Emma H

Emma J


6 Dec 2010

Shoe Dilemma: El Naturalista vs the Highstreet

Since taking this vow of abstinence from the highstreet I feel like I am constantly in a state of searching. Searching for that battered desk, for a snug black winter coat, for that perfectly printed leopard jumper, searching for those flawlessly formed ankle boots that will carry me from outfit to outfit through the darkest, snowiest of winter days.

With shoes, this whole not buying from the highstreet thing poses a bit of a conundrum. I need shoes I can stand all day in, they need to keep me warm, match most of my wardrobe and magically elongate my stumpy legs, all for the smallest price possible. And I have to like 'em too.

Ethical shoes, in any capacity of the word, that meet the above criteria are hard to find and so I set about creating new parameters that allowed shoe purchasing from the highstreet. This involved discerning the place of origin, Portugal, Italy and Spain being preferable due to dying culture of shoemaking, and noting the materials used.

After dragging round the shops for five hours, mother in tow, I came home with two candidates.

Candidate 1: El Naturalista Ambar Boots in Ebano featuring vegetable dyed leather, recycled rubber (and porridge) soles and a whole lot of heart
Candidate 2: Jones Bootmakers Ollie in Black Suede, origin unknown (most Jones' boots are made in Spain and I went with it mostly cus I was desperate, freezing and hungry)

After much in-house wearing ... and a whole lot of soul searching (no pun intended) El Naturalista won hands down (the Ollies have been returned).

There's so much to say about my new boots that I'm going to have to give them a post of their own but it was satisfying to know that I didn't have to abandon my values to find the winter shoes I'd been searching for.

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