There is a lot I’d like to see changed in the world of fashion retail, but if I had to pick one area to focus on it would be footwear. It’s simply not up to scratch. I and most of my clients have some sort of foot and shoe challenge that’s only getting worse as we get older. It’s completely unacceptable that it’s SO HARD to find a good looking AND comfortable pair of shoes.

Yes, there are comfort footwear lines, but I haven’t found one that delivers. Many of them have shoes that are indeed comfortable, but just plain ugly. Others, like the exorbitant Taryn Rose, are beautiful, but hit and miss on the comfort dimension. And I’m not just talking about my fussy feet – this is based on my experience with many clients. There is no single range that is universally comfortable. The shoes that combine style and comfort are isolated surprises from the ranges of many different brands.

This challenge requires thinking outside the box. I don’t think the aesthetics of the shoe are the crux of the problem. That’s pretty well covered. Also, preferences are very subjective and there should always be a range of brands and styles to choose from. Comfort is where we should focus our attention. The thing I do notice is that there seems to be a set of characteristics that are common to the shoes that I find comfortable. Perhaps the answer is a range of shoes that are tailored to my specific needs.

In a perfect world where budget is no object, I see an online foot store that gives me the option to specify everything about the shoe that would make it perfect for my foot. At the touch of a button I would select my preferred style and colour, and then perfect the fit and performance of the shoe by specifying inner width and length, heel height, overall dimensions, arch support, inner cushioning details and fabrication. The shoes would magically appear on my doorstep in a couple of days.

How would you go about improving the state of retail footwear?

YouTube: Beautiful Models Falling Down

Friday fun: these fashion professionals have their own footwear challenges (no runway models were hurt in the filming of this video).