Shoe designers have a point to make

09/30/2013 12:00 AM

09/29/2013 10:18 AM

I’ve known many shoes in my day, but a pair of coral-colored calf hair mules with kitten heels and an exquisitely pointed toe remains my all-time favorite.

I wore them everywhere for several years. I loved their color. I loved their texture. I loved that I’d gotten them from a huge sale at Banana Republic and no one else I know had a pair like them. Most of all, I loved them because they made my legs look longer and my feet look especially slender.

Even on fat days – often brought on by a Chinese food binge – at least my feet looked svelte.

And then, like too many good things, my coral shoes wore out. They started balding, though I refused to acknowledge that fact until a well-meaning and very fashionable friend pointed to bare spots. Moths? Mice? Old age? Get rid of those shoes, she said. Unable to do a combover, I retired them.

I tell you this because after several seasons of rounded-toe shoes, skinny shoes are back in all formats.

“Toe shape works the same way that necklines work: A V-neck is more flattering than a round neck. The same holds true for the shapes of toes,” says Gregg Andrews, fashion creative director for Nordstrom stores.

“What a pointed-toe shoe can do for a woman’s leg is really tremendous because it does elongate the leg,” he says. “It works for women of any age and any figure. You can do it from a very high stiletto to a kitten heel to a flat.”

For some shoppers trying on shoes, the sight of pointy toes may be jarring.

“You have to remember that shoes are designed to be seen from the outside profile and from somebody looking at you from head on,” Andrews says. “You’re going to look down and go, ‘Oh, my God, what is that thing on the end of my foot?’ But shoes aren’t designed to be seen from your vantage point.”

And if you can buy only one pair of pointed-toe shoes this season, go for a pump, which is the ultimate in versatility.

“You can wear it with jeans, you can wear it with a pencil skirt, you can wear it with a fit and flare dress,” Andrews says. “There’s something about the femininity of a pointed-toe pump that works with almost everything. You could throw on a leather biker jacket and some jeans and throw on a pump and you automatically have this juxtaposition that’s really stylish. You can throw it on with a very feminine dress and it just heightens femininity. … There’s a reason why it’s considered classic. It’s a very clean line. They tend to have that slimmer heel, which tends to be really flattering to the back of the calf.”

Now let’s go shopping.

• Pointy Mary Jane. A grown-up twist on the schoolgirl classic, the Agalia Patent Bow Mary Jane Pump by Isaac Mizrahi New York is $135 at and at

• Pointy bootie. The Marshha Bootie from Steven by Steve Madden in cozy burgundy nubuck is $168.95 at

• Pointy pump. The Academy Colorblock Point Toe Pump by Reed Krakoff features patent, smooth and grained leather for texture and is a real splurge. $595 at

• Pointy flat. Black patent leather with an eye-catching metallic cap, the Paxton Flat by Michael Kors is $134.95 at and at

• Pointy, pointy flat. Made to resemble a patent leather taxi, the Go Taxi pointed-toe flat from Kate Spade New York is great for a woman on the go. Price: $278 at, or

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