Ever been to Lagos, Nigeria? What was the first thing you noticed? Did you notice how fast everything moves, on four wheels, on four legs and most interestingly on two legs? Everybody walking fast with heads high, shoulders tall and neck straight, stepping in this strong aura of confidence, elegance and grace. On my first visit to Lagos I wondered what the secret was, how everybody moved so fast and yet still looked unstressed and happy as I noticed one thing most of these people had In common, they had beautiful feet.
Lagos is Nigeria’s biggest city, Nigerians were once said to be the happiest people on earth. Walk the street of Lagos and you won’t doubt that. Lagos displays boldly the rich cultural wealth of Nigeria, with over 225 Ethnic groups uniting in a colourful harmony. Nigerians has developed this identity as they proudly refer to the country as NAIJA, Everybody walking and talking ‘Naija’, smiling generously even under the worst situations.
Many people believe that your outward look has a lot to say about your inside, I also believe that too. At the mere look of these people’s feet you will smile at the beauty. Every foot telling its own unique story . Stories of where they are, where they‘ve been and where they are going to. The loudest footwear trend I noticed on most Nigerians feet (Guys & Ladies alike) were that of the palms. This stylish informal sandal-like footwear comes in different shapes, colours and sizes. Palms are simple, comfortable and most of the times flat. Mostly handmade and crafted at the local market by shoe makers using leather, can also be made with suede, might be decorated with beads, wood, cowries, feather, fur, fabric, twine, thatch Etc. or any other creative material of the creator’s choice. It can be in form of flip-flops but rarely as clogs.
This informal wear gives you the freedom to show off your toes (especially if you just did your nails), look simple and still look elegant.
Palms go with almost everything. Can go beautifully with a pair of jeans and a T- shirt/shirt .
Can also perfectly fit khaki shorts for an evening walk, highlighting your feet and your legs too. Palms are also worn with most traditional Nigerian wears. Palms originally were just men’s affair but now the trend knows no gender boundaries no more. Some are crafted with this delicate, girly, feminine touch. Well curved and shaped, decorated with flowers, beads etc.
Other stories apart from those of the palms are told too on the streets of Lagos, stories of the young, happy and sporty Nigerian youth on colourful snickers, canvas, converses and high tops shoes, and ladies stepping confidently on the soles of their gladiator sandals ( a sandal with ankle length or a-bit –above-the-ankle straps) stories of working class guys on the beautiful old classic leather formal shoes shining black, walking behind them are their working class lady friends with 6 inches high heel shoes, pip toes, wedges and block face shoes each reflecting the possessor feelings. The streets of Lagos, Nigeria has more than enough stories to tell of different days and occasions, of weddings, Sunday church services, parties and evening walks. Stories of elegant shoes, sandals, palms, bare feet and more. But the most interesting story is that every foot in Nigeria is beautiful. Every foot in Nigeria speaks and smiles just like its possessors.