Product Type: Carvela Hunter Original
Newest Review: ... when it comes to shoes, I have others which are both easier on my feet AND look better - if after everything I've said you still fancy ... more
No comfort, no style - but a very high price tag!
Member Name: chrisandmark
Advantages: Excellent quality
Disadvantages: Highly uncomfortable, a poorly finished patent, the peep is too wide
They must be hugely popular amongst shoe lovers and collectors, although I honestly can't see why as they are incredibly uncomfortable to wear with an appearance that screams 'cheap and nasty'. Sometimes a designer name turns people into idiots, but I seriously can't see the attraction of these - and all I can say is that the boutique assistant must have rubbed her hands with glee when Mark walked in, patently out of his depth and the perfect person to sell the worst shoes in the shop to!
When I unwrapped them my first impressions weren't good; the patent leather is more beige than a true Nude, to be honest the colour is largely irrelevant as this patent leather is really badly done. It's overly shiny for a start, which is never good when it comes to pale shoes (although can be carried off on browns and blacks) and the upper actually looks synthetic in a similar way to those designer rip-off shoes you can buy at any local market. I do like the way Carvela have carried the patent leather down the length of the contrasting chocolate brown heel (see? A true Nude would simply not be complimented by such a dark heel!), but this effect is spoiled by the fact that the platform is non-patent and therefore looks dull in comparison to the over-shiny shoe itself.
These shoes are a peep toe style and here lies another problem as the peep is too wide to be fashionable, it shows far too much toe cleavage and gives the shoes an extremely old fashioned look. I've found you have to be extra careful to team these Azalia shoes with highly modern clothing or else you can end up looking a little Joan Collins, and no one wants that do they?! Before wearing these shoes you need to ensure your feet are in tiptop condition from perfectly pedicured toes to having smooth (non-cracked!) heels as so much 'foot' is visible in them, something I'm not completely impressed about with my wonky middle toe!
The shoes are extremely well made; the quality is there, it's just the styling that's lacking. Stitching is beautifully hidden, the holes are punched with perfect precision, the buckle has a smooth weightiness - it's the little things that scream 'quality' with these shoes. You know something; if you like how they look, and can deal with aching feet, you're probably onto a good thing with these as they are so very well made! The heel is secure to the sole of the shoe, that's important when you consider the 5.5" heel and just under an inch platform as it's a lot of pressure on a very small portion of the shoe. The platform is soft but overall the sole is very thin and hard; the thinness is understandable as far as the design goes but it makes for highly uncomfortable walking.
Or standing, I should say. Us girls know heels like this aren't meant for walking in - the Azalia is a showy shoe, you're going to mainly be wearing them for nights out rather than traipsing around so the issue is how kind (or not) they are to the soles of your feet. I put them to the test a few weeks ago when I wore them to a family 'gathering' and ended up standing for a good two hours before naffing a seat - I can usually put up with the ache of high heels but these really made the arch of my foot burn, to the point of the area feeling bruised for a couple of days afterwards. The sharp slope of the sole doesn't help with this, stretching the bones in my ankle and foot almost to snapping point - I'm confident in heels but these Azalia shoes encourage my feet to sit in such a bizarre position that I can't help but walk with a slight wobble. It's a common misconception that a platform at the front of the shoe will offset the heel height, in practice this simply isn't true as often the platform is just something else to overcome - just in case a 5.5" heel isn't enough to contend with. Actually this platform is reasonably good; the bands of brown bring the shoes together as far as the contrasting colours go and it's impressively cushioned, so much so that the balls of my feet don't suffer at all when I am walking or standing - although this is also a disadvantage as I find I concentrate more on the other pains these shoes cause if I haven't the usual area to worry about!
The back strap is in a good place on my foot, it rubbed very slightly the first time I wore the shoes but soon softened enough to be comfortable. I like the large circular buckle as it's easy to handle and holds well while I'm wearing the shoes, you can slip them on and off without using the buckle at all but being easy to unfasten does make life a little easier when it comes to cleaning the shoes.
Considering the pale colour, these Azalia shoes really don't mark or get dirty. Part of this is obviously due to the fact that you're likely to only be walking from car to bar stool in them - and then barely moving unless you need the loo! I've found the section where the shoe upper touches the platform is where it gets a little grimy, there are shoe cleaning products aplenty available for purchase but these are easily dealt with using a baby wipe as they're so shiny - don't bother with £25 cleaning spray (I kid you not!), a £1.99 pack of Huggies wipes will do the job just as well! Of course, these expensive cleaners will also protect your shoes over time but to be honest with you I feel this style of shoe needs only a simple polish over as it's highly unlikely you're going to be walking through puddles or mud in them!
I'm getting rid of mine. They're just not comfortable enough and while I will go for style over comfort when it comes to shoes, I have others which are both easier on my feet AND look better - if after everything I've said you still fancy owning a pair of Carvela Azalia keep an eye on Ebay as mine will be on there very soon!
Summary: Another overrated pair of Carvela heels
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