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Seyifunmi Ajanaku: Find Your Sole Mate! Here Are 4 Helpful Tips for Buying Shoes



Seyifunmi Ajanaku Finding the Right Shoes - BellaNaija - August 2015 (11)I am big on shoes; call it a fetish. I see shoes, I like them and if I can, I buy them. This has been the routine for a while now, but lately I had to stop and think –  am I buying the right shoes? Do I really need these? What colours am I missing in my wardrobe?

A couple of weeks ago I had to attend a destination wedding in Florence, Italy. I had the perfect outfit planned but the problem was I could not find the right shoes. I went from store to store trying to find a great pair, searched online and still came up with nothing. It’s Summer and even though most of the stores had “SALE” boldly plastered on their windows, I still had not found what I wanted.

With the wedding fast approaching and my patience wearing thin. I was willing to settle for anything at that point. But even when I eventually found a pair that kind of worked, I started to think about the key aspects that would help me buy this particular pair of shoes. They were made for women with wide feet, and being that mine are slim it made for very bad fitting. I tried them on, walked around, danced with them and eventually realized what I think I had known all along – I needed a pair that fitted my feet, the occasion and my outfit perfectly.

Finding the right shoes can be a hassle, and just like me, you might be pressed for time, frustrated with searching and just ready to wear wide shoes on slim feet. But I believe there are a few things you cannot compromise on.

So to help those of you out there that have a hard time picking out your sole mate, here are a few tips that have helped me.

Weather and environmental restraints
I still can’t understand why, in humid weather such as Nigeria’s or any place with hot climate, women decide to wear booties to keep up with trends. Not all trends work with your environment.

Here’s how I see it – when your feet are confined, they start to smell. Liken this scenario to wearing a thick fur coat or leather pants in the Summer because you’re trying to be on-trend.

Do yourself a favour and opt for functional shoes that are both weather appropriate, nice and comfortable.

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Occasion appropriate
Sometimes I think we get too caught up in trends and forget that there are basic fashion rules that go with good reason. I once spotted a woman rock gladiator sandals with her long dress headed for a ballroom event. *sigh* There is a reason why shoes are labelled and categorized i.e court shoes, dress shoes, casual shoes, formal shoes, sport shoes etc. So if you are ever unsure about what shoes to wear where, conduct a research and educate yourself.

Ballroom dresses should either be accompanied by stilettos or strappy sandals; these shoes compliment the outfit. I am not oblivious to the new trends of swapping heels for trainers and plimsolls. However, this might be acceptable for casual functions such as movie nights, concerts, birthday parties, flights and less formal events.

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And can I just say that wearing stilettos and bulky shoes for long hour flights are a no for me. Even if you are in business class or first class, travel shoes should be comfortable and easy to maneuver. Is style necessary when travelling? Yes. But not at the expense of safety or practicability. Would you be able to run in heels if there’s an emergency?

Sizing and Fit
I mentioned in the last article (see here if you missed it) how understanding your size is key. With shoes, you never want to skim on the size. You do not want to buy a size smaller (hoping they expand) or bigger (hoping to grow into them). Always get the right size with the most comfortable fit.

A size too small and they will hurt your feet and give you corns, blisters etc. A size too big and you have to worry about shoe fillers, and your shoes slipping off while you walk.

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A great way to determine your shoe size is to check the sizing guide for that particular store. Like clothes, shoes differ and some provide half inches extra, while others accommodate wide fits. Know what you are “walking” with. (Pun intended).

Test Run
You need to always test the comfort of your shoes before you take it our for a long spin. This is called breaking in your shoes. Walk in them around the house, stand in them for some time before taking them out for a night on the town. This way you know what pinches or doesn’t feel right so you can fix by having them stretched or returning them.

Some shoes may feel comfortable in the store, but after a few hours of walking in them outside the store, you realize how totally uncomfortable they actually are. In this case before you purchase, ask about the refund/exchange policy if available. This will provide the information and opportunity to return them in good time if they don’t fit well.

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I hope these tips have been helpful. I certainly learned that my love for shoes has a limit.

Share what helps you find the right shoes and if you would forgo comfort for the hottest pair.

Photo Credit: | Encyclopaedia of Women’s Shoes
Other Photos: Personal Wardrobe

Seyifunmi Ajanaku is  a fashion enthusiast and lifestyle blogger with an eye for details with a quirky almost non-conventional sense of style I love to read, write and discuss everything fashion. I'm a strong believer that Fashion is art; art in itself is beautiful. I am dedicated to helping people maintain a great image as they embrace their personal style as I find that this also builds their self confidence in positive ways. I run a lifestyle blog at



    August 31, 2015 at 6:05 pm


  2. Bebe

    August 31, 2015 at 7:28 pm

    I think skim is the word you are looking for not ‘scheme’. Nice article BTW. Very informative esp the shoe chart

    • Seyifunmi Ajanaku

      September 5, 2015 at 3:14 pm

      Thank you for the correction, it was an oversight and for the comment.

  3. molarah

    August 31, 2015 at 9:20 pm

    Nice tips. Thanks for sharing

  4. Bambini World

    September 1, 2015 at 4:55 am

    Go SF!!! Nice!!!

  5. Tosin

    September 1, 2015 at 8:16 am

    Crocs / Birkenstocks.
    if it has to be that serious (high or heely), Naturalizer / Aerosoles would be my first choice, but there are surprising options out there too, less-known brands that romance your feet. If you’re in Lagos, Yaba / Tejuosho garrit all hidden in the back if you ask.

    I like all these painful looking shoes too: I consider them sculptural pieces, to be looked at in the mall, definitely not for wearing, not by me at least.

    • Seyifunmi Ajanaku

      September 5, 2015 at 3:19 pm

      Lol. I know, some shoes are only made for their artistic values and not to be worn around.
      Thank you for sharing more tips as well. Good points.

  6. taiwo

    September 1, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    Nice article. You go girl!

  7. Olayinka

    September 2, 2015 at 1:23 pm

    Quite informative article; thanks for sharing.

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