Radio review: Sharing a love affair with shoes

Nuala McCann

Woman's Hour BBC Radio 4

What is it about some women and shoes?

Perhaps if you have a fine set of pins, there's nothing like a pair of stilettos to set them off.

With a matching set of cauliflower knees, sadly only Dr Scholl or good old Birkenstocks were on my radar. Jimmy Choo might as well be a distant relative of Thomas the Tank.

My sister has a selection of what she lovingly refers to as taxi shoes … the sparkly, impossibly high heeled kind that set off a well-turned ankle and are, literally, just for getting in and out of a taxi and up a red carpet. They are absolutely never about walking.

Which brings us to a lovely contributor led-item from Woman's Hour about a life in shoes.

Caller Ciara Jones shared her love affair with shoes.

The draw of a beautiful shoe was understandable.

Ciara was born with a congenital dislocation of the hip, spent a year of her childhood in hospital and was condemned to wearing prescription shoes for the first seven years of her life.

That was back in 1972 – the shoes sounded like they came from the same cupboard as the old brown prescription glasses that were sometimes matched with a pink Elastoplast eye patch, functional rather than decorative. Ciara had a choice of black or brown, flat, laced, plain brogues.

There was never a little butterfly and narry a sparkle.

“The nuns educated me and their shoes looked like they came off the catwalk in Milan compared to mine,” she sighed.

Her mother always wore lovely shoes and, in sympathy, allowed her small daughter to stand in her high heels from the age of three.

“How I felt in those shoes. I suddenly grew about five inches. I was on top of the world,” she said.

So in celebration of her 50th birthday, Ciara told Woman's Hour that she had bought a pair of bubble gum pink stiletto heels.

It's about empowerment, she said.

“It's about how I feel in them.”

We all need that top of the world feeling – a pair of shoes or a certain expensive pink lipstick. Bring it on.

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