When I first start my lolita fashion journey, the part that I struggled with the most was shoes. I knew that classic lolita was the substyle that spoke to me the most. Classic and gothic lolita are the styles that work best with “normie” or “loliable” shoes, but I had trouble understanding what shoes worked and what shoes didn’t. Most guides will explain that “pointy toed” shoes don’t work in lolita or to simple stick with tea party shoes. I really hate tea party shoes, so I knew that advice wouldn’t work for me. So I ordered a few fairs of shoes secondhand from Axes Femme.
Immediately, I knew I’d made a mistake. Shipping for shoes from Japan is expensive because of their weight, so even a $10 pair of shoes becomes a $30 pair of shoes when you factor in shipping. Enough though these shoes were inexpensive and listed as damaged, it was clear that they were not going to hold up to anything more than taking pictures. The pleather body of the shoe was flaking and there’s really no good way to repair this sort of damage. This damage was most apparent at the creases in the shoe, particularly where my toes bent and flexed.
This was a painful, expensive lesson to learn. While these shoes weren’t very expensive, they were an early investment in my lolita wardrobe that didn’t pay off for me. I held onto my damaged shoes for much longer than I should have because I was hoping I would find a way to use them.
I ultimately phased these damaged shoes out of my wardrobe and started investing in leather shoes from Fluevog, American Duchess, and other western companies. It took me time to develop a sense of style and determine what shoes would work for my wardrobe. I’m now confident in picking shoes that work well for my classic wardrobe from brands outside the lolita world. It is harder to find western shoes with cute elements like those from lolita brands or brands like Axes Femme, but these shoes have lasted longer. Frankly, they look good for longer because the leather doesn’t start flaking the way that pleather shoes did.
So this pair of Axes Femme booties is all that remains of my attempt to incorporate Japanese footwear. I’ll keep them and wear them until they wear out but after that, I won’t replace them.