Tafadzwa Zimoyo Senior Lifestyle Writer
There is a general consensus among women that shoes reflect a person’s personality, class and style.
Have you ever noticed the ‘head-to-toe’ look that women give to any man who approaches them for a chat? It is a strong gesture that directs an ensuing conversation between the two.
While women take extra care about their footwear, they also pay serious attention to men’s shoes and belts. Shoes make serious statements.
According to French fashion designer Christian Louboutin, shoes transform body language and attitude.
“In fact, they lift you physically and emotionally,” he noted in an analysis about feet language.
The realisation that shoes are a status symbol has driven men to carefully choose the best footwear to make their intended statements.
It is a thing of the past for one to just grab any jacket and jump into the car when going to an event.
Now, men are also chasing the latest trends and pay particular attention to how they look.
Of late there are men’s shoes that have been trending on online markets and on the streets.
The popular ‘nubuck’ and suede shoes are made from a unique types of leather created by sanding or buffing the outside of cow hides to produce a short, velvety nap.
At many male stores like popular 4May International store along Jason Moyo Avenue in Harare, Vigano at Sam Levy in Borrowdale and DK Mannequins situated in Avondale, the nubucks and brogue shoes in high-boot and low cut style are on demand.
Most male shops are getting big business from the new trend. Their biggest advantage is that male shoppers do not take too much time making decisions about what they want to purchase.
Men don’t dwell much on comparisons.
They do not spend time loitering and taking time to negotiate in the store. They just pay the bill, grab the item and leave.
So, the trending shoes have become big business in town. They have also become good fashion statements for men.
In an interview, Dean James of 4May International store said the shoes cost about US$150 depending with the style.
“They have been selling like hot cakes for the past season. Most men have resorted to nubucks because they suit every attire and are easy to wear anytime. The shoes range from $150 to $300 depending on how you want to accessorise and wear them.
“Shoes have become topical with most directors and mangers of companies buying various colours because they want to make fashion statements. Even grooms are wearing the black suave suede nubuck shoes. Now, because of the lockdown the customers are few but they are ordering online,” he said.
James said although the shoe looks unpolished and untidy, what matters is the design not forgetting the cow and elephant hide material.
He said the shoe is difficult to maintain as it requires its proper shoe polish.
“We order our shoes from Italy, Turkey and China. When you wear it and take a look at it from afar, one would think it is dirty but that is the design.
There are several safe ways to remove dirt, food, oil, and adhesives from it because it is buffed down version of full grain leather that resembles a very fine, but durable suede. You can even opt for a general soap and a cloth but avoid a brush because of its brittles,” he said.
Lenon Manyau from DK Mannequins fashion store said the suede is natural or dyed leather that has a napped or fuzzy finish.
He said when buying such shoes, one might need to understand choice of colours.
Dark colours are good for those that commute to work or use public transport.
“Colours matter most on gentlemen shoes. Most men have black shoes for formal wear. With the nubuck suede, you just need to pick the right colour which suits your environment. It is true that we shouldn’t be so quick to judge people who wear bright or colourful shoes but with this type it is different,” he said.
Manyau said he works with a colleague who pays great attention to style when it comes to footwear.
“My workmate is known for keeping his nubuck suede shoes in impeccable condition. He moves around with a damp cloth in his pocket and each time the shoe has dust particles, he cleans it. You need to clean them very well, otherwise you might end up ruining them.
“You also need to have a good brush with fine fibres,” he said.
A Bulawayo Polytechnic student, Wesley Shasha, said he loves wearing nubuck because of its comfort and heel height.
“I have two pairs: navy blue and brown. The shoes are very comfortable and most of them have no shoelaces which makes them easy to wear. I also admire the heel material they are made of.
“The heel is a strong rubber and you can run, walk, dance and even cross a muddy place with them,” he said.
When it comes to shoes, the heel height matters.
Fashionista Lee Madyara, affectionately known as Hollywood Lee, said when it comes to heel height, men choose low cuts but they should not appear like they are going for ballroom dancing.
“I prefer to see men wearing clean classy black shoes which mostly match the belt.
“However, with the current trend of the brogue and nubuck shoes, the chipped and toned style is the way to go,” she said.
She said they have been getting calls from men asking to be styled especially the part of the nubuck shoes wave.
“This type of shoes can be worn with anything. There are many men who are conscious about what they wear.
“I also help with styling most guys especially at events because it is now the battle of who wears it better,” she explained.