Monsoon is finally here and has been unleashing it’s full power over the last couple of weeks. And you don’t really know anything about monsoon until you’ve seen the Mumbai rains. The traffic goes haywire, roads get flooded, trains run late and/or are cancelled and getting to work in the morning feels like participating in some kind of an adventure sport. Since there is a fair bit of ‘wading’ that we have to deal with while travelling, it’s really no surprise that most of us keep an extra pair of shoes in office.
I remember as a kid, when we would shop for school shoes, we’d buy two kinds: leather and ‘all season’. These were shoes made out of rexine (or sometimes black “rainy” sandals out of PVC – remember them?), which could endure all the muck and mulch that we carried with us to and from school. But those were simpler times.
For years I’ve spent my time hunting Colaba causeway, Hill Road in Bandra and Lokhandwala markets for a nice and *cheap* pair of shoes to wear through the rains. One season I put my worn out kolhapuris through the rains and you already know – it was the worst idea. Another time I bought one of the ugly ‘all season’ sandals from a local shoe shop. Point being, we’ve never really had much choice while buying rainy footwear for a long, long time. But things are changing pretty fast (and no, I’m not talking about Crocs) but I’m amazed at just how many choices are available.
I’ve always loved the idea of wearing jelly strapped shoes during rains. It’s an add-on that these come in all kinds of colours – what better way to add some brightness to the dark gloomy weather? I found a couple of pairs at Aldo and then there is PVC, which is most popularly available at Vivienne Westwood, but since we do not all own oil wells and if you’re looking for something cheaper – and I’m with you there – you gotta spend some time. It involves going to your favourite street market and getting blown away. Cute colourful peep toes with just that right size of heel, bows and polka dots are among the things that await you. I went to Lokhandwala and found these awesome ones!
‘Bellies’ – (as the vendors call them) are ballerina shoes made out of PVC and the like. These are available in lots of colours and styles. But I suppose if you really want ballerinas that can be used as rain wear, what you need is Bata. While they have a lot of variety, it is not something we’d exactly call chic, apart from the flats that have been so popular for the last 5-6 seasons. The colourful flats with little holes like a sieve are the most successful things to come out of Bata since the rubber slipper. The prices are at a reasonable range of Rs. 250-Rs. 350, but they’re extremely common. So if you’re okay with wearing something that at least five other people in the room are wearing, go ahead because they’re honestly the best thing for monsoons – comfortable, look good, are non-slippery and dry really fast.
Peep Toes – this is the kind you will see most varieties in. Polka dots, checks, stripes with little bows and even beads all come together on your peep toed sandals (flats and heels) in PVC. Being a Sindhi, I’d like to think I’m naturally attracted to shiny things, so my favourite has to be a grey blingy peep toe that I saw and it cost a simple Rs. 250.
Flip Flops – Personally, I’m not a big fan of these during rains because they tend to splash the muddy water on your clothes, but having seen some – like the ones with hearts on them – I’m quite tempted to try them.
Sandals – There are the T-strap sandals which are really easy to clean because they don’t retain any water but that means that they expose your feet to all the muck that much more. I’d still say they are low maintenance and mostly very fun because you get to show off your pedicured feet with all kinds of toe-rings and nail polish! I found a pair of gladiator-type sandals too which would look really cool with shorts. Also saw a pair of really pretty Mary Janes made out of PVC.
Wellies or Wellington boots, or the way we know them, Gumboots -Gone are the days of the boring black ones we wore to school. There are all kinds of fun colours and prints available in the market and I’ve even seen some with heels. Can look quite funky if you can pull them off! (Here’s a fun fact: did you know before manufacturing mobile phones, Nokia was known for it’s rubber boots?!)
The BEST part – All of these are below Rs. 500 which means you can buy more than one to go with different outfits. And if you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned Crocs here, it’s because I don’t count them among pretty or cool footwear. But hey, if that’s your style, don’t let me stop you!
Know of some other places to lay hands on really awesome footwear for the rainy season, do share. I would love to know.
All Images By Ekta Valecha
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