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FOOTWEAR FOCUS ROAD TEST Tidings of comfort and Joya

They're a joy to wear, and great for your foot health too. A

fter spending the winter months enclosed in the comforting embrace of Joya shoes, my feet want to write a thank you note to their designer, Karl Müller Jr, the son and namesake of the inventor of MBT (Masai Barefoot Technology) Karl Müller, was the test driver for his

Dawn Smith test drives two designs from the Joya range of feel-good footwear. At the end of February, a long weekend in Rome provided the perfect

father's shoes as a child but always wanted to develop his own footwear. After founding two successful fashion labels, Mymui and Royal Sunday, Karl launched the Joya brand, setting out to create the softest shoe in the world. And as far as my feet are concerned, he's done the business.

Last Christmas, Karl was Santa to my soles, as I slipped my feet for the

first time into the unfeasibly comfortable Heidi PTX black boots, with their on-trend crossover laces, embroidered velour trim and fur lining. As winter rolled on, the waterproof upper and furry interior kept my feet frost-free in the most biting blizzards, but it was the Active-AirPump technology of the soles that really put a smile on my face - as well as a spring in my step.

The manufacturers, who are based in the little village of Roggwil in

eastern Switzerland, claim that "Joya gives you wings" - wearing Joya shoes is the next best thing to flying, they say. Truthfully I didn't get airborne in January, but I did float through the winter looking jaunty, and occasionally gave a Tigger-like bounce, just because I could.

My Heidis were as soft and springy to walk on as a fresh carpet of

Scottish heather, topped by marshmallows. The bouncy effect of Joya is due to the clever system of air ducts in the soles, which pumps large amounts of air into the shoes' interior. They also absorb and remove any moisture which might form, keeping feet fresh. And because there's no pressure points, there's no jarring for the joints.

January was a breeze, but as the weather got warmer towards spring, the fur lining started to feel like overkill. So I switched to my second package from Karl: the Venezia trainer, with Nubuck leather and mesh uppers in grey and beige. These shoes had the same Active-AirPump soles as my Heidi boots, giving the same springing step and walking comfort. They also had breathable mesh linings, 3D mesh insole and Antibacteria Cool midsole, which help keep feet cool when the going gets sticky.


testing ground for my practical and trendy Venezias. The miles of tramping on cobbled streets between fab fountains and Roman relics was a piece of cake in my Swiss-designed strolling buddies. As I walked past a high-heeled wearing female sprawled face down, after she'd tripped on the cracked pavement, I whistled a tune, an "ode to Joya", looking and feeling annoyingly snug - and above all smug in my soft-soled foot-friends.

Of course, in retrospect it's possible that the face-down female may have

been praying, as I wasn't far from the Vatican at the time. But in my enthusiasm for all things Joya, I liked to think that I was floating on air in my trendy trainers, while she was flattened to the ground by a more frivolous fashion.

Pride is a sin, they say. If that's the case, then the level of smugness I felt in

Rome was unholy. But I reckon that even the Pope would have absolved me, if he'd first had the chance to ease his blessed bunions with a pair of Joya shoes. Go forth, evangelise; sing Joya to the world...

Fast facts Retail prices of Joya Shoes range from £129 to £159

Joya Venezia

Joya Shoes (UK) Tel. +44 1642 318746, Email: Web:

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