Meet Jo Martinez, Footwear Technologist

Our new shoe expert...

Long Tall Sally: Describe your role at LTS.

Jo: If you asked a member of my family they would say I’m a shoe designer! After over 10 years in the industry they still go with designer, but my official title is Footwear Technologist. I am responsible for the fit and technical aspects of the footwear range at Long Tall Sally. This basically means making sure nothing comes off, breaks or falls to pieces during the life span of the product!

LTS: Tell us briefly about your training and past experience.

Jo: I went to the London College of Fashion and studied a BA (Hons) in Footwear Product Development. I have worked at Gina Shoes, a cowboy boot makers in Devon, a bespoke shoemakers in New Zealand, Topshop, BHS Kids footwear, Animal, ASOS, Superdry and now find myself here at Long Tall Sally!

LTS: You have a UK9 foot. What are your preferred styles?

Jo: Pre-kids I was a size 8 and a regular wearer of everything from heels to trainers. I have found that my body and feet have changed a lot during the making kids phase; comfort was a key consideration and living by the sea I found myself spending the winter in UGG boots and the summer in Havianas. Now that I am getting my body back I have found my feet to now fit a size 9, which initially was tricky! So currently this season I am gravitating towards low to mid heel boots to train my legs back into heels, and I’m aiming to be wearing some of the LTS Deluxe range over the Christmas Party season for sure! For days that boots or heels just wont cut it I love the LTS Lottie Shoe.

LTS: We recently ran a campaign called 'If the shoe fits' which revealed that 32 % of women are wearing the wrong size shoes. Any advice on measuring feet?

Jo: We are doing a lot of work on fit at LTS with our ultimate goal being to have ever style fitting consistently in each size. So a size 9 heel should always fit just as well on a size 9 foot as a size 9 trainer or sandal.

Fit is a tricky thing, as from our side we are trying to achieve a good accurate average fit. But obviously all of our customers will have different elements within their foot that will make some shoe shapes suit their foot better. Maybe a high arch (making shoes with a strappy instep area tricky) or a skinny ankle making boots slip at the heel.

Once they have a good idea of the type of shoe that fits and suits them, it's a case of season-on-season going back to that type of shape and slowly broadening their horizon on heel heights or toe shapes and of course colours. Most importantly, have fun with the shoe adventure… fashion is about expressing your personality after all, and what better way to do it than with some gorgeous shoes!

Heels? 100 % YES! Heels are fun, make you feel amazing, lengthen and slim your legs and give you confidence.

LTS: Which shoes in the collection are you loving?

Jo: I have just bought Lottie in Black White - I love a faux pony hair and you can’t go wrong with a flat pump. I also adore this velvet chunky heel called Emma. I dance all night in those heels... definitely one for the Christmas Party season!

LTS: Winter's coming and our attention turns to boots. Tell us what to look for in the perfect pair.

Jo: Well, a good winter boot should firstly keep your feet warm and dry! Standard. But I am cursed with what I call 'sporty calves’ - I know that for most high street stores if I can actually get my foot in the darn boot, it's unlikely that I will ever get my calf in let alone zip the boot up. At LTS quite a bit of work has been done on the fit of the legs of our boots. Not only have we added into the length of the boots for our lovely taller customers, but on a selection of the boots we have added adjustability for extra calf space.

Discovering LTS has been such a joy because not only is it a culture for taller women to be allowed to be tall, but it is also a platform for us to finally express our femininity.

LTS: Long Tall Sally's shoe range is growing year on year. What can we look forward to in the coming months?

Jo: The footwear buying team are putting together a really exciting collection this season! As a self confessed lover of heels - despite my height and the misconception that tall girls don’t or shouldn’t like wearing heels – I’m really looking forward to snapping up a few pairs of the upcoming Deluxe range. It has been designed and developed with our factories in Spain and Portugal where the attitude towards shoe making is just different; it’s considered a craft. True love goes into every pair by our craftsmen and women. Every stitch detail is considered and exemplary.

LTS: Any key shoe trends you’re particularly excited about?

Jo: I really am quite enchanted by velvet - its tactile softness, its shimmery surface, the depth of the colours that can be achieved, so I am quite tempted by a couple of the velvet heels in the collection. For daywear and bombing around London I love a funky loafer and we have a new loafer coming out called Meg in silver which I cannot wait to get my paws on!

LTS: Thanks for your time, Jo! Any final thoughts?

Jo: Being a gal blessed with height and long feet to match, I have grown up feeling like the odd one out. Discovering LTS has been such a joy because not only is it a culture for taller women to be allowed to be tall, but it is also a platform for us to finally express our femininity. It provides us with a pallet of clothes and shoes to select from to help us show the world our flavour, our personality and our fashion sense - express our inner diva.