Is the prime minister hoping to reduce cellulite, tone his muscles or feel empowered? We ask FitFlop why their customers choose their shoes
To Alvor, Portugal, where the British prime minister and Most Stylish Woman in the World began their second holiday of the year, a gateway moment captured in all its spontaneous glory by the world’s media.
There are many, many things to take in here: David Cameron’s continued refusal to deviate from navy on holiday. The MSWITW’s skirt, recycled from their 2008 trip to Cornwall. The EU-baiting fact that they are drinking a Spanish beer on the Algarve. The shame that it’s only a half. But what of Cameron’s footwear, the FitFlop, a shoe originally designed to help reduce cellulite and tone the lower half of your body?
FitFlops rose to prominence in 2007. The makers claimed the mid-step was “designed to tone thighs, activate muscles and tone the calves and gluteal muscles”. Cameron’s “great patriotic struggle” to slim down by not eating bread and running a bit are well documented, but that is not why he’s wearing them, according to Jessica Evans, a spokeswoman from FitFlop. He is wearing them to feel “empowered”. Because winning the election wasn’t empowering enough.
“Our customers tend to wear our shoes because of comfort,” explains Evans. “Because when you feel comfortable, you feel good about yourself – and some people can find that empowering.”
FitFlop are known for designing women’s shoes, but the men’s range has always been seen as more of a “sideline thing. It isn’t a huge focus for us,” she says. “We never really promoted the triple-density Microwobbleboard midsole (patent pending) technology on the men’s shoes. It’s more about comfort.” Cameron is wearing the Raff, suede blue shoes, which are three years old. “We were as surprised as you are to see the photographs,” Evans says.
FitFlop was hit by a minor scandal in 2012 when researchers from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, found “there was no significant difference” between FitFlops and ordinary flip-flops on key muscles, which may explain why they’ve toned down the techonology hype: “There are a lot of companies which produce these sorts of things and make all sorts of claims, so we’re not really talking about that any more.”
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