by Dawn Smith

Every girl dreams of being a ballerina – until they get their feet crushed dancing in those shoes. No doubt that’s why the ballerina-pump shoe is a perennial favourite. It’s a style that keeps coming back into fashion, offering girls the chance to trip around looking dainty (if not quite as elegant as Darcy Bussel) while revelling in feet-hugging comfort rather than toe-cringing pain. But there has always been a drawback to pretty little pumps. Even the last time they were in vogue, back in the 1990s, I was slightly too far away from my teens to be skipping about in shoes with little bows on the front (not that it stopped me). This time around, it’s just not on.  I stand in front of the racks full of pink ballerina pumps and sigh, because as a grown up woman I need something a bit more… well, grown up.

Thank you, thank you, Clarks. The Amulet Magic ballerina style court shoe is just what a big girl needs. It’s based on the ballerina pump with a pointed heel and decorative bow on the front, but it’s a grown up court shoe with quality kid suede upper, stud trim and a metallic heel. The bow looks grown up too. This shoe is feminine, pretty, but not too sweet: it’s as close to a girly pump as you can get while having something on your feet you can wear to the office.

I chose to try out the black suede version (it also comes in mushroom suede – that’s beige, if you’re a bloke). As I lifted the shoes out of their tissue paper, I knew instantly that Clarks were onto a winner with these creations. Sleek, swish, elegant, I could wear them to meetings under a sharp suit, out to lunch under a sharp dress, away for the weekend under my smart-casuals, or as fabulous foot-bling under a little black cocktail dress. In all circumstances, thanks to the serious style of these shoes, I would be taken seriously. But they also had that young-at heart frivolity I had been yearning for. I stroked the black suede with a gleam in my eye, knowing that I was going to be tripping around daintily in these little numbers when nobody was watching.

The shoes had passed the style test with flying colours, but what were they like to wear? As I slipped them onto my feet I realised that Clarks had not only produced a shoe that looks like a grown-up pump, but also feels like a shoe to be reckoned with. While oozing comfort, caressing my toes and soles from the bottom up, they also enclosed my feet securely. As I walked around the kitchen (resisting the urge to skip, for the moment), I got to understand the most important difference between these big girl’s shoes and the frippery of my dreams. The pink-bowed pumps I’d left in the boutique had been flopping off my feet after two steps when I’d tried them on, whereas the Clarks Amulet Magics were as supportive and sturdy as any good court shoes. The pink frippery pumps had felt as insubstantial as slippers, with my feet suffering every lump on the ground and every degree of coldness of the floor, but the Amulet Magics were solid, their soles and half-inch heels keeping me far enough from the floor to be comfortable. I smiled as I realised that I could do some serious walking in these shoes, and some serious driving too (attempting to drive in the pink pumps would have been lethal).

Over the next few weeks, I tested the Amulet Magic court shoes around town and found them just as comfortable and practical as they’d promised to be. But they added a spring to my step that only comes from knowing I’ve got serious bling at the bottom of my ankles.

When I did my homework on the shoes, I discovered that their comfort and walkability comes from a resin rubber sole combined with the Clarks Plus technology. Clarks Plus shoes are designed to cushion the whole foot, especially underneath the big toe joint, releasing pressure on your foot and enhancing comfort. According to Clarks, the Plus technology “cleverly cushions without compromising style”. After a couple of weeks of testing my Amulet Magics on the city streets, feeling light on my feet, swathed in bows but perfectly comfortable, I am not going to argue with that.

Amulet Magic – product details
Trade price: £29.99 – RRP: £59.99
Upper Material Suede
Lining Material Synthetic
Heel Height 1/2 inch
Sole Material Resin Rubber
Fastening Type None
Removable Insole No
Trims Bow, Metal Trim

Amulet Magic is a versatile style of women’s shoes that you can wear anywhere, or at any time. They update the popular ballerina style with an on-trend pointed toe and stud trims; complete with premium black kid suede upper. The bow and metallic heel add extra attention to detail, while Clarks Plus technology always delivers the ultimate in comfort.