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I'm not a "shoe" person at all. I'm a comfort person. I'm not someone who finishes an outfit off with shoes, or even starts an outfit off with shoes - to me they (and shopping for them) are an essential, rather than a pleasure, and I choose on the basis of how comfortable they are and how easily I can walk in them. For this reason, it's this "sensible" style that I favour. I wear trouser suits for work, and when I go out to the pub or to visit friends I wear jeans. I do own two pairs of "dressy" shoes with higher heels and some smart "going-out" boots, but for the main i prefer to have one pair of shoes that looks smart in any situation, and I wear them to work and if I'm out in the evenings.
This "Caramel Sauce"(?!) shoe is the one I currently have - I picked a pair up at Brantano and paid £40. I usually pick this style up in Tesco or Asda, I don't like paying a lot for shoes either!! This time, though, my last pair had worn out and all the offerings in the big supermarkets seemed to be wedge-style heel, hence the trip to Brantano. Being a one-pair woman, I can spot at a glance whether the store has my style - this was the only one in this style that they had in stock. It's not my exact usual choice - these have a fairly round toe, and I would usually go for something a little more pointed. I also prefer a small degree of feature on the main part of the shoe, these are totally plain. The price was a bit of a shock to my system, and I wouldn't have expected to be buying Clarks either (always thought them to be a more "mature"(!) persons choice!), but there were several factors which made this purchase a no-brainer on this occasion.
The shoes have a leather upper, so they feel nice to the touch and look smart - they are somewhere in between matt and shiny. The leather itself is quite soft, you can squash the shoe in your fingers quite easily whilst still feeling well made and sturdy. Inside (which is manmade) they felt soft and where your heel goes, its slightly padded. There is a soft (almost downy) feel to the sole of the shoe inside.
This style of heel is the one I always choose. I don't like "wedge" style, nothing too high, and I like a good area for the base of the heel to walk on. These heels are easily an inch or more square at the bottom so there is a secure feel when you put them on and stand/walk in them. The height is approximately 2.5 inch - again, this is my ideal height. I'm quite short so need the shoe to give me a bit of height, (not to mention to stop trousers from dragging on the floor!) but I don't want anything that will cause anything of a teeter. I like to be able to walk comfortable, and this is the height and style of heel I always go for. The tip on the heel is slightly rubbery. You don't get a 'clip-clip' noise when walking, they feel soft when they are in contact with the floor when you're walking. This had the added advantage that the rubbery finish actually seemed to be more resilient than the more common plasticy tip.
These shoes have a plain style. There are two elastic inserts at the top of the shoe, and a tab at the back of the shoe. I'm not sure whether these 'features' are intended to add style or are intended to just be functional - but they make it easier to pop the shoes on and off. The best way I can describe the toe is semi-round.... Not pointed but not entirely a round toe. They look great with trousers and jeans (straight leg or boot cut are my favourite, and they look good with both).
The moment I put these on in the shop I knew I would be buying them. They just felt so soft and comfortable, it sounds cliched but it was honestly like putting a pair of slippers on. The soft inner of the shoe, the padded bit for the heel and the softness of the leather all added to this feeling. I started to wear them as soon as I'd bought them and there was no "wearing-in" period required. I usually buy a size 5 but I have quite wide feet so there is normally a period of my feet protesting against any new shoe whilst my foot and the shoe got used to each other. Not so with this shoe, again presumably down to the softness of the materials but they fit well on day 1 and have kept their shape ever since.
In summary, these are a really good quality, comfortable, smart pair of shoes. Maybe I need to re-evaluate or accept (even embrace!) my progression into the world of properly-made sensible shoes, the world of Clarks. The price may be up to three times what I had been used to paying, but as inevitably proves to be the case, you get what you pay for, and I feel like I have really bought quality with these shoes.
Review of Clarkes 'Caramel Sauce' ladies shoes.
Last year, I was fortune enough to win a magazine competition. My prize was a shopping voucher for shoes with an internet shoe retailer, rubbersole.com. I took ages trying to decide what to buy and these shoes along with two other pairs were what I plumped for.
**My New Shoes**
Made by Clarkes, these shoes are called 'Caramel Sauce', a rather twee name for a pair of shoes, but there we go!
The shoes are made from black leather; the leather is fairly soft and very comfortable in wear. The inner lining and sock of the shoe is made of a man made material. They are not a highly glossy finish, more of matt leather. The shoes are what I would class as everyday shoes, smart, yet casual.
The shoes have a small block style heel, approximately 1.5" high and a fancy pull tab at the back of the shoe. The sole is lightly ridged for stability, although I wouldn't describe this as non-slip, they certainly have not given me any problems when walking on wet pavements. I haven't worn the shoes in icy conditions yet, so cannot really comment about their grip underfoot during very bad weather.
What I really like is the discrete elasticated gusset either side of the front which gives very slightly as you walk and allows for ease of getting the shoe on and off. The toe is a rounded shape and they look good with either trousers or skirts, in my opinion.
I believe the RRP of these shoes is in the region of £45 but the internet site I ordered them from was stocking the shoes at £35.99.
The shoes come in sizes from ladies sizes 3 to 9, including half sizes and width fittings 'D' or 'DD'. I ordered mine in a 7.5 D which fits me very well. I usually take a 7 but as, along with many other people, I have one foot slightly larger than the other, I decided to go up a half size as I was buying untried, so to speak. The shoes fit me well and do not move around on my feet, they support the arches of my feet and my heels snuggly and I am extremely pleased with them. These shoes are actually much nicer than the picture here shows, very comfortable and suitable for what I wanted, an everyday shoe that could be worn with a variety of clothing styles.
These shoes are well-made and excellent quaility.
**My Thoughts and Conclusion**
As time passes, I have learned a sad truth about footwear! As I become older (and heavier) my choice of footwear has had to change to accommodate the passage of time. In my youth I wore platforms, wedges, stilettos, sling backs, any style that I chose really, but nowadays my footwear is chosen for comfort, not fashion. I can no longer walk on spindly heels or strut my stuff in anything higher than an inch or two. Admittedly, I have kept a pair of black patent killer heels for old times' sake, but as I can barely wobble across the room in them and being a tall lady, they make me stand about 6'3" tall, I no longer wear these!
The Clarkes shoes were chosen not for their visual appeal, but for practicality and I feel I chose well. The style suits my needs and most importantly, the shoes are very comfortable. I wore these for several hours on their first outing and suffered no ill effects, no rubbing, blisters or sore spots.
Cleaning these shoes is simply a case of old-fashioned shoe polish and elbow grease, they clean up well and I have managed not to scuff or scratch the leather at all. They are not designed to be waterproof, but I have worn these on wet days with no problem of damp feet.
All in all, I consider these shoes to be an excellent choice for me, I fully appreciate that if you are into strappy, killer heels, you probably won't like these shoes, but they are great for me and I'd recommend them to anyone who requires comfort above fashion.
Update July 2013
These shoes are still going strong! They have received a great deal of wear over the past few months and I am happy to report that they are still showing very little sign of wear!
Thank you for reading.
©brittle1906 February 2013.
N.B. My reviews may be found on other sites under the same user name.