You may attribute it to my lack of height but the first thing that catches my eye is always a person’s foot and his footwear.I have this almost irrational obsession about feet and my instinctive assessment of a person is by his feet. However, this is not about me and my foot radar but about a new kind of footwear that suddenly came into my view yesterday. Suddenly it seemed that all of Mumbai’s women are wearing fitflops. This latest fad to hit our feet is largely due to our quest for finding the perfect shoe. With Mumbai’s streets being disastrous ( the chockablock bumper to bumper traffic making a half kilometre distance by car a half an hour long journey) and their footpaths almost non existent (being either dug up, broken or inhabited by hawkers), most Mumbaikar’s spend a lifetime looking for the perfect shoe.
When we were young and in college, the humble Kolhapuri was the most popular footwear being both cheap, trendy and comfortable. After the initial stiffness wore off, the kolhapuri would wrap itself round your feet and you could happily use this slipper for regular and even formal wear at a pinch.
So most of us graduated to mocassins or closed shoes that at least kept the grit from off your feet. While these shoes were by and large passable, the hot , humid climate of Mumbai made them unsuitable for everyday wear unless one wore them with socks ( yuck!!) or sprinkled a liberal amount of foot powder to prevent malodorous feet.
Then came actual tie ups – sports shoes that were otherwise meant for serious walkers or runners where everyone bought them despite their price because they just wanted to do it. These were by far a good option because by now traversing our roads had become a veritable obstacle course. However, lacing and unlacing them became a problem as in India we frequently have to untie our shoes and enter places barefoot. They also became perfect targets for shoe poachers as I found one day when my shoes left outside a temple were pinched within minutes!
A few years ago an incredible ugly shoe called Crocs hit our roads but this was one trend I refused to even look at because they distinctly spelled KIDDY to me. No amount of curiousity could get me to try their hideous colours and their over exaggerated shape.
So it was with a bit of skeptism that I tried out the FITFLOP a shoe that was new to me ( the technology has been around since 2007) but not to the rest of Mumbai it would seem as I realised that five out of ten women I saw yesterday were wearing these sandals/slippers.
My own pair is just a couple of days old and I have yet to feel its effect on my legs ( they claim to give you perfect legs thanks thanks to their muscle activating technology ) though I do find them incredibly comfortable.
Alas, they are incredibly ugly despite their attempts of being fashionable with sequins, ruffles, studs and even great colours but for sure they are meant for Mumbai roads. Their slight elevation prevents the feet from getting gritty and makes it easier to walk through water spills that seem to abound, their snug fit and toe grab prevents them from slipping off when you have to run across the road, they are water proof, light and incredibly spongy. Lastly, they are open so your feet can breathe, they don’t have laces so they can easily be slipped off and after a week they do mould themselves to the shape of your feet.So perhaps I will wear them all the time, walk miles and miles and ultimately get the great legs they promise to deliver!
p.s. I may just get them in more colours so that eventually my feet will be fashionably and comfortably clad.