Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Fantastic Footwear

Time for a pop quiz! (Just for fun, to get you thinking. No right answers, and, sadly, no prizes awarded.)

1. Name your main character's preferred shoes
a) leather wrapped and tied with thongs
b) silk dancing slippers
c) Hobbit feet
d) iron-reinforced heavy-duty knightly boots
e) no shoes
f) other

2.  What's the main difference between guy/girl shoes in your world?
a) size of the shoe (wrong answer!)
b) color (forest-green vs. lilac purple)
c) style (open-toe, high-heeled, boot, etc.)
d) function (fighting, dancing, etc.)
e) fabric (metal, leather, silk, "exotic" materials, etc.)
f) other

3. Your villain is shoe-shopping. What shoes does he/she buy?
a) the newly-released super-expensive black diamond Sultan Cushioned Supreme 2000x
b) iron studded Sauron armor boots with genuine flames on the sides
c) invisible ninja slippers
d) dragonscale-reinforced riding boots
e) sadistic fairy-dust shoes made for crushing and pounding, in style
f) other

4. So you've got a lot of fantastic creatures in your world. What's your most fantastic footwear option?
a) mer-fin slippers, especially good for swimming
b) dwarf-beard-hair woven shoes--practically indestructible
c) a glass slipper, excellent for dancing with Prince Charming
d) 100-league boots that cause extreme nausea, granted unwillingly by the Faerie Queen
e) chameleon shoes made from fibers that bend to look and feel exactly like the surroundings. By special order only.
f) other

Tally your score and...go write! :)

I hope that mini-quiz only served to spark your interest in your fantasy world's footwear. This is one of the most neglected elements when writing a fantasy world, so there's plenty of room to be original.

Your "exercise," if you'd like one, is to go back and look at a character description your wrote (whether in the story or in your notes) and include a description of the character's shoes. Is he/she wearing any? If so, what do they look like? What is their purpose? Use the ideas above, as well as the pictures below, as a launching pad for your dreaming.

Medieval Design Re-enactment Shoes

Medieval Design Re-enactment Shoes

Shoe Fleur: A Shoe Fantasy, by Michel Tcherevkoff


  1. Interesting. I did the quiz but couldn't tally as wasn't sure what each letter stood for point-wise. Footwear is something we don't think about often but very important in terms of our day to day.

    1. The quiz is just for fun, to get you thinking about footwear. There's not really a right answer, although I could probably try to come up with a mind-boggling psychology of human experience based on your answers ;)

      You're totally right--everyone wears shoes so much, yet we spend so little time thinking of them when writing! It's really important to start dreaming about shoes :)

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Fabulous topic! I mention my characters' shoes briefly, but you made me think about them in a much different way. It took me a surprising amount of time to answer all of these questions. I decided to answer from my main character, Ruark's POV.

    1) I suppose I'll answer with 'F'. I prefer simple black leather. No ties, no buckles. My boot should fit my foot like a glove and not hinder my movement in any way. I should be able to get up, pull them on, and go. I have more important things to worry about than my shoes, like freeing the magi children. Like me, they didn't asked to be born into this hard life.

    2)C,D, and usually E. Women wear slippers, unless they are out doors or riding, then they wear soft leather boots. Women are unimportant in my country. They are possessions. Their shoes, like themselves, are a direct reflection of the success of their Lord. My father's women always have baubles clanging from their shoes. You can hear them approaching long before you see them.

    3) Oh, Namur would definitely choose D. He covets the wyrm abilities. Having boots made out of a wyrm's scales would give him a sick satisfaction.

    4) 'F' A plain leather shoe cured in the blood of my mother's people that could disguise an orb of power.

    I thought this quiz was a ton of fun. It definitely made me think. Thanks for posting it!

    1. Ooh, I love your answers! How cool is that? Makes me want to read your story! Sounds like you can gather a lot about racial tensions and your fantasy world and character conflict just from talking about their shoes! Awesome :)

      I'm so glad you enjoyed it! And thanks for the comment!!

      P.S. I love the names! Namur is a great subtle semi-villainous one ;)

  3. Fantastic footwear! I love it. I'm afraid you're quite right. Out of all the garments and clothing accessories, footwear gets the least attention. It's definitely worth thinking about. Inadequate footwear can get your hero into a world of trouble, whereas the proper gear can help him escape the volcanic crater ere the villain's vile scheme comes to fruition! Or simply avoid blisters on his daily walk to town to buy bread and cheese. ;)

    1. It's a very good point that inadequate footwear can be a serious problem. I mean, really, who thinks about these things? (Besides JRR Tolkien. Because Hobbit-feet are awesome.)

      Still, I'm sure your MC'd be thinking really hard about some shoes if he got huge splinters during a crucial phase of the mission! Also great for avoiding blisters...well, my current favorite shoes still give me blisters, but I wear them. I wonder what that says about me? O.o

      Thanks for the comment, Gillian!


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Proverbs 15:1
"A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger."