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You don’t expect the Steampunk Workshop to have an opinion on women’s shoes, but then rather a lot of people don’t expect me to have an opinion on women’s shoes, so I’m not about to complain if they weigh in on the subject. Besides, the contrast between wholly up-to-date and totally retro is what makes steampunk work in the first place, and finding actual vintage footwear can be tricky, says the Workshop’s Libby Bulloff:

It can be very difficult to acquire antique footwear that fits a modern foot — our predecessors often had shorter, narrower feet — or that hasn’t been worn to death. I am fortunate enough to own a pair of 1930s oxfords that fit my slender feet, a set of antique leather roller skates, and some killer scarlet pointy-toed punk boots from back in the day. However, if you’re not so lucky as to have a real vintage shoe collection, lots of modern shoes still nod at the past in their design (and fit bigger feet).

Open Up by NicoleOne example of such a modern shoe is “Open Up” by Nicole, seen here in a color called “Velvet Brown,” which for me immediately triggered the memory of Enid Bagnold’s 1935 novel National Velvet, a childhood favorite of mine. There’s also a gunmetal-grey version. It’s not quite a perfect replica of shoes gone by, from 1935 or elsewhere (elsewhen?) — there’s perhaps more of a dip along the sides of the upper than you might expect, and the heel stops at a modest two inches — but it works on its own terms, and for the moment, it’s on sale at Zappos, the price varying with the color chosen.

And if you don’t care for these, Bulloff will happily show you several other styles.

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