.