Thursday, 27 August 2009
Life's little luxuries are too much for some of us to give up. During these times of recession, sales of shoes and chocolate have actually increased. In the last six months Cadbury's sales have risen by 12 per cent – apparently its all down to the new stay at home culture, which promotes the ideal of curling up on the sofa with a bar of melted cocoa. Reluctant to buck this trend, I bought a brand new pair of shoes for a friend’s wedding. I have to admit these elegant specimens were not in the sale, but the constant drizzly weather drove me to it. And what’s wrong with a little material pick me up once in a while? Having spent a week in the French Alps walking up mountains, swimming, running and exploring a more frugal way of life, I felt I deserved it. You see walking in the Alps is a whole day event. It’s hard on the thighs going up as you lean into the mountain (for fear a strong wind might blow you off ) and coming down your knees cry out for a bit of relief as you contend with rocky pathways, your eyes squinting in the afternoon sun. Of course, after an all day walk came the obligatory demi (half pint) in local pub followed by an ice cream. It seems holidays and diets clash in my head. Yet on returning to the cooler shores of South Devon I found I had actually toned up - walking all day obviously burns more calories than desk sitting despite the volume of food ingested. Finally free of walking boots, I headed into town hours before the wedding for a handbag only to get sidetracked by shoes. Shoes, I have learnt, can actually help you lose weight. This isn’t some old wives tale which involves eating seaweed and going to bed in your high heels - I’m talking about anti-cellulite shoes. These clumpy looking inventions are a type of footwear intended to change the way you walk by putting pressure on different areas of the foot and leg. Certain muscles that are generally ignored while walking are utilized while one is wearing the anti-cellulite shoes. By changing a person’s gait, these shoes claim to improve circulation, reduce varicose veins, and even melt accumulated fat. Fat melting shoes? They sound dangerous. Aside from claiming to literally burn away fat, the wearer’s posture is apparently also improved so it’s easier to breathe and joint problems can be relieved. So you see it isn’t just weight loss that is encouraged by these shoes. The product of Swiss engineer Karl Muller, anti-cellulite shoes - or Masai Barefoot Technology (MBT shoes) - were invented as a result of vacation inspiration. Muller found his back pain eased after days of walking barefoot around Korean paddy fields. Walking around barefoot down the High Street or across the moors is completely ridiculous, so Muller invented shoes which would mimic this basic of instincts – walking barefoot. Reports suggest anti-cellulite shoes may bring idle muscles back to life, but the only sure fire way of losing weight is more rigorous exercise. So at £150 a pair these boat-shaped shoes will have to stay on the shelf. It was after this allusion of quick weight loss was shattered that I went for a traditional, if not slightly flamboyant, pair of towering satin black heels with a ruffle on the front. They looked much better with my zebra print dress then any pair of MBTs would and they were much more appropriate for a wedding. And anyway, by the end of the evening I was barefoot.