Liana (pezzazz) wrote in egl,
Liana
pezzazz
egl

The Lolita Shoe Survival Guide

Alas! The World As We Know It has come to an end! Rose Chocolat no longer carries "plus sized" shoes with normal heels!

Where do I turn? What are my options for buying shoes? And, damn, I really just want a good pair of  white boots under US$200.

Such was the inspiration for the following post, in which I delve into the deep, dark, world of buying Lolita shoes. In an effort to appeal to the masses, and not just those who have been shut out because their feet are too big, this guide-tutorial-thing will include information for shoe styles, sizing for major brands, minor brands, larger sized brands, and everything in between in buying Lolita-appropriate footwear. Because, really, one shouldn't have to wear $4 ballet flats every time they wear BABY because they can't find a decent pair of Mary-Janes (as was the case for me a year ago).

And hopefully, I can keep it up to date. ^-^


1. What shoe styles constitute as Lolita?

Although we all have this concept that Lolita shoes have to be cute little brand Mary Janes, not all of us (a minority of the community at large, but still) remain unaware of the fact that there are more than one option for footwear. Although most of these styles are Lolita already, many appear under normal circumstances but aren't Lolita. Basic styles include the following:

THE MARY-JANE



Image Courtesy of BABY, The Stars Shine Bright

Mary-Janes (also appear without the hyphen) are the typical Lolita-styled shoe. Typical Mary-Janes are closed-toed shoes with a low heel and a buckled strap across the instep of the shoe. Variations include higher heels and wedges, or an additional strap across the ankle. **If straps are not across the instep, then the shoes aren't Mary-Janes (even though they still may be considered Lolita).** Mary-Janes are carried by most major Lolita retailers which sell shoes.

THE SHOE WITHOUT A STRAP ACROSS THE INSTEP THAT LOOKS A LOT LIKE A MARY-JANE



Image Courtesy of Angelic Pretty

These shoes may look like Mary-Janes... but their appearances are decieving! (See, I told you it would get exciting in here!) Although characterized by straps across their ankles, their actual names vary depending on where you find them (many are labeled as Mary-Janes, pumps, etc. anyways, and some avoid the actual shape in their titles as much as possible). The best way I can describe them are as the shoes worn by Sailor Venus.

THE LOLITA BOOT



Mostly with a sweet or Victorian flavored style. Normally they are knee to mid-calf in length, although some cute anklets are coming  out recently. They usually have heels, and can be lace-ups, with or without buckles, and sometimes less snug in fit resembling wellies. Also, Victorian-styled, steampunk-eque boots can be grouped as Lolita as well.

Other shoes that aren't Lolita staples per se, but are commonly worn by Lolitas and are sometimes made by Lolita-friendly brands.

THE ROCKING HORSE



Originally designed by fashion icon Vivienne Westwood, imatations are now abundant, especially so in the Japanese fashion community where they were embraced by the Punk community and Lolita alike. The "fakes" aren't nesicarilly poorer in quality, but are made in a variety of materials including the traditional wood and other variations such as rubber and foam. Usually, rocking shoes have at least a 4-6 cm (1.6-2.4 inches) platform. They come in an assortment of styles as well, including ribbons attatched to the heel, ribbons attatched to the toe, lace up ribbons, boot-style, "golf-style," and creeper-style amongst others.

THE INDUSTRIAL/PUNK SHOE



Courtesy of Doc Martens and TUK shoes respectivley

For lack of a better description, these styles shoes are traditionally punk staples but have been adopted into the Lolita community via Punk and Industrial Lolita styles. These shoes can include, but are not limited to, creepers, combat boots, chunky buckled boots (a la Koji Kuga), and  thick-soled  shoes of any variety of the same wavelength. Although they can get along without a fuss with a PunkLolita or IndustrialGothLolita look, it isn't normally reccomended to wear them with sweet and classic styles.

THE OPEN-TOED SHOE/ THE BALLET FLAT



Images courtesy of BABY, The Stars Shine Bright

Although a bit of a borderline category, open-toed and ballet flat shoes can both be Lolita circumstantually. In fact, many major Lolita retailers sell shoes that are in the above stiles. However, there is and remains an undefined line as to when something stops being Lolita. Generally, they are the same shoes, sometimes with an added Lolita touch, mostly made with leather or leather-looking material. If you are confused at all, check to see if it follows under the below guidelines for what is generally accepted and unaccepted in a Lolita shoe. These usually can be carried off by Classic and Sweet styles quite well.

LOLITA SHOE DO'S:

DO: shoes with made out of a leather or faux leather material.
DO: shoes with wood or rubber soles.
DO: shoes with added extras that apply to the particular style (e.g. bows and hearts on sweeter styles, crosses and the like on Goth styles).
DO: shoes that match your outfit. A good guideline for this is the following:

BLACK SHOES go with outfits with black as a major/ trim color that is black or gray, or non-pastel and darker colors (red, burgundy, blue, navy, green) excluding yellow.
WHITE SHOES go with outfits with white as a major/ trim color or pastels/ yellow.
SOLID COLORED SHOES THAT AREN'T WHITE OR BLACK go with outfits that feature those colors as major/ trim colors.
BROWN SHOES go with outfits that feature brown or are muted in shade (although this is very much circumstantual)

TENITIVE DON'T'S

DON'T: that have S/M, fetish, or similar connotations. This includes shoes with heels higher than 14 cm (5.5 inches), vynil/PVC, excessive buckles and chains, "ballet toe shoe" styled heels, excessivley pointy shoes, and shoes that reach above the thigh. Although patent leather is becoming more appropriate, it's in best judgement to avoid wearing it for fear of looking to cheap/costume-y.
DON'T: shoes that look too costume-y. This means shoes that are coated in sparkles or glitter a la Dorthy's red slippers, pretentiously shiny shoes (at which point they begin to look like tap shoes), and shoes attatched with too many rhinestones, feathers, etc.
DON'T: black shoes with shirololi and white shoes with kurololi. It's generally agreed that this looks bad. The same goes for pink shoes with kurololi/Goth-loli, red shoes with Shirololi, etc.
DON'T: shoes that you don't think are Lolita. (this may seem obvious, but it's happened a lot).
EXCEPTION: sneakers like Chuck Taylor's for casual Lolita and sometimes in Punk Lolita.

2. What color/ shoe style is best for me?

This all depends on what you're most interested in. For starters, it's suggested to buy a pair of black shoes if you're into darker styles of Lolita, and white shoes if you're into lighter styles of Lolita. Solid colors are only recommended if you own a good amount of Lolita clothing in that color.

As for style, that completely varies. Some like to wear shoes that they can wear for non-Lolita casual clothing. For that, it is recommended to buy flatter shoes that are comfier, and can go with your casual wardrobe, too. Some want shoes that they can wear formally as well; for that one would go the route of shoes that resemble heels or ballet flats and are less excessive in Lolita decoration.

If you are also into Punk/ Goth/ Vivianne styles you may want to go the route of a pair of milititary boots, rocking shoes, or other shoes of that genre that can go with punk Lolita as well.

If you are into sweeter styles (a la Milk, or other clothes of that nature), than you can probably get away with wearing shoes of that nature with regular outfits that are sweet but not Lolita.

At the same time, you may also want shoes that are only for Lolita.

The amount of money you want to spend on a pair of shoes is also a factor. Cheaper shoes are better for people who don't wear the style as much, but if you really plan on investing in wearing Lolita clothing than go ahead and get an expensive, albeit pricier shoe.

3. I know what I want! Now, how should I go about shopping for shoes?

I

MEASURE YOUR FEET.

I don't care how stupid this may sound, but it is actually a very important part of the process. Japanese sizes are different than Western sizes, and along with that, the sizes vary just as Western sizes do. (For example, although I'm a 9-9.5 in US women's shoes, my feet are 25.4 long, meaning I can fit most LL shoes, and Rose Chocolat normal sized shoes, even though the chart says so differently). Don't be afraid to check sizes even if they're already listed in "translated" sizes in cm, because they can always be different than what you're expecting, and, unlike a skirt or JSK, they can't just be easily mended to fit if they're even a little off.

To measure your feet:

Find your bigger foot. (if they're around the same size, don't worry too much, but
discrepancies
between cm are much greater than that of inches, so its best to choose a the foot that will be the most uncomfortable if the shoe is too small.
Step it onto a piece of paper, and use some sort of writing implement to mark the tip of your big toe, and the part of your heel that lines up with your ankle.
Measure in whatever your native measurment system is with a ruler, and than convert (you don't want to do it manually or "match it up" on a ruler to avoid any human error).

I've included a sizing chart along with several of the major brands' profiles.

II

KNOW YOUR PRICE RANGE.

Cheaper shoes usually range from USD$35-60, medium prices are from $90-125, and the high end brands are more like $200+. Don't be afraid to find out additional shipping costs; if for the average JSK from Japan the shipping is $30, shoes will probably be a bit more. Look accordingly, but that means looking carefully at cheap shoes. Although the $20 shoes may look good in their ebay picture, they could be total crap in real life. Search through EGL for REVIEW + NAME OF BRAND/SHOP for user generated reviews before your purchase of ANY brand's shoes before making a purchase. Especially in the case of rocking horse shoes, the price could also equate to the material, even though many actually prefer cheaper foam to wood. Also keep in mind that for brands who don't have US shipping you may also have to add on the price of a courier or errand service. Keep an online converter on hand when shopping with international currencies.

III

BRAND/ INTERNET RETAILER PROFILES (ALPHAPETICALY, REGARDLESS OF QUALITY/ COUNTRY OF ORIGIN)




69TH DEPARTMENT
BASED IN: Speculativley Hong Kong/ China?
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes, mostly English site
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/no
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: yes
DESCRIPTION: Accessories and clothes tend to be more classic and goth. Quite eclectic assortment of shoes, accessories and clothes. Mostly focusing on rocking horse and punk/goth shoes.
SIZES: S:22.5cm M:23.5cm L:24.5cm
PRICE: $55-60, $70-80 for boots

Angelic Pretty
BASED IN: Japan
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/yes
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: Not at the moment, but they have an official English Language website and are currently working on an English Language shopping area.
DESCRIPTION: Angelic Pretty is a Sweet Lolita major Japanese Lolita brand. Although they don't offer a large array of styles, they always include a hand full of similarly sweet styles of footwear (along with an extensive amount of socks, should one be interested). Mary-Janes, Laced/ decorated "Sailor Venus" and wedged styles, some with wood soles in white, pink, black, pastel blue, and red.
PRICE RANGE: USD$140-160
SIZING:
S(~22.5㎝)
M(~23.5㎝)
L(~24.5㎝)

an*ten*na
BASED IN: Japan
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/yes (avalible in other Japanese stores of the genre)
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: no
DESCRIPTION: The popular for high quality brand-alternatives at affordable prices. Carry things that look like they would be BABY, etc., but aren't.
PRICE: USD$70+ for shoes, and 90~100 for boots
SIZING: Japanese S, M, L (check measurements)

Anna House
BASED IN: Hong Kong
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/yes
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: yes
DESCRIPTION: Anna House is a Hong Kong-based Lolita retailer. It offers affordable prices for more lavish sweet styles. Mostly bow-clad Mary-Janes and "Sailor Venus" shoes in white, pink, and black.
PRICE RANGE: Around USD$35 (everything on the site is in Hong Kong currency)
SIZING:
36 = 23.5 cm
37 = 24.0 cm
38 = 24.5 cm
39 = 25.0 cm
40 = 25.5 cm
41 = 26.0 cm
42 = 26.5 cm

BABY, The Stars Shine Bright
BASED IN: Japan
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/yes
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: Yes. There is also a reltively new English Language website, however it is sparingly updated in comparison to the Japanese website, sometimes to the point of being out of date in terms of stock and item count, so it is suggested that you follow the instructions for international ordering while using the Japanese site.
DESCRIPTION: BABY is one of the oldest Japanese Lolita brands. It offers sweeter styles than not, and an array of footwear. Styles include wood soled, wedged, and heeled, boots, Mary-Janes, "Sailor Venus," multiple flatter styles, open toed, in red, black, pink, white, and sometimes pastel blue or brown.
PRICE RANGE: USD$150-250
SIZING:
S:22~22.5cm
M:23~23.5cm
L:24~24.5cm
LL:25~25.5cm
Note, the LL size may also be 25.5~26, depending on the style.

CosWorx
BASED IN: United States
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
 INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/ no
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: Yes, with language settings on website for English, French, German, and Swedish.
DESCRIPTION: Originally intended to be a cosplay website, CosWorx carries several Loli-friendly labels like Demonia and has a "EGL" shoe-category, however accurate that may be. Boots, Mary-Janes, generally high (at least 2 inches), avoid fetish/ obviously cosplay items, mostly black with some white + pink.
PRICE RANGE: Depending on brand, generally USD$30-45
SIZING: Depending on brand and style, generally 6-12 (US), whole sizes

Demonia
BASED IN: UK
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: many Goth/ costuming in-store retailers and websites sell their itemsINTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: N/A
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: N/A
DESCRIPTION: Demonia has long been a goth/punk staple and has a variety of products that are good for use in the Lolita scene. Goth/ dark themed, creepers, boots, Mary-Janes, generally high (at least an inch or two), avoid fetish/ costume-y items, mostly black, excluding creepers/ details on shoes which may be in color.
PRICE: Depends on retailer
SIZING: Generally 6-11

DOUBLE DECKER

BASED IN: Japan
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/ yes
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: yes
DESCRIPTION: Generally more punk and industrial-type footwear. Creepers and other rubber soled shoes of the like abundant, boots, wooden rocking horse shoes. White, red, pink, and black.
PRICE: USD$75-95
SIZING:
23.0cm-25.0cm (wood soled, "girl's" styles), 23.0cm-27.0cm (more "unisex" styles)

KERA SHOES

BASED IN: Japan
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/yes
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: no
DESCRIPTION: An offshoot of the KERA SHOP chain (eg. Maria, etc.), KERA SHOES specializes in shoes worn by subcultures within the magazine. Styles steer towards goth/ punk, although some of the shoes come in sweet varieties. Creepers, Mary-janes, chunky boots, rubber soled shoes, in red, black, white, and a few pink.
PRICE: $90-150
SIZING:
S  22.5~ 23.0cm
M  23.5~ 24.0cm
L  24.5~ 25.0cm

Ling Lam
BASED IN: Hong Kong
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes (Ebay)
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/ no
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: yes
DESCRIPTION: An ebay-based webstore which features an array of Lolita/ Visual Kei-styled shoe reproductions (Montreal brand?). The styles really run the spectrum (foam soled rocking shoes, Mary-Janes, "Sailor Venus" shoes, platform and heeled, boots. In red, white, pink, and black, although most solid colors have white detailing.
PRICE: USD$40-140
SIZING: through US 10 on most items, check the size charts accompanied by the listings for details.

Metamorphose
BASED IN: Japan
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/yes
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: yes (English site availible)
DESCRIPTION: Mainly clothes, with a small assortment of shoes. Shoes tend to be classic, and subtler Goth/Sweet. Saddle-shoe styled, Mary-Janes, boots (seasonally), black, red, some white.
PRICE: USD$150-250
SIZING:
S ~ Japanese 22.5 cm
M~ Japanese 23.5 cm
L ~ Japanese 24.5 cm
More recent shoes extend to LL~ 25.5
     

Moi-même-Moitié
BASED IN: Japan
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes (note: there is an additional Japanese only website, but this link directs you to the CD JAPAN listings)
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: see above/ yes
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: see above

DESCRIPTION: MMM has a very small shoe line to accompany the EGL/EGA taste. Obviously black, boots and shoes, may be patent, most have large heels/ platforms.
PRICE: At least USD$230. Aristocratic boots cost more.
SIZING: 23.5 cm. They follow the same one-size-fits-all law as the clothing.

Rose Chocolat
BASED IN: Korea
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/ yes
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: yes
DESCRIPTION: Long was the brand-of-choice for international Lolita. An array of styles, non-secratarian of Lolita genre, including, but not limited to, boots, anklet boots, mary janes, tie up shoes, "Sailor Venus" styles, (foam sole) rocking shoes, and many more. Releativley low heel (you can chose your heel size when placing your order). Red, white, black, pink, and brown all available in most styles.
PRICE: USD$100-130
SIZE: "Normal heeled" shoes are available for the following sizes:
21.5, 22.0, 22.5, 23.0, 23.5, 24.0, 24.5, 25.0, and (although on sometimes, no) 25.5 cm
The following sizes are available, but, instead of the "normal heel" these "special sizes" currently are only available with a black wedge heel.
26.0, 26.5, 27.0, 27.5, 28.0

TUK
BASED IN: United Kingdom
INTERNET WEBSITE: yes
INTERNET SHOPPING/ IN-STORE SHOPPING: yes/ no (although TUK shoes are carried by many Goth retailers)
INTERNATIONAL SHIPPING: yes
DESCRIPTION: Mostly joined at the hip with punk, TUK's creepers, combat boots, etc. can be worn with more punk/industrial looks. Their Mary-Janes are very cute, too. Red, black, white, some pink and prints for women's shoes/ Mary-Janes.
SIZE: US Women's 6+
Price: $40 +

III

CARING FOR YOUR SHOES.

It's always a shame when shoes, no matter how god/ bad the quality may be, get scuffed up so badly they need to be replaced. Thus, a little category for keeping your Lolita shoes in shape. (if you have any information specifically for rocking shoes, that would be great as I don't own any).

Firstly, keep that plastic thing that comes in the box with your shoes to buff them out. If possible, fill the toes with tissue/ paper towel when not in use. This prevents them from getting screwed up in storage.

When walking in shoes in general, try to avoid walking so that they will get scuffed (shuffling your feet, stepping too harshly, watching where change in pavement is). When walking up steps, step as far away from the actual part between each increment as possible without falling off, and watch your feet while you walk, as you could easily stub the toes that way.

In any case, if you do injure them, here's some general tips:

LEATHER: Keep some wax/ polish on hand at all times. I know that shoe polish is harder to find in colors other than black, in that case do your best to wax them.

RUBBER: Scuffs on rubber can be rubbed out, but the parts that look more like shavings can be sanded down just like you would wood. Be careful of damaging the actual shape.

LAQUER: If it's just the shiny part that gets damaged, and not the actual paint, purchase some laquer that's shine MATCHES YOUR SHOE'S  and evenly distribute over the affected area.

PAINT: If there is a small chip in paint, use the little sharpie pens if they come in the same shade as your shoe. They really do work.

I would like this to be, and remain, a work in progress. To keep this fully updated as a resource tool please help by asking questions, commenting, correcting my mistakes, or adding additional brands/ retailers/ styles/ other information you think should be included in the comments (if possible, try and keep the same format that is used throughout for brands/ retailers). Because as time consuming as this was, I'm quite positive that I'm not nearly covering everything there is!
Tags: garment: shoes
Subscribe
  • Post a new comment

    Error

    Anonymous comments are disabled in this journal

    default userpic

    Your reply will be screened

    Your IP address will be recorded 

  • 91 comments
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →
Previous
← Ctrl ← Alt
Next
Ctrl → Alt →