Shoes are no more merely protective gear for the feet. They are style statements. Diya Purkayasthagoes round the shoe shops in the city and finds that stylish pairs are available though they cost a bomb!
“One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you”… Nancy Sinatra sang these words in a different light, but today, shoes have taken lifestyle to an entirely new level. Yes, they are ‘walking all over you’. One is familiar with high heels, wedge heels, chappals, leather shoes, brogue shoes, and the like. To add to the assortment, high quality, expensive shoes anywhere in the range of Rs.8,000-10,000 have stormed the market and are being well received by many affluent shoppers.
Well known brands have grouped their high-priced shoes in ‘collections’. Metro Shoes calls it ‘Da Vinci Metro Exclusive Collection’.
Designer footwear for the modern day elite gentleman is available in the range of Rs. 9,000 to 10,000. Manufactured in Brazil, these are all-weather, light weight, trendy shoes. Mochi, another recognized brand of the city, has its ‘Mochi Premium Collection’ wherein the J. Fontini brand for men is priced at Rs.9,990. Indian leather of the highest quality teemed with exclusive styling for utmost comfort are the reasons for the high cost. Mohsin, the store manager of Metro Shoes at Bay Pride Mall says, “Our customers don’t come with a price range in mind, they seek quality. Our Da Vinci shoes have become a favourite mainly for the comfort. The shoes are so cushy and light, one doesn’t even feel one is wearing socks!” The clientele for higher end shoes is limited for now. Many NRIs looking for novel designs, tourists and a few ‘proper Kochiites’ have bought pairs. “On an average we sell about five pairs a month”, says Pradeep Kumar, the store Manager at Mochi. Tarun, a student trying out shoes at the store comments, “I tried the expensive variety… even though they are extremely comfortable, I am not yet in a position to buy them, but I’m sure if I had enough money I would have gone in for them”.
Ladies footwear has not yet touched great heights in terms of cost. The price range varies anywhere between Rs.500 to 4,000. “Our store sells almost 9 pairs of ladies shoes priced at Rs.3000 per day”, says Mohsin. Popular brand Woodland has not yet ventured into expensive shoes. Even though their starting range is Rs.1500, their costliest shoe is for Rs.5795. Kobbler, another city footwear store, does not believe in pricing its shoes very high.
Says Manish Thapar, Managing Partner, Kobbler, “Our main criterion is customer satisfaction. ”.
Sports shoe shops are not far behind in pricing their shoes heavily. Reebok draws on the DMX technology which allows dynamic movement with cushioning, a pair costing Rs.25,000! The shoe has not yet hit the Kochi market, but not far behind is the ‘Answer 11’ suited for Basketball players, priced at Rs.10,990.
Nike manufactures the ‘Air Max 360’ which has full length air cushioning and is suited for running and training in the gym. Priced at Rs.9,900, the shoes are also apt for those with back and knee joint pain as it gives a cushioning effect. Hudson, store manager of Nike at Bay Pride Mall says, “Customers come to us with specific needs. Beginners at the gym or runners, they are aware of their requirements and we give them the best possible options”.
Brand consciousness and lifestyle changes have brought about awareness amongst people and the power to indulge. Buying expensive shoes is yet another addition to the list.