- Helping you drive happy

The importance of nice shoes

A few weeks ago, I wrote about one of the most important wheels in a vehicle: the steering wheel. However, this time I’d like to point out the other four, and why they have such a huge impact on a vehicle’s appeal.

Here’s the deal: A good pair of shoes can make or break an outfit. I’m going to be a bit girlie here, but bear with me. I have a bit of a shoe fetish (I’m working through a program and the first step is admitting you have a problem, right?). The higher the heel, the more I want to sport it. I know the right pair of kicks can complete an outfit or completely ruin the look. When it comes to rims on a car, the same can be said to the nth degree.

Never was this made clearer than while I perused my colleagues’ thousands of photos from this year’s 2013 SEMA Show in Las Vegas. Aftermarket wheels are all about that: completing the outfit. Some do it to utter perfection. Others, not so much.

Companies like Rotiform can be likened to Jimmy Choo, BBS to Manolo Blahnik -- these are staples, these are the bigwigs, these are the wheels all others bow down to a try desperately to emulate. They are the kingpins and rarely (if ever) release an ugly or bad wheel.

I bring all this up because as I sit here and stare at this week’s tester, a 2013 Toyota Corolla S, I can’t help but admire the wheel design. Companies are paying more attention to things they have, in the past, ignored or thought less important. Just as trends in the fashion industry change (pointy toes out, rounded pumps in), so too do trends in the auto industry. And I absolutely adore the wheel trend seen on everything from supercars to econoboxes.

Matte, two-tone, Euro-inspired; it’s all surfacing on the everyday vehicle. I think it’s safe to say that Kia have some of the most attractive wheels on their everyday, affordable cars. Honda would be another, and with the launch of their latest Civic model came a host of new wheel designs to choose from.

A vehicle is an emotional thing -- at least in my opinion it should be. Purchasing one is as personal as choosing your outfit for the day (except, you have to keep in mind that you’ll be wearing the same thing every single day for the quite some time). So, it’s only natural that manufacturers would offer something as personalized as a nice set of wheels to go on your vehicle.

So, what’s my point here? Well, I truly think a good pair of shoes (read: wheels) can make or break a vehicle’s initial appeal. Kiera Knightly in a little black cocktail dress and white tennis shoes just isn’t the same as Kiera Knightly in a little black cocktail dress and 6” stilettos. Call it what you will, but that’s curb appeal, and I’m always thrilled to see manufacturers who understand that.

Photo: Colin Styker