A good idea gone clearly wrong: PVC shoes

Image: Getty Images

Small and see-through is in. Heels have become shorter, bags have become miniscule and sunglasses are so narrow they barely meet the tips of your eyelashes. Clear, colourful PVC and vinyl are the new season’s fabrics of choice for handbags and shoes, from the runway to the high street.

For Spring/Summer 2018, PVC was all over the runway. Chanel did everything from plastic hats, bags and coats, right down to a collection of heeled transparent knee-high boots. Off-White joined forces with Jimmy Choo to create a vinyl wrapped heel hybrid which has been seen on everyone’s feet, including Rihanna’s. Kanye West created a range of PVC ankle boots, mules and heels for his brand Yeezy, which many of the Kardashian clan have been sporting.

Designers aplenty are embracing plastic, perhaps inspired by the general trend towards the minimal, the barely the re. But, if you ask me, PVC shoes are questionable, even if they are Chanel; that won’t stop your feet sweating and turning your shoes into an unattractive and unhygienic mess. I have always been picky about shoes. For years I avoid - ed open toes at all costs. I have a thing about toes and how awkward they can look peeking out of the front of shoes. To me, PVC shoes rank right up there with peep toes for the most awkward shoes you can ever try to pull off.

French actress Karidja Toure wore plastic to the Chanel Haute Couture Spring Summer 2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week in Paris, France
French actress Karidja Toure wore plastic to the Chanel Haute Couture Spring Summer 2018 show as part of Paris Fashion Week in Paris, France
Image: Getty Images

When it comes down to it, PVC is stiff plastic, which doesn’t breathe, which means shoes made of it are a breeding ground for bacteria. It’s also not flexible – making it one of the least comfortable materials to wear for an extended period. And, to make matters worse, whatever is going on inside your shoes is on display for everyone to see – including cringe-worthy condensation and awkwardly squashed toes.

Aesthetics aside, Dr Dennis Rehbock, a practicing podiatrist and podiatry lecturer at the University of Johannesburg, advises against buying into this plastic footwear trend. “PVC shoes can cause wet, sweaty feet and this can predispose you to fungal infections, like athlete’s foot, and a bacterial foot condition called pitted keratolysis. These two conditions love to live in warm, wet areas like sweaty feet and in between wet toes,” he says.

Trends in shoes and accessories change at a dizzying speed, so chances are this one won’t last. If you do feel enticed to tap into this fad, try a touch of sheer gloss by way of a PVC strap or Perspex heel.

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