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A man is as good as the shoe he wears


Mwanaume ni kiatu. Yes, get it from me. I am fascinated by men’s shoes. I believe a man is as good as the shoe he wears. The first thing I look for in a man, before even his neatly trimmed beard, puffed afro, or well-fitting Italian suit or size of wallet (Haha!), is his shoes.

Many men decisions in my life have been purely based on his shoes. A man without a proper shoe doesn’t stand a chance with me.

And my fascination with men’s shoes did not begin yesterday. In my mother’s house, there is a photo of a two-year-old girl with two tiny teeth peeping from her lower gum, wearing a pair of white shoes too big for her. They are her daddy’s shoes and that little girl is me. Family folklore records that my tiny feet were always in my father’s shoes, moments after he removed them. It didn’t matter if they were muddy or dusty. For some reason, I avoided my mum’s high heels or “perms” as we used to call them.

Oxfords, brogues, boot, Chelsea boot, loafers, Derby, wing tips, boat…. I can tell you a man’s personality just by looking at his shoe. If he likes to wear brogues with a suit, he is a carefree, risk taker who likes a challenge. If he wears Oxfords, he probably likes to play it safe and most likely too boring for me. The one who wears a proper boot with a suit is my kind of guy; bold, strong-minded and headstrong and is likely to take you hiking for a first date.

Which is why I cannot stand a man with a fake shoe. As I wait for my car to be washed, I am seated in front of a guy with very bad shoes; the kind you will find with most Nairobi men. A rubber shoe. Not sneakers, a pale, faded rubber shoe that probably cost him Sh2000. I am stealing glances and he thinks I am checking him out! Dream on, chap with cheap shoe. I thank Jesus that I will not be around when he finally takes it off in a few hours because I am sure those shoes will stink like a wet bison.


Every man worth his pair of cojones should invest in a good pair of shoes. Not the square-toed, crumpled-at-the-front, wrinkled shoes that retains lines of dust even after a thorough brush. Not the smelly, made-in-China loafers. Not the sharp-pointed shoe with a buckle at the tip that looks more like a weapon of destruction than a shoe. No, not even the fake leathers you buy from stalls along Kimathi Street.

I am talking about an investment. A proper shoe. I know only a handful of you can afford an original Salvatore Ferragamo so I will not bother you to punch above your weight.

But you can do better than the worn out, tired-of-carrying-you-and-your-stomach kind of shoe. How about a proper pair of Hush Puppies?  Clarks, maybe? A pair of Edward Greens? How about a pair of Marks and Spencer?

They will cost you an arm, a leg and a pound of flesh, I know. But trust me, it is worth every penny and effort. Women notice these things. We can tell a man by his shoes. We can tell a man that is serious with life and himself just by glancing at the shoe he wears.

There is no need to drive a sleek Mercedes and wear a cheap shoe. We understand these things and we give men with a good shoe the respect they deserve. This is because we know that a good shoe does not come cheap. And we know that a stylish man is known by his shoe.

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It was my birthday last Wednesday. I am quickly slipping out of the early twenties, into my mid-twenties, sliding fast into the late twenties, plunging into the thirties in a few years. All against my wish.

Which means that some of you think that I am getting too old to be referred to as a ‘girl’. And maybe I am outgrowing this column. I agree with all of you.

Last year, I wrote here that I would re-brand this page – if they still allow me this space – because a young woman cannot write about Blue Subarus, Shisha and Instagram for the rest of her life. I need to grow and hopefully my readers can grow with me.

So this year, my main resolution – besides finally finding a boyfriend – is to change this space into something bigger and better.

Oh, how old did I turn? I hear you ask.

Many women don’t reveal their age. But I am not like them. I won’t tell you the exact age, but I will tell you this, I still very young, I haven’t even had my first drink yet. And I am still too young to vote. How younger can I get?