Hello, and happy July! We have made it to the seventh month of 2017, and time has whizzed past (I feel like that’s a really cliche thing to say, but it’s true). I was looking back at my first post this year, “17 Things I’d Like To Do In 2017“, to see how much I have accomplished and I can safely say that I haven’t even accomplished half of what I wanted to. Anyway, last month I decided to start a series called “Online Shopping Guide“. It began when I came across Raru, an absolute gem on the Internet. I wrote about my experience with Raru, the quality of my purchase, and whether or not you should spend your money with them (read here). They offer a huge variety of products on their website and cater to pretty much every single type of customer. However, the online store that I am going to talk about this time around has one sole purpose- selling shoes (pun intended).
That Shoe Lady isn’t a new name in South Africa, they have been around for a while now. What makes them special is that their shoes aren’t like anything I have ever seen in any average shoe shop here . They are extravagant and unique, and I am always in awe when scrolling through the creative designs. They found a gap in the market for comfortable, durable and amazing shoes, and now they have filled it with (currently) four legendary names: T.U.K, Dr. Martens, Jeffery Campbell and Swedish Hasbeens. TSL are currently the only stockist of these brands in South Africa that I know of with such large variety of options (besides Edgars, who have a very limited collection of Dr. Martens).
For years I have waited for the day that I could order pair of Litas, just for the heck of it because I don’t think I could ever really get used to walking on a platform as high as that (respect to the women and men who get that right). That time hasn’t come (yet), but I did get to order something else from them: VEGAN Dr. Martens. Yes, vegan. We’ll get to that later though, for now we will talk about my experience shopping with TSL.
This wasn’t actually the first time that I had ordered something from them, earlier this year I ordered a pair of kitty stockings for almost R200. The website is very easy to browse through, with clear pictures of each of the items. Like I said, they have a wide variety of shoes, but not always in a wide variety of sizes (as you can see from the picture). This is understandable though because their products are imported, and one has to wait until they receive more. Luckily, they had a size 4 in these when I ordered them. Something else that might scare people away from ordering off of TSL are the prices. They are high. Like, really high (the prices, not the people). Personally, I think that you are paying for quality when it comes to Dr. Martens. There are so many brands that have prices in the thousands, but they are truly not worth it. I tried comparing the prices of TSL Dr. Martens to Edgars’, but it’s really hard to tell if they are the exact same shoe. However, Edgars does appear to be cheaper or have cheaper options.
I suppose now would be a good time to tell you that the Dr. Martens I ordered are not mine. In fact, it was my mother who asked me to order them (to resurrect her plastic punk, 80s teenager self). She was very specific about the style she wanted, which was identical to the style she had years ago, and there happened to be a leather pair and a vegan pair in that same style. After much thought, she chose the vegan pair over the leather pair (that may have had a little to do with me, but they didn’t have her size in the leather pair anyway). I ordered them for her on a Thursday, before she went away for the weekend. We didn’t expect them to arrive until the following week, although she really did want them for her trip. Surprisingly, they arrived a day or two later (I don’t remember if it was the Friday or the Saturday, but she had them in time for her trip). Keep in mind that I live in Cape Town, which is where TSL is situated. The shoes didn’t arrive in an original Dr. Martens box. Instead, they were neatly placed in a crafty box with a personalized note.
Both of my experiences with That Shoe Lady have been positive. Their service is quick, and their products are authentic and stunning! The store definitely caters to those who are willing to spend R1000+ on shoes. If you’re into cute pairs of socks, they’re also your store.
So, I guess this is going to be a bit of a “mom” review from now on, as the shoes are actually hers (although, you know, we are the same size) and she can truly compare the new vegan boots to the leather ones from 30-odd years ago.
Firstly, they look the same. There is no real visible difference between the smooth, black leather shoes and the vegan ones besides the vegan ones having a creamy, yellow tag and the non-vegan ones having a black tag. I actually like the look of the yellow with the black shoe, especially the stitching, but some don’t. These ones are very smooth and have 16 eyes (the holes to put the laces through). Classic. According to a few sources these 100% synthetic leather, black vegan Dr. Martens are made of a material called “felix rub off“. I have no idea what that is, all I know is that there are no animal products or organs (i.e. skin) used to manufacture these.
According to mom, these ones are much softer than the leather Dr. Martens and take less time to wear in. However, they are still uncomfortable in the beginning, like all Dr. Martens. She did mention that the vegan ones feel less sturdy than the leather ones, with less support at the back. This was a bit of a downside, as she said it made it slightly more difficult to walk in. The word “supple” was used to describe the way that they feel. One can easily brush dirt off of the shoes and water does not get inside.
When these arrived, I didn’t expect much of a reaction from myself. I always thought that Dr. Martens were a bit too much for me. However, they are stunning in real life. They look the same as in the picture, but there is just something special about holding a pair in your hands. I definitely want to order a pair for myself some day! I did ask my mom if she prefers the leather ones to the vegan ones, and she said “yes“. It’s a mental thing, she said. In her mind, the leather ones seem to be stronger and more durable. However, we cannot prove that just yet because she’s only had these for nearly one month. So far, so good, though. I think that she is just so proud of her new shoes (I recall my mother asking for a pair of these for years) that she is afraid of ruining them. That’s understandable, considering the fact that she spent a whopping R2909,00 on them, including shipping! I will consider updating this post in the next few months to observe the wear and durability of these shoes.
As a side note: I am not vegan, although I would love to be, and admire those who are. I just don’t believe in using animals for vanity. I didn’t force my mom to choose vegan shoes over leather shoes (I was ready to order leather ones because, you know, it’s her money), she made that decision by herself. Wherever possible, I recommend choosing the cruelty-free/vegan route.
Have you ever ordered something from That Shoe Lady?
If you would like to see more of my Online Shopping Guide, click here.