Okay, this is as much a post of excitement and *glee!* as a "review," but I wanted to show you my new Fugawee shoes, and talk a bit about them.
I've held off getting proper 18th c. style shoes for WAY too long. I tried passing off my standard mary jane dance shoes, tying bows around the straps and whatnot, but they were just...not...right...ever. So I gave in, made the investment, and got proper shoes.
I ordered Fugawee's "Connie" shoes in "rough," or suede-side out. When they say rough, they mean it - the suede is not what we would consider high grade suede, and it's the only thing about the shoes that I'm not absolutely thrilled with.
I ordered a size 6.5, based on the measurements Fugawee sent, after I wrote to them to ask for a sizing chart. Typically the sizes run the same as normal shoes you buy in the store. I could have worn a size 7, as the 6.5s are a bit tight, but I also understand that these shoes have to conform to your feet. They are straight-lasted, which means that there is no left and right shoe, so when you first put them on they are mighty uncomfortable, but after just a little bit of wear, they start to take shape. You don't notice at first until you try switching feet, then it becomes REALLY obvious that they're already taking left and right shape. I made a little "L" and "R" on the bottoms.
The really cool part is that you don't need to buy buckles right away. Fugawee included four velcro tabs that allow you to turn back the latchets (the straps) and form loops to tie a ribbon through. (you can also stitch down the latchets if you're anti-velcro) I love the look of big frou-frou bows anyhow, so this worked out perfectly. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to wear them without buckles, so problem solved!
To help them conform to my feet, I put them on with wet socks, and also sprayed the exteriors with water. It did not discolor or spot the suede at all, but helps it stretch. "Leather stretch" from the shoe department would also work, and I may give that a try. However, after only 4 or 5 hours of wear - some walking about, sitting around, etc. - they've stretched quite a bit and are pretty darn comfortable. I imagine these shoes will become a second skin, and be perfect for, well, just about everything!
The shoes are engineered wonderfully. They are very attractive to look at, and just high enough in the heel to make for a graceful look on the foot. There is no question these are 18th c. style shoes, but I would not be hesitant to wear them with a modern dress too. Depending on the decoration, you could also use them for other periods - I fully plan to wear them with the 1660 gunmetal gown, and I've seen others wear them with victorian outfits, and I imagine they could also be used for Elizabethan if you dress them right.
All-in-all, I highly recommend these shoes for anyone dressing in costume on a regular basis. They are very comfortable, super versatile, and well-crafted. Worth the money, for sure. Here is the link to Fugawee's website, and also the link to Ladies' Colonial shoes:
Fugawee Home Page
Fugawee Ladies' Colonial Shoes