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Are these the ugliest high heels of 2012?

Jeffrey Campbell tan shoes

We all know that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but we think we might have discovered the recipe to make a truly ugly pair of high heels. To get started you will need some tan leather and some clear plastic lucite material of the kind usually seen on cheap, stripper heels. Assemble them incongruously, slap on a crazy prize tag and you’re done.

We’ve found two examples of this recipe being used to good effect and in both cases, the offender is the Jeffrey Campbell brand. For their troubles we’re awarding the Jeffrey Campbell design team first and second prize for producing the ugliest high heels of 2012. Quite some achievement.

Jeffrey Campbell Zaudrey

Which is worse is a close run thing, but we think the 6 inch Zaudrey pump (above) scoops the prize. The silly name of this shoe is probably the best thing about it. Meanwhile its distinctly amateur looking platform could be mistaken for something a child made in woodwork class and is as crass and unharmonious as a string of bum notes on a piano. Add the tacky-looking jagged edges and the sweat-inducing lucite inner and it is difficult to go past this platform as the worst high heel shoe of 2012. And, although it may look cheap it isn’t; if the Jeffrey Campbell Zaudrey floats your boat you can pick it up from Nordstrom for $244.95.

Jeffrey Campbell clear boots

Second prize goes to these Jeffrey Campbell lucite platform boots. Aren’t they just hideous? They look like gumboots for ladies of the night, and not even dainty ones at that. The awful, clumsy stripe down the centre of the front of the heel will at least hopefully detract from the sweaty feet that can be seen from all angles in these shoes. They say “Looks killer paired with absolutely anything!” We say “only with the lights off.” If these 5 inch lucite boots take your fancy, they’re available from Nasty Gal for $198. And, believe it or not, they’ve nearly sold out.

Jeffrey Campbell boots

Silver high heels – get the look for less

Giuseppe Zanotti silver high heelsThese Giuseppe Zanotti silver, mirror-effect pumps are a beautiful piece of designer shoe-making. The Zanotti styling is front-and-center with the 5 inch accented metallic heel, and the upper of of course quality patent leather (the color is actually called argento). Softened by a 0.5 inch hidden platform, this designer shoe is available from Zappos for $650. But is it possible to get a similar look for less?

silver high heelsFor a classic, round-toed silver high heel, how about Alaina from Lumiani? This silver pump has a similar shape to the Zanotti heel, but is rather more down-to-earth in heel height. The heel on this shoe is 4 inches compared to the 5 of the Zanotti, and the platform is a little bigger too at 0.75 inch. Sure, this shoe does not have the same gloss as the designer pump – or its feature heel – but it is still a fun silver shoe for your wardrobe. The Alaina is currently on sale at Zappos for $47.99.

silver glitter pumpsA really fun mirror-look high heel alternative can be found in these silver glitter-effect Zelda pumps from Nina Footwear. These shoes have an almond shaped toe and a glitter-covered satin upper. The covered heel is only 3.5 inches with a 1 inch platform, making it easy to dance the night away in silver. The Zelda pumps are available from Zappos for $79.

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Foldable high heels

We’ve all seen those cute foldable flats that tuck nicely into our handbags, ready to relieve our feet after a stint in torturous high heels. It has become a staple in most women’s wardrobes by now and for good reason- there is nothing like slipping on a pair of flats after a long day (or night) in heels to make your journey home more comfortable.

But the foldable trend isn’t just modernizing the world of flats. Yes, you guessed it, the foldable heel is well on its way to becoming a mainstream accessory with the help of some visionary shoe designers out there. But just what are the benefits of a foldable heel? Is it comfort, versatility, or both?

Marte Den Hollander is the creator of Footloose- a high heel shoe that can convert into a low heel with a switch of the heel tip. She says, “I designed a shoe with a high heel, which can be changed into a shoe with a low heel. No more extra pairs of shoes in your bag, no more trouble driving a car or walking stairs, no more painful feet, no more knee and ankle damage.”

It’s perfect for women who want a versatile heel that can adjust with their comfort level. The design has been patented, so Marte den Hollander’s shoes may well be in your favourite shoe shop before you know it.

Innovative designer Catherine Meuter also created a shoe with comfort and versatility in mind. She says of her EIN/TRITT origami shoes, “Flat shoe patterns with reinforced parts get folded and fixed. The client experiences the transformation of the shoe from its initial flat state into a comfortable wearable object. From the formal aesthetic point of view the folding gives the shoe a more architectural character.”

What’s not to like about these fascinating heels? They’re compact, über -modern and comfortable, not to mention the luscious lime green colour.  Origami and foldable heels may well be the way of the future in the fashion world… watch this space!

Caring for your vegan heels

Once you have found a great pair of vegan heels—you know, the kind that make you wish you’d bought twelve pairs—how do you preserve their fabulousness?

Vegan shoe care is really similar to caring for shoes that are made from animal skins. You can freshen up those sexy vegan stilettos by wiping them clean with a dampened soft cloth or soft sponge.

If you have a pair of vegan heels that look as if they are made from leather that would need polishing, the appearance of those shoes can also be enhanced by polishing them occasionally with a silicon-based gel. A gel polish can also help reduce any scuffing your shoes may get. Test the gel in a small space on your shoe first, though, just to be safe!

If you live in a rainy climate or it is the rainy season where you live, you can waterproof your vegan heels with a waterproofing product that’s available from Vegan Essentials. These cruelty and animal-free waterproofers come in two different formulas: one for full-grain leather-like products and one for synthetic suede and nubuck materials.

In the polish line, Vegan Essentials stocks vegan shoe polish which is available in black or clear dubbin (for a colorless shine.)

Vegetarian Shoes also makes black shoe polish which will work for your go-to pairs in this colour, and their product is available online through many vegan stores as well as in physical vegan shops.

Finally, store your vegan heels like you would any other pair of shoes, ideally in a shoe organizer with ample space for each pair, on a shoe tree, or in shoe boxes organized in your closet. With just a bit of time and care you can keep those shoes looking hot for years to come!

Melissa Heels: Fantastic in Plastic

Technological innovations have resulted in quality synthetic materials for clothing and shoes, making items from imitation leather, suede, and nubuck. For some fashion-savvy vegans, the materials’ similarity to leather and other animal skins is a problem as wearing them may seem to condone the use of animal materials. If you feel this way, or you just want to explore other shoe-making materials, check out Melissa Shoes.

Based in Brasil, Melissa Shoes are made from 100% recyclable plastic and feature shoes by innovative designers such as Vivienne Westwood (like the remarkable Elevated design pictured above). Some of Melissa’s shoes are simple yet intriguing flats, but the company’s fashion-forward heels will bring your style to new heights, literally!

Jean-Paul Gaultier and Melissa collaborated on a shoe design recently to celebrate the company’s 30th birthday. The result is a striking design: a sandal with a pencil heel, ankle strap with a small rounded silver buckle, and several criss-crossing straps, all made from recyclable plastic. It comes in five colours: yellow (seen above), green, orange, brown and black .

Melissa has too many other sensational vegan shoes to mention here.  However the Vivienne Westwood Lady Dragon peep-toe ankle strap variations – available in both gloss and metallic finishes – are particularly worth a look. How can you not love this fun pink version, which comes straight from the heart?

For lots more fantastic-in-plastic vegan friendly shoes, see Melissa’s website.

Even Wilder Animal Print Heels

Leopard, zebra, and cheetah might seem commonplace now, but animal prints aren’t always so trendy – especially for shoes. Maybe the fact that the trend is so big at the moment has pushed some designers to up the ante and make this already wild style even wilder. The lastest trend: mixing animal prints in patchwork style. Above: Beverly Feldman “Kick It Up” Ankle Boot, $164 at

Walter Steiger satin cage boots, $1110 at

What an Angel wedge booties, £100 at

Jimmy Choo ‘Vienna’ Sandal, $1095 at

Japan Group Takes Legal Action for Men in Heels

In recent years there’s been an surge in the number of men that wear heels as a part of their public wardrobe. Opinions vary on the trend, but now there’s a group in Japan that’s making it a legal matter. Led by Masahiko Nagamoto, The Japanese Institute of Short Men are lobbying their national government to make ridiculing men who wear heels a crime.

“Heels have long been the domain of women, but all we ask is that should a man choose to wear them, there is none of the pointing and name calling,” said Nagamoto. “We wish to have this enshrined in Japanese law. As illegal as discriminating against people for being gay or occidental.”

According to the reports, Japan’s culture historically takes the matter of public ridicule very harshly with those on the losing frequently going so far as committing suicide.

And Nagamoto isn’t stopping his efforts at promoting the acceptance of beautiful high heels on men. He’s going for the whole cross-gender package.

“Should I be successful,” he said, “I will be campaigning for the unisexing of skirts and makeup. Both of which I like. But not in a gay way.”

via, photo:

Mojo Moxy Does LV-Inspired Pumps for Fall 2011

Mojo Moxy recently released a preview of their fall 2011 collection. There’s an overall nice selection of boots, wedges, and pumps, but the pair that caught my eye was the pretty, bow-decked pair above. It seemed instantly familiar and it didn’t take long to figure out why. Who could forget one of the Fall 2010 season’s most loved shoe – satin bow pumps by Louis Vuitton. But these shoes retailed for from $900 to a satin pair (like those below) up to $3,000 for an ostrich leather pair. Meanwhile Mojo Moxy shoes average about $50.

Increase Wedge Comfort with a Platform

Wedges are a great way to get a super high heel with a little extra support under your foot. However, you have a super high wedge that the Alexander Wang “Kasia” sandal shown above you might find yourself feeling like you are only walking on your tip-toes all day. The same goes for the Christain Louboutin “Panier 120” wedges below. Beautiful shoes, but definitely meant for sitting – not standing or walking.

If comfort’s not an issue for you, feel free to indulge in the above lovelies. However, if you want a little more freedom to be both cute and comfy, look for a wedge that has a platform. This allows you to get the height without such a steep incline on your foots. Diane von Furstenberg’s ‘Opal” wedges below have a modest platform, but it’s enough to make the shoes more wearable. Next, the “Agadir” espadrilles by Yves Saint Laurent are the kind of sandals that give you the height you crave while being comfortable enough to walk around in for a while.

Wear Your Heels in the Grass with Starlettos

So you’ve got a garden party or an otherwise upscale outdoor event attend? Of course, you’ll want to look your best in a nice dress and heels. But then there’s the problem have having your stilettos sink into the earth or slip through the cracks. Before this meant one of two things: either risk scuffing and muddying your precious shoes or – heaven forbid – wear flats instead! Gasp!

Well now “Starlettos” offers a solution to your dilemma that will let you rock your heels without the worry. The shoe accessory consists of a pair of flower shaped plastic pieces that fit onto the tips of your heels. Basically, they spread the weight out a bit so you’re less likely to sink into soft surfaces. They are also large enough to prevent your heel from slipping into small spaces like those between the planks of a boardwalk. They come in four colors and sell for A$19.99 at