A couple of years ago, city slickers’ wardrobes were invaded by the thick, stubby, colourful slip-ons known as Crocs. Their popularity instantly sparked off cheaper, street-side imitations, available at every corner store for less than half the price. Crocs may have finally been deemed too ugly to be worn by adults in public, but a new phenomenon has taken their place.
The UK’s Fitflops, the current celebrity solemate, spotted on the likes of Kareena Kapoor, Malaika Arora Khan and Aishwarya Rai, have crept into the city’s street shopping destinations from Juhu and Lokhandwala to Bandra and Colaba. Mostly available in the preferred colour code of Bollywood stars — silver, black and gold sequins— the slip-ons feature an unwieldy black foam platform heel, which is a far cry from the original design’s fortified rubber sole.
Ask Afzal, who tends a tiny, but packed stall on Hill Road, where the slippers come from and he says confidently, "These are copies of Fitflop," while pointing to the fat-strapped versions hanging at the front of the stall. "We make them ourselves. But our designers have also made different styles with thinner straps in different colours. These are the hottest selling items right now."
While the original pair costs a steep Rs 3,645 approximately, your bargaining skills could score you the desi version for as little as Rs 350 on the road, and Rs 650 at slightly more upmarket stores.
Runway choreographer Lubna Adams, a diehard Fitflops devotee, explains their allure, saying, "I have a back problem, so if I ever wear heels, I’m dead. But in these shoes, you can keep walking and you won’t have any trouble." She defends the slippers’ aesthetics, saying, "They give you an arch, which improves your posture. Also, they have sequinned versions which make you look a little dressed up." Jewellery designer Shaheen Abbas gives the style her vote too, saying, "When I’m travelling, I stick to these slippers because they’re just so comfortable."
Hot off the streets
1) For a night out on the town, wedges with cork soles work well in the summer. Choose fabric or leather, both of which allow your feet to breathe.
2) Colourful loafers used to be the forte of big labels like Tod’s but are now just as easily available on the street. These have a summer resort feel, and work well with trousers, jeans or even shorts for both day and night.
3) If you take a walk through the city’s street shopping destinations, you’ll realise that one of the most popular pairs right now is the elegant thong sandal, which elongates the foot while allowing plenty of ventilation.