Marian Keyes on her shoe fetish, bunions and fear of pedicures

The bestselling author says her days of high heels may be over but she’ll never resort to trainers.
Marian Keyes on her shoe fetish, bunions and fear of pedicures

By Hannah Stephenson, PA

Bestselling Irish novelist Marian Keyes has covered all kinds of addictions in her books over the years, but one of her few cravings these days is shoes.

In her latest book, Again, Rachel, the sequel to her bestselling novel Rachel’s Holiday, her eponymous heroine has a particular fondness for trainers, buying numerous pairs at a time.

Keyes, 58, who lives near Dublin with her husband Tony Baines, admits that she also has a shoe fetish, but yearns for pretty, sparkly types rather than practical flats.

Like your fictional character, do you wear trainers?

“No. I’m living vicariously through her because she’s tall. I’m really short and I can’t wear trainers because I’m too low to the ground and I’m not able to go with it. I’m so envious of people in trainers. It gives you so much comfort and freedom and you’re still really cool.

“I have ‘exercise-y’ trainers. I once ordered a pair of Balenciaga ones in pale blue. They were so delicious but I felt like I’d had my feet sawn off. I was just too close to the floor. I’m 5ft 1 and I need some sort of elevation. So I had to send them back, after thinking they would be my salvation.”

What size shoe are you?

“I’m a 35 [EU size]. That’s a 2 [UK and Ireland]. It’s terrible in the sales because they hardly order any 35s and sell out immediately. I live with insoles. I am queen of the insoles, sometimes two pairs. There’s nothing good about it.”

What are your favourite styles?

“I like clompy boots, with a bit of bounce in them. I have a pair by Uggs which are pink and fluffy and have a two-and-a-half-inch platform.

They are bright pink and open-toed but are like slippers and I see the cool girls wearing them with socks. I haven’t been able to leave the house in them yet but I’m thinking I might. I thought that I could get away with them in the summer and liked the fluffiness and fun.”

Heels or flats?

“Mid heels. I haven’t owned a pair of flats in about 40 years. At this stage I prefer blocky heels. I was struggling a bit before the pandemic but I don’t think I’ll ever be in a pair of stilettos again. I feel like I’d need crutches to be able to stand up in them.”

What’s your favourite recent purchase?

“I bought some silver sandals from Clarks and I love them. They are the perfect height and they are so comfortable because they have that Clarks’ bounce in the sole. And they have a bit of a platform so there’s no awful slope on the foot. They’re the winners.”

Do you have any designer shoes in your cupboard?

“Yes. I have a beautiful pair of black Malone Souliers stilettos, which are really elegant, but I don’t think I’ll ever be able to wear them again. I’ve had them since 2016.

“My mother bought me a beautiful pair of purple suede Manolos about 10 years ago which cost about 400 Euros (£338), but they are timeless. They are stilettos but they are unusual in that they are very comfortable.

“I think Manolos are made with love for the person who’s going to be wearing them. I have bunions now and I haven’t tried them on in a while, but I feel they would be kind and soft around the sore bits of my feet. If a person was going to spend money on expensive shoes, I’d recommend them.”

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Would you have treatment for bunions?

“My sister had hers done and she said that they’ve come back so not to bother.”

How do you feel about pedicures?

“I’m always mortified revealing my feet to the lady. I always say, ‘Brace yourself. These’ll be the worst feet you’ve ever seen’ and they say, ‘No, I’ve seen it all’ and then they see my feet and they say, ‘Jesus, yes…’

“One of my ex-boyfriends said to me that you can strike a match on the sole of my feet – and he was right. My feet are awful. I love to have a pedicure because it takes the awfulness out of them for a while. But I hardly ever have them. Maybe just at the beginning of summer.”

Do you apply any foot cream?

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“I keep buying those creams that have got 10% urea in them and promising that I’ll apply them regularly but I don’t.”

Again, Rachel by Marian Keyes is published by Michael Joseph. Available now.

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