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Q: What do you think of shoes where the toe box tilts upward? Because I hate them! And I inevitably see them on the same species of slickster guy.

A: This is a problem that has arisen since the vogue for very elongated pointy shoes, a fashion I have never happily embraced. Of course when shoes extend beyond the end of the toe, they will eventually curl upward, making you look like a guy auditioning for the part of Ali Baba in a children's pantomime. That is not good.

One way to avoid it is to keep cedar shoe-trees in your shoes when you're not wearing them. But another, simpler way is to steer clear of these trendy winklepickers: In shoes, quality and conservatism are more important than fashion.

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Russell Smith's latest novel, Girl Crazy, was recently published. Have a fashion question? E-mail style@globeandmail.com .

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