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Pamper your feet, FASHIONABLY


A gift by the visiting brother, relative or friend from abroad was the only way by which one could hope of getting one's hands on a pair of Nike or Adidas shoes which were considered to be a prized possession until a few years ago. Youngsters would proudly show off their newly acquired sneakers to friends and get that much-wanted attention.


Well not any more, what with almost every footwear outlet in the city putting up top international brands on sale. Thanks to duty- free imports and advent of big names in the market in recent times, customers now have access to a wide range of footwear at reasonable prices. Shoes have come a long way from being mere footwear to becoming an essential part of dressing. The attire if not matched with the right kind of footwear could be a major embarrassment on occasions. A decade ago a single pair was all that many would have in their wardrobe. Be it college, office or a party, the one pair would serve the purpose. A second pair was normally sneakers, which were meant for sport activities. Arrival of the biggies like Lee Cooper, Lotto and Woodlands in the Indian market has changed the scene completely. These brands defined the types - formal wear, casual wear, running shoes, tennis shoes, coolers, monks and many more. Models are available in the market to suit all moods and occasions. Says Ritesh Kumar Parida, a final year B.Com. Student: ''The footwear has to match the clothes, and if you do not get the combination right, you could end up looking really out of place.'' The youngster claims to have three pairs, formals during the college, sneakers for the gym and coolers to stroll in the evening on the Beach Road. Footwear goes beyond making a fashion statement. Comfort replaces the chic look. One cannot ignore comfort combined with style to attain that spirited gait. Says On Kwong Jao of the 45 year old Rehin Sons: ''For students and executives the comfort factor is very important as they keep the shoes on for long hours. Shoes with broader cuts are being preferred. Customers are getting very brand conscious and are uncompromising on quality. Broad square cut shoes are in vogue as they are both stylish and comfortable. Boots, which were a rage, a few years ago have completely disappeared from the market. Apart from the square cut shoes, floaters are in demand. These sandals are for evening wear during summer and go with almost any kind of outfit. Monks, which are essentially canvas shoes, are in the same slot: slip your feet in them and slip out of the house, that's hassle- free footgear for you. No laces to tie, no polishing, no straps and zero maintenance.Sneakers, however, have retained their popularity and continue to be a hit with students. Given the growth in consumer-buying power and increased fashion consciousness among the youth, having a collection of shoes is only normal. The fashion-savvy youngsters find no reason to hold themselves back, wasting no time in upgrading their wardrobe. Now it is not merely putting your best foot forward but putting it with the right footwear!

Shazeel M. Basha

Photos: C.V. Subrahmanyam

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