Do women know shoes? This question appears heretical at face value but it isn’t; it is a given that women love shoes but do they really know them? As a generality men know that women love shoes: looking at the faces of boyfriends and husbands waiting (im)patiently on their girlfriends and spouses as the try on their 15th pair during an afternoon of shopping is testament to the love affair that women have with shoes but arguably they know less about footwear than they think they do. Shoes: Instant Expert by Linda O’Keeffe remedies that within its tightly bound 142 pages; the hardcover fits into palm of your hands and will deliver on its promise to make you an expert almost instantly.
“This passion for shoes is justified when considering the skill, creativity, and craftsmanship that go into their production – the art of shoemaking makes these essentially utilitarian items worthy of our enthusiasm and desire. The ancient skill of cobbling converts formless materials into a beautifully proportioned piece of architecture that acts as a second skin and strikes some as pure alchemy. Nowadays most shoes are mass-produced by machines and computers, so shoes that show signs of handcrafting are deservedly prized and coveted.” (Shoes: Instant Expert, p.7)
Starting from the fundamentals – where styles, materials, anatomy and construction are covered – to a discussion on customized and bespoke shoemakers before ending with resources for learning more, Shoes: Instant Expert will ensure that you come away knowing to clean and protect, maintain and alter as well as accessorize.
Throughout Linda O’Keeffe has succeeded in conveying a lot quickly and accessibly:
The majority of women’s luxury shoes are made from cow hide, but there are a number of other leathers that can be used as well. The unique softness and pliability inherent in deer and elk skins produce handsome and highly practical outdoor shoes, the nubby follicles in ostrich skin lends a pronounced contour to formal shoe uppers; while snakeskin lends texture and natural pattern to strappy sandals.