Footwear is a matter of fashion for all age groups. And pink is the colour to look for if you are young and want to look chic

Flats or heels, multi-hued or a morose brown and black, staid or peppy, leather or suede, they change with the season. Add to this list, all colours of the rainbow and coloured stones, sometimes semi precious. Yes, they all find their way to trendy chappals and shoes. Footwear has risen on par with clothes in the Kochi fashionscape too, fast catching up with metros. Footwear design has leaped from the traditional to the glossy and off beat.Good old narrow Broadway, lined with footwear outlets used to be the first choice once upon a time. Not anymore. New brands have lined up elsewhere in the city with Gen Next lapping up the latest in fashion. Ask Shailaja, a degree student what she wants and this is what she has to say: "I like flats for daily wear with rhinestones, casual but pretty. For functions I prefer dressy high heeled ones. If it's western, the pointed look is in. Otherwise, for the eastern attire, heavily embroidered mojaris in different shades to match my outfit." Catering to the fastidious teens is more difficult. "They want it stylish, they want it cheap, that's the problem," says the salesman at a store on MG Road. Now, baby pink is in vogue. The shoes and slippers, if not branded, come from the northern cities like Mumbai and Kolkata. Most of the leading shoe marts are owned by people from other states. The leading shoe marts like Kobbler, Mochi, Metro etc. have special counters for party wear. Kashmiri hand crafted `Mojari' costing around Rs. 800 - Rs. 1000 matches the sherwani-kurta. Then, there is the trendy gent's foot wear from Florsheim, made up of jel sole. The advantage of this is that it is washable and protects the feet from sweat problems. It costs upwards of Rs. 4000.Sandals with flattened surface and thin laces are the new attraction. This is made from rosewood and costs more than Rs. 1000. Party accessories decorated with semi-precious stonesrange from Rs. 900 onwards.For the staid Mr and Ms, there is the trusted regular formal wear shoes and slippers, the colour brown, black and maroon staring at you from the shelves. But the days are not far away when you will find a chiropodist waiting to offer service at a footwear outlet or a pedicure as an add-on service when you buy that expensive pair of shoes. SMITHA S. NATH