Saturday, 13 October 2012

Dan Sullivan: Visionary Viper

You'll remember me working myself into a frenzy whenever I spied the 'Visionary Viper' boots from the special Dan Sullivan collection. I wanted them desperately! They launched last month and of course I snapped them up the second they hit the site (well after deliberating between the pink or black). I'm actually glad I got them as quick as I did because I cannot express enough how limited these are. Often there is only one pair in that size of that style and once I got the 38's, that size had gone and now there's only a 40 left in the pink.
The box is amazing and I suspect was a rather large fraction of the costing for these special shoes. It flips open and is really ginormous (I'm struggling to find room for it at the moment). The images on the box and sole are adorable.
The shoes were just as fabulous as I expected. They feel higher than I imagined, which is a good thing, because I thought the heel looked a little short. The bits and bobs inside are attached, so you don't get that jangling and slipping around of pieces when wearing them. They are covered in a strong see-through pvc and the inside of the boot is a nice soft fabric (I've found a lot of IC linings scratchy lately), with the adorable cat logo and 'Dan Sullivan' embroidered.
*please see update at bottom of post*
My only gripe and it's a rather big one, is that they are very painful to wear. I wanted them to be practical and to wear them all the time, but I have to be completely honest and tell it like it is! I told myself if they didn't fit I'd return them, even if it would be costly. I do fit them though and I absolutely dread to think how much it would cost to send these back as they are incredibly heavy, so it's not really an option for me.
To expand; the boot itself fits true to size and is very comfortable. It's the cute l'il dolly that is the issue. Although it's not 'rough' against your leg (obviously the boots are lined and there's polka dot fabric behind her too), but she imposes into the space designed for your ankle, so you are both battling for the same room. Obviously you need that area to have a little extra room for movement and to be comfortable, so your ankle can bend and move to walk. I never even considered before purchase that my legs and the dolly would maybe struggle to both fit together, it never entered my head (but then I'm not a footwear designer). The pain is excruciating, to the point that I can barely stand, the doll just seems to hit my ankle bone at exactly the wrong point. She nor my bones are flexible thus the agony. I don't know what to do about it. I tried them on again, re-lacing them in a different manner and this time with socks (for padding) and it felt a little better, my right foot was actually very bearable, but my left is struggling. I'm not sure if my bone or the doll is in a slightly different position, but it hurts, a lot! There's not a huge amount of room to work with i.e. for super thick, padded socks.
I'm so disappointed as like I said, I really wanted to get a lot of wear out of them. They are so fabulous, you just want to wear them everywhere and let everyone see them! It's also knocked the shine off my love and excitement for the boot, which I didn't want to happen. Don't get me wrong, I'm still crazy about them, there's just that disappointment, that I'm not going to get to wear them lots.
Any ideas on how to help the issue would be greatly appreciated. I tried lacing them up to just before the dolly and leaving the top few holes 'open' but it just looked awkward and bulky. So are they destined to become a super expensive ornament? Or is there something I could do to help? I'd be keen to know how the other people who bought them are getting on. I don't think it's my 'fat' legs that are the issue as I don't really consider my legs or ankles to be that fat (!), but maybe a slimmer leg would have more room (although I suspect they would still 'feel' the doll). I just wish this had been ironed out before they went into production as I feel it's a pretty big problem...but they're pretty special boots right?

*update 17th October* I emailed Irregular Choice earlier this week and received a very pleasant reply almost immediately.  I hadn't specified whether I wanted to return the boots (at that point I was still undecided between returning them which would cost around £25 or keeping them and trying to make them work), but I outlined the issues I had with the doll.  I was asked whether I wanted to return them or not (if I had, I would need to show photographic proof they hadn't been worn outdoors) and this was very good of them considering it was now outside the returns period (which I believe is 2 weeks).  They were willing to extend that for me as they didn't want me to be unhappy with my purchase.  My complaint about the position of the doll and discomfort it was causing was passed onto a senior member of staff.  They said they had sold a lot of this style and a member of staff has worn a pair all day to test them.  So I'm taking from that, nobody else was experiencing problems.  I decided to give them one last shot and tried them on again, with no socks or padding (but remember I'd re-laced them) and I was surprised that I was not only able to put weight on them and stand, but walk!  I'd been crippled when trying to do this before, it just wasn't happening.  I lasted a good 10 minutes in the boots, which would have been longer but a delivery man came and I had to quickly take them off, so as not to look like a lunatic in my jammies and boots!  I could still feel the doll, but the pain wasn't excruciating.  So, I'm prepared to try and make them work.  I think if I just keep trying them, a little bit at a time and also work out some sort of padding device, I could maybe be alright.  The re-lacing has obviously helped loads and I've left them reasonably loose in the top 3 or 4 holes to allow for movement.  I then felt rather silly that I'd complained about excruciating pain and a design fault when I decided to keep them.  I wanted them to know I still stood by my original complaint and that I wasn't just being super fussy, but I'm hopeful there's a way around it (when I wasn't at the start).  I really didn't want to take the doll out because she's the main focal point of the shoe and tampering with the boots in any way was scary stuff that could have left them worthless.  However IC have been really good about it and even asked if I wanted to stay in touch to let them know how I'm getting on.  Their emails felt like they genuinely understood my concerns and that they were passing the feedback on (unlike a certain high-profile shoe brand I experienced problems with before, who just fobbed off any complaints of genuine manufacturing faults). Soooo, hopefully you'll get to see these babies soon on The Shoe Girl Diaries and thank you for all your words of advice here and on Facebook x

24 comments :

  1. Oh no how disappointing :( I think I'd probably send them back as I'm sure they were super expensive I think the only way to stop the pain would be to add some padding to that area inside the shoe or find a way to take her out xx

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    1. I'm reluctant to attempt anything that may ruin the shoe, scary stuff! Think I'm going to try out various padding types!

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  2. The only thing I can think of is there a way to undo the stitching around the top of the boot & remove the doll? Then you could stick it back down or restitch & attach the doll with some sort of ribbon or chain maybe?
    It really sucks as You were so excited about them
    L x

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    1. I know it kinda took the shine off my excitement!

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  3. Or perhaps make a cut in the inside of the boot just big enough to take the doll out. Maybe At the side of her just underneath the lolly & the cakes so then thecut could be hidden by the other items?
    Then you could use some tape (the kind used for bandages, soft fabric stuff) to keep the cut together while you glue some soft material over the cut to prevent tearing & comfort issues.
    L x

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    1. I'm too scared to take scissors to something so expensive ; )

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  4. What lovely boots! It would be really sad to send them back but if they hurt that much I doubt they worth staying or not. It's really sad to see such unique boots with a design defect. Designers should try their shoes themselves before the producition! :) I didn't get these shoes so I'm not sure my option really works or not. Maybe get stick gel insole at the area inside boots behind the doll?

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    1. good idea, maybe those Compede thingies would work?

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  5. Can you shuffle the stuff about and wriggle the doll away from your ankle? I saw these boots on their emails and I must say I'm not a fan so I'd definitely be inclined to send them back!

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    1. No everything is stitched in place and doesn't move. I've loved them since the moment I saw them, months ago!

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  6. Crikey! Don't pull the doll out! If they are limited edition you would make them completely worthless. As much as you want to wear them you need to think of the long term investment too.

    I used to be a shoe designer and that is most obvious design flaw and I don't know what Danny Sullivan was thinking, it's obviously that if you put a rigid object where something needs to bend it just won't work.

    My suggestions are:
    1. You're not going to be able to move the doll. The only place that you can put that doll that won't stop your foot from moving is right on the quarter (back, heel) Padding it isn't going to work either, the lack of flexibility is what is causing the pain. I get this from new Dr Martens, but at least you know the leather will soften.

    2. Send them back and tell him his quality control department are daft and they should of made him change his design. Before they sell anything each product has to go through wear testing, where people have to wear the shoes to see if there is a problem. Over the years I have increasingly found Irregular Choice is going for design over function and this looks like another example.


    3. Do a bit of jiggery pokery with the laces. Either change the whole lace to elast'ic (though might not hold it on the bottom of your foot properly) or keep the lace 1/4 up the front of the boot and then the rest elastic don't lace the elastic too tight either. Might not work, but at least the elastic has give in it and will let your foot move. You can buy thin elastic in that colour.

    In my honest professional opinion you'll be lucky to find a solution that doesn't involve a refund.

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    1. thanks for all your suggestions Sarah. I've emailed Irregular Choice and will be updating this post.

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  7. Such a shame as they really are amazing boots.
    I think Sarah has given some great advice there, and as heartbreaking as it is I think they may have to go back :(

    Cath x

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    1. thank you, I know, they are so unique and gorgeous!

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  8. A totally non-blog related comment here...but i was reading your review on a makeup product (YSL Forever youth liberator serum)and discovered that we must be twins separated at birth! Minus the green hair of course :D Holler if you ever wondered how'd you look as a blonde!

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    1. Hi Minna, haha! Have you tried the YSL serum? I really liked it.

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  9. these are so awesome!!! for the price it sucks about the doll - i dont have any other suggestions but if it were me, i would keep them and email IC to see if anything could be done, such as the doll being took out professionally xx

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    1. thank you sweetie, yes have emailed them, will be updating this post with what happened.

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  10. D'awww! That really sucks, especially since they look sooo pretty!

    I'd get in touch with them ASAP and tell them about this, so that they don't make the same mistake twice. Or even, ask them to replace that doll with a much softer head or something like that. But I kinda doubt they would go through the trouble with such a request, especially to make them That much more exclusive, haha.

    And I wouldn't blame it on your legs, either. I believe that shoes are made to fit, no matter what (except when they run big or small. Even then, after sizing right, they fit right!). So your legs are nowhere in the equation ^_^

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    1. Hi Chris! Thank you! I'm hoping I can make them work with some padding and wear them soon!

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  11. Glad to read the update that they seem to be ok now. But just a legal matter if they are 'unfit for purpose' ie you cant physically wear them, they have to give you a refund even if they have been worn. Nice to hear they were helpful and I hope they are working for you as they are so cool x

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    1. yeah I'll hopefully be working them into an outfit soon x

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  12. Hi my husband recantly got these shoe for me as a gift and I have also had the same problem I also suffer chronic pain syndrome and leg distonea twisting of the leg muscles due to the NHS Makeing a mistake when having son nirly two years ago now I've been left unable to walk and vomiting constantly due to high levels of pain killers needed with a spinl injury the vomiting leave me unable to eat and I've gone from being pregnant to no size fitting me chothing wise I now have to ware small girls clothing and my feet are a size 2-3 and also s,aller then a normal woman's size foot and ankle and I've still had the same problems I think it whould be best to sent the shoes back but I.c have refused to provide any form of computation for my injury due to these negalagence in the way the boots ate made anyone putting there foot into he boots have no chance of getting there foot back out without it hurting it left my foot black and blue I've reported it to them but there not willing to help and told me there not made to walk in

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    1. Firstly I'm sorry to hear about the pain you're in, I've had ME for the past 10 and half years, so can relate somewhat. I'm surprised IC said the boots weren't made for walking in, as they gave me the opposite reaction and wanted the boots to be suitable for me to walk in and wear. They said a staff member tested them, by wearing them all day in the shop with no issues, which gave me hope that they can be worn. I haven't had time to sort out some sort of padding device yet, but will do so, to help prevent damage to my ankle.

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