New shoe brand discovery: Punkawala

A few weeks ago a brand I hadn’t heard of before got in touch and asked if I fancied road-testing their shoes. So that was nice! The brand was Punkawala, and it makes shoes inspired by travels in India, but created right here in London. There are only four designs available at the moment but I think that’s great: by keeping things simple and offering a variety of colour options you’re more likely to get it right first time as a small new business. And get it right they certainly have.

Punka boots, £37.50, (socks by Stance)

The style I tried out are the ‘Punka’ (above) – a mega-lightweight desert boot with a colourful rubber sole. Regular readers of this blog and my books will know I am a huge fan of desert boots so this aesthetic really appealed to me (just add turned up jeans and a Fred Perry and you’re good to go). Mine are brown suede with an orange sole but you can get them in eight different colour combinations. I admit, it took me AGES to decide which option I wanted!

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Chukka boots, £41.25,

Also available are the ‘Chukka’ (very similar to the Punka but higher on the ankle, above), the ‘Dance’ (a slipper style and a  alternative to your espadrilles this summer, below) and the ‘Beat’ (a Chelsea boot) – the latter two styles both have coordinating coloured elastic gussets to match that bright rubber sole, and the lace-ups have matching laces, too. I like that kind of attention to detail. All are available in eight colour combos so be prepared to spend a lot of time scratching your head!

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Dance shoes (middle), £31.24,

Anyway, back to that road test because I’m sure you’re dying to know how I got on. From the second I put them on my feet I knew it was love. These are some SERIOUSLY comfortable shoes. Honestly, it felt like wearing slippers. Only better. They remind me of the jazz shoes that I used to wear for dance classes because the sole is so flexible. In fact, I think I could easily do a dance class wearing them! They’ll certainly come in handy for dancing to Northern Soul at this August’s Isle of Wight scooter rally (desert boots are virtually mandatory for attendance). They’re not the sort of shoes I’ll be wearing for long walks with the dog (they don’t offer masses of support), and I have sprayed them to protect the suede from the elements, but as a lightweight summer shoe when you live in a country that’s not always sunny in the summer, I really don’t think you could do much better.

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Oh and I forgot to mention the best bit! They’re less than fifty quid! The Punka and Dance styles are actually less than forty pounds. Remember I said it would take you ages to decide which pair to buy? Maybe you could even stretch to treating yourself to two pairs…


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