The above headline translates: "shoes have more value than money".  There might be some truth in that.  

Meanwhile, I just love shoes, Spanish styled shoes from Elche even better. Style articles in magazines showed beautiful lines and smooth cut.  It was the high-end styles of glossy magazines.  Everybody knew what that meant, the craftsmanship and look were impeccable.

It was quite a challenge to find a particular sets of designs in more wearabl styles, periodically, some years.  The import of European shoes, Spanish shoes were quite limited in those days but when you were able to get them, they fitted superbly.

Whether the Spanish shoes were from Elche, we had no way to tell, but since Elche was the capital of shoe production in Spain, I'd venture a guess that it was the Elche area that had produced such a delightful shoe and style experience. Shoes and style, yes, they go together beautifully. Back in the good old days pre-2000, I would have at least 30 pairs of shoes, and counting.

Shoes for work, shoes for after work,  shoes for the weekend, killer high-heeled stilettos… some were still in the pristine shoe-boxes, just waiting for some occasion to wear them.  Back then, you were at the mercy of whatever shops had in stock.  

We are inundated with articles as to where to buy shoes, handbags, clothes, make-up, lingerie.  Mail-order was available but to be honest that never worked for me. The styles and the fine detail were not there, and I'd always like to see something, a 100%, twirl it round, feel the quality, the minute stitches, the give, in a store and try it on - if I had the wrong style I would see in a minute.

In Elche there are lots of choice, price, colour and style, a kaleidoscope of everything - how much time have you got? 

Hong Kong shoe shop, snakeskin, suede, patent leather, style, stilettos, ballet-flats, jutti-shoes, jelly-shoes, kitten heel, platform-shoes, court-shoes, mules, ankle-wrap

Shopping was a pleasure, as there are markets, shops, high-end stores, where styles were sometimes kooky & quirky but it worked beautifully when you wear them. When you buy online, you take your chances of style, colour, comfort.

Custom made shoes were unheard of in NZ or Australia , so the only solution to widening the variety style and range was to board a plane and go somewhere else. The photo to the right is me coming out of a shoe store in Hong Kong.  Not finding exactly what i wanted, the proprietor boldly stated, "let me draw what you want and we'll make it for you".  I beg your pardon?

He sketched out what I described, and then asked about the colours.  Before I knew it he dashed behind the counter wall and emerged with a dozen rolls of coloured leather... so I chose the exact colours.  The shoes were made in two days, at a cost less than a standard pair off the rack in Sydney.

Being slightly older now has curbed my love of shoes… ever so slightly. Didn’t get a chance to go shoe-shopping after Christmas - bummer.  But, never fear...
Because we’re close to Elche, the home of shoes, shoes, shoes – there’s always a bargain to be had, at whatever time you visit.  Why?

Spain elche museum of Footwear Pikolino suede leather, applique, high upper front jutti shoes
elche museum of Footwear Pikolino suede leather shoe-making machine manufacturing process

Elche is historically renowned in European and international shoe markets for the high quality and fine styles.  We decided to have a trawl around two major outlets in Elche; the shoe capital of Spain.

First it was to a sizeable outlet for footwear to the east side of town of Elche.  There was a museum dedicated to the making of shoes, part of the showcase of the same management, which was fascinating. 

I didn’t realise that those multi-coloured espadrilles that you wear in summer, the ones with rope soles - the soles of which are made from palm fronds.  Elche … palm fronds! Ah-ha. The museum was an interesting diversion to learn about the fascinating art of shoe-making.

But, it’s the retail outlet we’re after – what every woman, girl, even men and boys want to hear – very large factory store and plenty to choose from…. the prices were reasonable as well; stacks and stacks of shoes, thigh-high boots were very nice indeed (drool).

Next, we visited the largest shoe/footwear factory outlet in the whole of Europe; on the western side of Elche.  They even have tour buses visiting the factory daily – can it be true?  .. just down the road quite close to us,  what any girl/woman would give her eye-teeth for?  It is like going into an Aladdin’s cave full of treasures.  

They have premises covering 30,000 m2, of which 6,000 m2 are industrial premises and 2,200 m2 are for displaying their products:  ladies shoes, stilettos, flats, boots,  platformed espadrilles, slingbacks, open-toe sandals, wedges, wedding-ensemble shoes in all colours….  and many more.  

Bewildering array of colour and styles.  Of course mens and childrens styles as well, in their huge space they call their showroom – friendly staff and different sections displaying different footwear as well as belts, bags and accessories.  It would take me a month or two of Sundays to shop here… very reasonable prices as you can see….
Even if you would prefer to purchase shoes/footwear from a normal shoe store, rather than from a factory outlet, there are many many stores in Elche that one can purchase very good pairs of shoes at more than reasonable prices.  Even the Saturday and Monday market in Santa Pola have some cracking bargains.

Wow, all this window-shopping (will have to go again to BOTH outlets!… to see if they have more SALES…) makes me yearn for coffee and cake.