Saturday, March 05, 2016

Mad about the bow, or, Root, Shoot, Marry: the Ferragamo Shoe

Welcome to Root, Shoot, and Marry: the Ferragamo shoe edition.

This is the classic Australian drinking game (that I would never have known about if the internet hadn't told me, so thank you, Bec of the Ladies' Lounge.) In the traditional game, you get the name of three men, and you decide which you'd have sex with, kill, or marry.

Of course, I cleaned it up somewhat by making it about shoes, rather than shagging. Ferragamo shoes, to be precise.

Look, I realize that Ferragamo shoes are essential equipment for old ladies who clip coupons, play bridge, and whip out pictures of their grandchildren. But Ferragamo is one of the last shoe manufacturers to make shoes in a variety of widths. And this is very bridge-playing-old-lady of me, but I have wide feet that are not getting any narrower, so I buy Ferragamos once in a while.

But even I have my limits.


First, the shoe I would boink:

New Bisque patent Susi 100, available at Bluefly

The Susi 100 stiletto is a tasteful pointed toe pump with a graceful cut and no Icky Toe Cleavage. I've never owned a pair, but have a pair like them in taupe suede with a slightly lower heel. I've been known to wear them for hours, absolutely agony-free.

In my fevered imagination, these shoes are clearly the bad boys who will give you a delightful time of it, even if you're only together for a short while.

Even when that time is spent walking and standing on hard surfaces.


This is the shoe I would kill: an excrescence available on, which, by the way, is where I get the vast majority of my Ferragamos. Bluefly tends to only stock C-width Ferragamos, but that works out well for me. The shoes are priced about $200 less than retail, and I can save even more using eBates. Win/win/win, sayeth Poppy of the tragically wide feet.

The Varina flat in A) leopard print pony skin with B) a contrasting kid toe

C) grommet trim, D) a signature Ferragamo bow

And, in case that wasn't enough, E) a magenta suede heel. MAGENTA.

Wow, what an amazing surprise that these shoes didn't sell out at full retail and ended up on Bluefly. I. AM. SHOCKED.

Sarcasm aside, these shoes will make you look like every shoe fashion trend from the past three years has vomited all over your feet. (Valentino rockstuds! Color blocking! Leopard print! Designer trademark visible at 20 paces!)

They are available for the perfectly disgusting price of $528.00. No, that is not an affiliate link; it's there so you can examine these shoes in more detail, show them to your family and friends, and increase the world's available stock of sarcastic remarks and general mockery.

On the other hand, if you buy these shoes, I will reach through your computer screen and strangle you.

Don't mess with me; I just saw Carmen and I'm feeling both passionate and deadly.


And third, the shoe I could live happily ever after with--the classic Vara. Yes, the ultimate old-lady comfortable walking shoe.

Not to say that Ferragamo hasn't tried to jazz this style up. Three years ago, to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the Vara, Ferragamo started offering a custom option. Style icons like Alexa Chung were seen wearing Varas.

Bloggers blogged about them. Some celebrities even—gasp!—helped Ferragamo promote the style.

I don't think it worked.

Although the image above did inspire me to start wearing Varas with skinny jeans, as a step up from ballerina flats.

But this is just not an exciting shoe design. Still, the Vara is a good, honest workhorse. I have a pair  in black kidskin that are about six years old. I don't wear them all that often, but boy, when I do, they perform. The chunky heel keeps my feet planted sturdily on the ground. The almond toe is foot-slenderizing without pinching. The somewhat high vamp prevents Icky Toe Cleavage.

And occasionally I find a pair in an interesting color. (Yes, on Bluefly. I check regularly for new stock.) I have them in hot pink and orange.

I also have them in a pretty lavender, that works really well with my favorite Hermes scarf.

One of those silly Instagram layouts.
This pair at Zappos is lovely, too. If a bit Easter Eggy.
Fleur Bleu, available at Zappos Couture
Varas are also available in dressier versions. I've seen suede trimmed with gold kidskin, but balked at the price. And then there are these—I can't stand mixed metals, so this gold-and-silver version sets my teeth on edge. But if you like gold and silver together and have hard-to-fit feet, this might be the dress shoe of your dreams.

In short, Vara is the Prince Charming of shoes.

Except for a couple of things. First, I've never understood Ferragamo's obsession with patent leather.  I just don't understand the appeal.

Then there is that grosgrain bow. I like it on the Vara, but it's getting to be the Ferragamo version of mildew, creeping inexorably all over everything they make.

Why, Ferragamo? You are the only shoe designer I can think of that churns out style after style that could be super wearable ... except for those two irritating traits.

So you see, the Vara is really like a husband. Almost perfect, but not quite.


  1. Yes I would marry a vara shoe .... I would have them in all colours too!
    Oh .... I have never played the game root , shot or marry and I am a aussie!

  2. I'm glad to have introduced you to your cultural heritage! XD

  3. Hi, I bought my 1st black patent SF pump thingy (vara?) last August on a trip to Sydney. They cost $690 but in the USA they are probably $200. I haven't worn them yet but I will x

  4. PS your fave Hermes scarf is awesome, do you like Maitai as I do?


Gentle Readers:

For the time being, I've turned off comment moderation. Please don't spam; it's not nice.

xxx, Poppy.