Twelve Shoes of Christmas
Bing Crosby’s version is best. It’s jaunty and brings Christmas into focus in a way that only an obsessive-compulsive ornithologist can. With men notoriously known for buying atrocious gifts and really not understanding that all women want in life is some time and a good pair of shoes (as well as all the other things on their never-ending list) – here are the 12 shoes that I hope Bing, or someone equally as suave, would sing into actuality for you.
One the 1st day of Christmas…
I wear these everywhere. The reason they’re in the coveted “Partridge in a Pear Tree” spot on this list is because there’s enough colours and patterns to keep buying them on repeat – and I have! They’re washable, they’re comfortable, and I feel spry and fun even if the rest of my outfit isn’t as jubilant as my shoes. Plus, there’s the added bonus that I feel like I could suddenly wander onto a tennis court or into a field of croquet players and I would just immediately know what to do. They’re the every-shoe. They are very much the thing your true love would give to you.
On the 2nd day of Christmas…
I wish there was some way to explain why espadrilles look good on every single foot. The sleek, woven wedge; the suede peep toe; the sling-back – it just works. They can be dressed up. They can be dressed down. You feel like you can take flight from marble staircases of a Hamptons mansion, to the polished echoing decks of a beach house, to the supple sand-lined paths surrounding busy beaches, and everything in between, highlighting a toned calf and never losing a step. 2 turtle doves are what you feel like you’re walking on…also, you should by 2 pairs for the colours and general emotional reassurance they offer.
On the 3rd day of Christmas…
These mesh nests bring the avant-garde to your feet and here’s the thing, if you think they’re odd and you can’t wear them, you’re wrong. The French know fashion, and I’m always surprised how well these work with different outfits, no matter the circumstance or colour palette. You could imagine 3 clucky French hens wandering around Paris or Lyon or Nice, classy as ever, cascading into a fabulous dinner or running to the local market to pick up fresh tomatoes and blooming peonies. It’s the kind of energy I wish to emulate in my life and I know these are the way to set that precedent.
On the 4th day of Christmas…
In summer, I live in thongs. But that means they can wear out quickly, give me cracked heels and make me look homeless or like I’m in a perpetual hurry, which I never am, unless you count wanting to get home before I run into anyone. Good think (thank you) there’s a company that thought this through. Even now I can feel the supple leather and supportive sole giving way under my feet like fairy floss disintegrating or nestling into a feather eiderdown. Knowing that I can look stylishly practical by effortlessly slipping into a pair of thongs makes me want to call and coo about these shoes with anyone that will listen.
On the 5th day of Christmas…
I’m not a crazy busy person, but sometimes I wish I had a job that involved a clipboard and the need to run around with a sense of determination and purpose that resembled a hostile takeover of a small country, or a local preschool Grandparents Day. Because I would have the prefect footwear. I’d feel sturdy and secure and if any country knows how to put functionality and performance into footwear, it’s the Germans. And with 5 shades of gold ringing through these lace-ups, it feels like I’m a messenger for the gods. Hermes’ winged sandals have nothing on me when I’m rocking a pair of these.
On the 6th day of Christmas…
Much like Verruca Salt finds the golden egg in Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, geese have been laying these beauties at and on my feet in every colour imaginable and I feel like I’ve fixed the system and won the golden ticket! You know when you find a pair of shoes that you just know will be there for you; that will never fail you; that will work with everything and never let you down? Like the best friend you find in primary school or the one decent guy you find against all odds in a sea of Mervins; you hold tight because you can’t imagine the day you’ll ever be parted.
On the 7th day of Christmas…
I have the world’s fattest feet. I wish I wore size 38, with a slim arch and toes that didn’t look like an afterthought. In these shoes, I don’t try and wedge my feet in, but rather they slide straight in, with only a slight peak of my toes showing through. I’m strapped into soft Spanish leather where I feel lighter than air and as elegant as a wedge of swans in flight. I want an excuse to wear these at every turn, and they’re versatile enough that I can. Thank you Spain, thank you breathable leather, thank you Velcro strap; my Shrek feet bow down to you.
On the 8th day of Christmas…
These just make me wish I knew how to bake or could catch a Frisbee with flair, like every independent, killer Aussie woman I see roaming the streets around me. Wearing these, you could be anyone or do anything. Liberal fashion student? Tick. Mum with a toddler? Yep. Hipster beach babe? You bet. Someone who makes their own Kombucha? Probably. Retiree doing some light gardening? Of course. The one person you know who’s really into essential oils? Oh, yeah. Milk maid? Why on earth not. Between the durable sole and super cute tassels, these Australian-designed/ Turkish-made shoes are a sensational hybrid for every walk of life.
On the 9th day of Christmas…
These wedges are everything I wish I was in life. I remember seeing them on the shelf in the store and literally gasping, being drawn forward like Aurora to the needlepoint in Sleeping Beauty. I was entranced. As was my sister standing next to me. That’s the effect these Ara have. You can just imagine all ladies dancing in these, instantly made sophisticated, flawlessly quipping with ease, triumphantly turning heads and powerfully carving a path for themselves like Moses parting the Red Sea. Their colour palette means they’ll work with anything and I’ll be considered a genius for knowing their true talent and beauty. They are Meryl Streep and I am unworthy.
On the 10th day of Christmas…
I don’t know why, but firm, thick elastic makes you feel secure in a way that boyfriends, careers and Spanx don’t. It moves with you as if holding you close and whispering, “I’ve got you girl. I’ll never let go.” They’re bright and vibrant and immovable in their ability to keep you going, even if you’ve been on your feet all day. You could leap and jump and bob and swerve, and you’d never feel for a moment that you were out of step or not in control. In fact, leap into the arms of a passing man, point to your feet and hopefully that’ll give him something to aim for.
On the 11th day of Christmas…
Nautical themes must know how good they look. I mean, they could make a pig’s trotter look sassy and chic. I want an entire brass band celebrating just how good these shoes look. Trumpets, flutes, saxophones…pipers perhaps? These feel like the modern equivalent of a pair of shoes that you’d wear to a clam bake in the 1950s. Full skirt, curled hair, dreamboat named Harvey or Bobby or Chip swinging you around on the dance floor. You can smell the salty sea breeze as you lower your cat eye sunglasses and swing these shoes from your fingertips. What a blast!
On the 12th day of Christmas…
These are the finale and ultimate triumph in all of the footwear kingdom. These are what Bing has been building towards. There an artwork of colours, because Arche know what they’re doing, and you could march all day long, banging drums, clanging symbols, decorating trees, feeding kids, cooking ham, serving drinks, packing a dishwasher, laughing loudly, walking the dogs and dancing into the summer nights and your feet would still be wondering why they aren’t tired and why they still look so damn good. The answer: Arche. The shoes do all the work, and help carry the weight of all the compliments you’ll be lugging around.
I’ve decided most people are thinking that the minute the clock strikes midnight on January 1st, 2021, everything is going to reset like Groundhog Day. We would’ve made it through the pandemic and huzzah! How great for us. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’m prophetic. I’d love to rock a robe and a staff, and hang out on rock outcroppings over populous areas yelling at people to do things, but I have zero authority. I’ve been told numerous times.
Most likely, things will continue on in ebbs and flows, highs and lows, starts and fits and every other cliché you can think of. It’s not going to feel any different and somehow, that’s going to be even more of a let-down. We won’t admit it, yet even as you read this, I bet you’re also sensing the mental acrobatics your brain is doing, trying to prepare you for the disappointment of this coming anti-climax, poise you mentally for the reset you may not practically feel like you’re getting, while still maintaining some level of expectation for what’s just around the corner.
We’ve got weeks left, Christmas is fast approaching, summer is beckoning over the stormy horizon and we’re thinking that we don’t want these last few weeks to feel like a total write-off. So, how do we go out of this year well? I think it’s pretty simple.
1. Be thankful.
Figure out what you’re thankful for. List them. Write them out. Pour over a super reflective journal entry. Ruminate on it with a friend. Crochet it with the leftovers of your attempts to start a hobby circa mid-April. Tell the bird that you thought would be a good companion for an empty apartment. Scream it at your husband who has not been helpful, watching golf on a 24-hour loop for the past 6 months. If you can read this, then you have the gift of sight! If it’s being read to you, you have someone who’s willing to do that for you. We always have more in our lives than we think. Walk towards the New Year with that mentality washing over you. Be the Andie McDowell of Groundhog Day: get a perm and be thankful.
2. Look outwards
With the pockets of time or money you have, do something gracious with it. Donate it. Set up a really nice lunch or dinner or breakfast or coffee date or outing or whatever it may be with someone or someones you want to honour. Make something. Sew something. Write something. Do the opposite of what your stingy friends have been telling you since you bought that kiln or elliptical machine you swore you’d use all the time, and be willing to sacrifice something so that you can magnify the joy of those around you. Set up a viewing party to watch Groundhog Day and know why it’s such a great anchoring reference for the year we’ve been having.
3. Something small.
Decide to change/ add/ take away one thing that can make the remainder of this year feel special. Why do resolutions need to start in 2 months? Think about saving money on one of your daily coffees, then figuring out what to do with that $200-odd in 2021. Buy the dress or shoes or bag or stylish moo-moo you’ve been eying to wear that’ll make you feel lighter and prettier and that little bit more lovely. Hunt down a VHS copy of Groundhog Day (you’ll probably also need to hunt down a VHS, just as an aside) and watch it while you figure out what on earth a mother yeast is, setting the precedent of having 1 hour every week completely and utterly to yourself.
I’m not looking to change lives here – remember I’m no prophet – but it’s the small things that will make a difference. How are you going to get the most out of the rest of 2020? Honestly, I think it’s up to you.
This is the question, isn’t it? It’s been growing ever more incrementally over the past few years and for some of us the answer is obvious; we’ve chosen a camp and are happy to stay in it.
For others, there’s the changing nature of a technologically advancing world, a global marketplace, not to mention a pandemic, to reset your thinking about what needs to change in the way you shop.
It feels impossible to imagine a day when you might wake up and head out, do some window shopping and come away with a sneaky little gem that caught your eye in a window display much like something out of some Richard Curtis rom-com where the perfect gifts, the perfect dresses, and the perfect shoes are found with the sun shining and your hair curling down your face in the way you’ve always dreamed of.
Online shopping still feels impersonal and boring yet, that picture in your head is now coming up against the literal barrier of a mask over your face. How can my hair cascade majestically with elastic over my ears? How can I replicate this Julia Roberts moments in leggings at my kitchen counter?
As someone that shops both in person and online heavily (much to my bank account’s deep displeasure but my continually-increasing enjoyment), there are positives to both.
1. Nothing beats the experience of shopping in person because it’s so easy. Everything you want is at your fingertips. You can try things on (a huge benefit and generally easy process that doesn’t have you panicking that you’ve changed shape in the last 4 days) and you can walk out immediately with exactly what you want. No panic. No qualms. No drama.
2. It’s a tactile expedition much like walking into the aquarium and seeing the kids at the touch pool where they can poke and prod at everything pretty and shiny around them.
Feeling the sleek polish of patent like a Bond villanelle; grasping supple leather as if you’re holding soft rising dough in your hands; gliding your fingers back and forth over the opulence of rich velvet, cashmere or suede is like a drug or meditative experience.
There are so many colours and patterns and beads and styles that your eyes enjoy taking in. It’s a kaleidoscopic touch pool for adults.
3. It’s almost always accompanied by something other. Unless you are grocery shopping, out of underwear or in need of a coffee, you don’t go running into a store without going into others.
It’s the Hepburn moment of seeing a store, moseying in, wandering around and the unmistakable thrill that comes when you see something you need (yay), something you like (double yay) or some wonderful intoxicating mesh of the two that feels like you’ve lucked out.
You get the bag nicely packaged, meander a little more and find yourself coming home ready to show off. “Look what I got!” you say to whoever is home and then the excitement at thinking, “When can I wear them?”
1. Convenience. Let’s not beat around the bush. It is so much easier to do some emailing, have a phone conversation, make a coffee and do the laundry, all the while there’s a tab open with everything you’re looking at buying.
You don’t even have to think about it because 99% of the time you can return it if it’s not quite right. You click the one you want, you drain your cup, turn off the screen and know that in however many days, you’ll have sometime that will find its way to you.
2. The anticipation of getting a package, like your new pair of summer sandals. In this day and age, we don’t really have much to wait for, nor do we like the inconvenience of not having something immediately.
But there’s some lost art in that. The thought that something you’ve bought is on its way to you is delicious. It’s like a reverse scavenger hunt. Looking out the window, on the doorstep or in the mailbox each day only adds to the anticipation and then if you forget and then, suddenly there it is, packaged and neat and just waiting to be opened because it houses something wonderful and delightful… it’s like waiting for the guy you have a crush on to call you. The waiting, the absence, the inevitability, it makes it worth it.
3. When you find something online, you basically feel like Sherlock Holmes. Whether it’s on the home page or you do a deep dive with discarded remnants of muffins and iced lattes around you, when you find something you like, something that jumps off the pages you’ve been scrolling through; you feel like you’ve done the impossible and found something unique and special and the feeling of satisfaction that you made it happen basically makes you feel you’ve done something incredible.
The feeling of validation is immense. Close your computer, turn off your phone and stand up, you’ve done it. You’ve found what no one else could. The game was afoot. Now, it’s in the mail. Robert Downey Jr. eat your heart out.
The mornings are getting darker and the days seem like they are getting shorter, winter is well on the way. It’s fair to say that in Australia we don’t see a huge amount of rainfall during winter, but when it does rain, it can strike at any time and most of the time out of nowhere, in abundance. But with the Ara Gore Tex Shoes range we now have a new weapon in the battle against wet weather.
It’s the cooler seasons that you’ll start to hear the term Gore Tex all the time. But what is Gore Tex, where did it come from and how can it change our life?
When was Gore Tex invented and how did Gore Tex start?
Where it all began, Gore Tex was invented in 1969 by two brothers Wilbert L. Gore and Gore’s son, Robert W. Gore. Bob (by sheer accident) decided one day to stretch heated rods of polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and created expanded polytetrafluoroethylene (ePTFE) which is more commonly known by the generic trademark Teflon.
Gore Tex materials are typically used in a wide variety of applications such as high-performance fabrics, medical implants, filter media, insulation for wires and cables, gaskets, and sealants. However, Gore Tex fabric is best known for its use in protective, yet breathable, rain-wear.
Are Gore Tex shoes waterproof?
We all know that Gore Tex keeps us dry, but do we know what Gore Tex really is? Is it a fabric? Is it a spray treatment? Gore Tex can repel liquid water while allowing water vapor to pass through and is designed to be a lightweight, waterproof fabric for all-weather use.
Do Gore Tex shoes work?
But have you ever wondered how Gore Tex products actually work? No, it’s not magic — though it might seem that way sometimes. If we deep dive into the Gore Tex technology, it generally refers to three main layers.
The upper layer is a thin material made of a very durable, waterproof material. The middle layer is equipped with a microporous membrane structure, which allows comfort and health benefits all day long, and the lowest layer helps secure hold, durability and prevents the other layers from slipping away.
Does Gore Tex actually work?
So how do we keep our feet dry, and does Gore Tex actually work? The Leisures Shoe Boutique brand Ara, can actually keep our feet dry and has advanced technology to thank as well as rigorous product testing to ensure quality in every pair of shoes.
Each square inch of this membrane contains 9 billion microscopic pores, and each pore is 20,000 times smaller than a water droplet. Rain, sleet and snow can’t penetrate this barrier. Each pore in the membrane is 700 times larger than a water vapor molecule, allowing sweat vapor to escape from inside the shoe. This is what it means for the fabric to “breathe.”
Do Gore Tex shoes breathe?
Beautiful ARA Gore Tex Winter Boots
Breath-ability is why you can wear a pair of Gore Tex boots in the rain without your feet getting wet from the outside or growing clammy on the inside from exertion.
To make sure each new style of Gore Tex footwear is waterproof, breathable, comfortable and durable, prototypes are rigorously tested in Gore labs before they can go into production.
Specially designed testing equipment is used to ensure that the design is up for the challenges in the real world. Every new footwear prototype is put through its paces in our Gore Tex testing labs.
There are four specific tests; The Walking Simulator, The Centrifugal Tester, The Wicking Test, and The Comfort Test.
The Ara brand is from Germany, and made to combat the European winters and wet weather. Comfort Footwear is great for both high-output activities and everyday use. The technology is perfect for constant changes between indoors and outdoors, standing and walking, working and leisure time. Especially in Australia, when the weather can turn quickly, in our lifestyle we are now required to have footwear that is fashionable and high performing. Gore Tex does actually work and fits our lifestyle perfectly..
Are Gore Tex shoes worth it?
Autumn Gore Tex Lace Up For The Ultimate Comfort
So we get that they keep your feet dry and free from getting sweaty, but are they worth the price? The Gore Tex logo means a lot, when you see this on the Ara shoe product you know its quality. If you see it on a pair of shoes, then that product is backed by the GUARANTEED TO KEEP YOU DRY® promise. After all the testing that Gore Tex products go through, a guarantee is a no-brainer! It’s worth the upfront cost, as like in ski gear, the quality will last years and is a quality endorsed product.
Can Gore Tex be machine washed?
So after all the water proofing and repelling liquid conversation, can we actually throw them in the washing machine I hear you ask. We would advise not too, however, we would suggest them to be scrubbed with a cloth or brush dipped in warm water. And before even wearing your beautiful Gore Tex shoes, spray them with a Scotchgard waterproofer. Not for waterproofing, but for keeping your investment shoes looking brand new.
Find your favourite Gore Tex footwear at Leisures Shoe Boutique and enjoy the comfort all day long. Visit our website to shop the entire Ara range.