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Step into summer
7:00am Saturday 26th May 2012 in NewsXtra
Step into summer with some new footwear. Lisa Haynes looks at the hottest styles of the season.
By Lisa Haynes.
It's fair to say 'the' shoe of the year so far has been the wellington boot.
Usually reserved for festivals, the humble wellie has enjoyed an extended period of wear thanks to Britain's recent non-stop downpours.
But if, like the rain, your big boots have outstayed their welcome then it's time to enhance your summer wardrobe with a footwear fix.
It's not just about traditional tan sandals this year. From the new 'flatform' through to Olympic-inspired footwear, shoes are taking fashionable steps into new territory.
Olympic standards No need for Union Jack novelty footwear to acknowledge the London 2012 Olympics hype. Channel the Olympians and step up to the summer podium with medal-inspired shoes instead.
Bronze, silver and gold are the footwear colours of the season and the shiny shades are versatile enough to go with the majority of your spring/summer wardrobe.
Metallic shoes come in all forms, from towering wedges high enough to pole vault in, to flat sandals suitable for power walking on the pier.
Add extra sparkle to your look with glitter-embellished styles.
Flatform fever Stand back wedges, there's a new shoe on the block.
Meet the flatform - a cross between a wedge and a flat where the raised platform is virtually the same height from heel to toe.
Their architecture makes them undoubtedly one of the comfiest styles of the season.
Opt for strappy sandal styles for a variation on traditional flats, or try a closed toe if you're not a fan of flaunting your feet.
As flatforms are trend-led, keep things interesting with a metallic snakeskin or even a glittery contrast heel. Who said flats had to be boring?
Colour blocker Brights are big in our wardrobes this year and eye-popping hues have extended to our shoe cupboards.
While brave fashionistas will be stepping out in flashes of neon, primary colours can make just as much of an impact.
Either opt for a single bold shade or try the rainbow approach of clashing colours together on one pair of shoes. Just ensure you keep the basic shape simple and graphic enough to allow the colour to 'pop'.
Even heels have undergone a colour blocking makeover, so opt for a chunkier platform to make a statement as you strut.
Ladylike hike After years of clumping around in chunky soles and statement heels, girly shoes are back with bells (and bows) on.
With their dainty stiletto heels, pastel shades and metallic toes, Louis Vuitton's Merry-Go-Round heels have made ladylike cool again. Add Kate Middleton to the court shoe equation and it's a feminine takeover on the shoe shelves.
Look for sleek shapes, pointy toes and delicate straps to stay on trend and you can go to town on prints, bows or embellishments to up the girly elements.
For the final authentic ladylike touch, find super-skinny heels - just remember to watch out for drains!
Cool runnings Back in 2012 Olympics mode, kit your feet out with this summer's prevalent athletics aesthetic.
Concealed wedge trainers are one of fashion's greatest inventions since David Beckham's H&M underwear campaigns, adding height but being comfortable enough to sprint for the bus.
Keep things fresh, summery and less obviously gym-kit with a pale or pastel pair.
You may not win any medals for speed but you can still do sporty in slinky heels. Look for mesh panels, cut-out details, grip soles or sporty bright shades.
Full bloom Take inspiration from RHS Chelsea Flower Show and inject some flower power into your summer footwear.
Botanicals have bloomed onto pumps, wedges and sandals to prettify your feet.
Try dainty digital floral buds or more obvious graphic bold blossoms - the bigger the surface area, such as wedges, the bigger the print impact.
Go full bloom and experiment clashing petal-inspired shoes with floral outfits.
For tactile florals that look good enough to sniff, try the 3D approach. Look for shoes with embellished buds intertwined on straps or bloom-like corsages.
Get the look Denise Van Outen is flying high in the fashion stakes with her printed frock. Steal her style with Marks & Spencer's Limited Collection pleated hummingbird dress, £37.50 (0845 302 1234).
Buy it now Ensure your envelopes are uber-stylish this summer with Royal Mail's Great British Fashion Collection stamps. From Vivienne Westwood to Ossie Clark, the stamps showcase the work of our Great British designers over the past six decades. Pack of 10 stamp set, £6 (www.royalmail.com/fashion).
Fashion flash :: Van plan Best of British brand Cath Kidston is going to town on the Jubilee celebrations... near you. To mark the summer of events, a Cath Kidston van is embarking on a UK tour to spread some fashion cheer with face painting, temporary tattoos and a mini shop of best sellers and GB-focused limited editions. All visitors wearing their Cath Kidston favourites will receive a limited edition 'CK on tour 2012' fabric wristband and be given the opportunity to win a £1000 shopping spree. For nationwide dates visit www.cathkidston.co.uk/t-events.aspx :: Swatch 'N' shop Ever wanted to find out where a stranger's floral blazer came from but were too afraid to ask? Or find a perfect match to the skirt your colleague's wearing? The updated eBay Fashion app for iPhone (free download) ensures your fashion must-haves are never out of reach. The new Image Swatch technology means shoppers can use their smartphone to snap the coveted piece of a friend and find items that have a matching colour or pattern on eBay. From designer to vintage, the eBay Image Swatch finds fashion that matches the user's style inspirations.