Sunday, December 29, 2019

15 Year Celebration - My 15 All-Time Favorite Sets (2004-19)

This list was one of the hardest things I ever had to do for Soles of Silk. Trying to come up with my annual favorite sets lists is hard enough, but doing one for all 15 years of the site's existence... Yeah, not easy!

When I first sat down to create this list, my first idea was to rank the number one sets from each year against one another. The more and more I thought about it, however, the less that made sense. Some years I had a bunch of really strong sets that I absolutely loved. Other years, especially some of the site's earliest, I don't feel as strongly about. So a second or third place set from one year might be better in my eyes than first place sets from other years. With that being said, I decided to go ahead and open it up to all of the sets on the site, including Wu's Feet Links feature sets.

In my annual blogs I never include a Wu's Feet Links feature. It's just something I've never done, feeling that I try to always go above and beyond with those. With this list, however, I felt like it needed to encompass everything I've ever shot for Soles of Silk.

With all this being said, I don't know if I could come up with this same exact list twice if you asked me to do it again from scratch. I've been working on this in the background for a couple of months trying to get it just right. I was still moving sets around right up until recently, but now it's time to publish this blog. Now these sets will be set in stone as My 15 All-Time Favorite Sets from 2004-19. But first, here are a few honorable mentions to kick things off:



Honorable Mentions: Cierra - Trix Cereal (March 24, 2010), Aspen - All-American Feet (2013 - Wu's Feet Links Feature), and Mindee - Gummi Worms (January 8, 2014)

Now, onto the main list - the one I struggled for months to complete. Again, this wasn't easy, but I'm happy with what I came up with.


15. Beach Front Coasters
Model: Mindee
Published Date: July 29, 2015

Mindee is one of my roller coaster buddies. We have been to so many different amusement parks together. One of my most memorable trips with her, however, was the one that led us to Cedar Point. It was her first visit and naturally I brought my camera along to capture some photos.

With Cedar Point on a peninsula sticking out into Lake Erie, we made sure to head outside on our final day and hit the beach. We weren't going swimming though. Nope! We were going to shoot some photos. Sandy beaches, wild roller coasters, and two of the prettiest size 8 feet in the world made this set my 15th favorite set of the site's first 15 years online. 

It feels only right to get things started off with Mindee too because it's not going to be the last time you're going to see her on this list. Far from it!



14. Lots of Converse
Model: Cierra
Published Date: January 13, 2010

For a good while Cierra was the site's most photographed model. She wanted to shoot every chance she got. Well, there was a day that we shot three awesome sets that included the Trix Cereal one seen in the honorable mentions above, as well as this one with a bunch of her Converse shoes.

This set idea was totally Cierra's. She loves Chuck Taylor's and asked if I wanted to do a set with some of them. I said sure and came away with one of the best sweaty feet/shoes sets ever to appear on Soles of Silk. I mean, Cierra's feet were sweaty in practically every set she did, but this one really captured it well. Add in the vibrant colors and it's easy to see why I loved this one so much.



13. Ravens Socks
Model: Ginger
Published Date: September 8, 2010

It took me forever to convince Ginger to shoot for me. I mean, I originally asked her back when I was running The 10 Little Piggies. She always said no, but a few years after I opened Soles of Silk, she changed her mind. I was so elated!

One of only several shoots that she ended up doing remains one of my favorites to this day. A Ravens fan, like myself, she was really excited when I asked her to do a set themed around the home team. As a matter of fact, we did two different sets with a Ravens theme that day. One was down on the field on the bright green turf. The other one, this one, was shot up in the stands and featured Ginger's feet in some black knee high socks. Watching her pull them from her adorable feet was amazing and I captured it perfectly each step along the way.



12. Playground Bubbles Remake
Model: Jasey Rae
Published Date: July 3, 2019

This 15th Anniversary Remake set featuring Jasey Rae, has been placing well on several other recent blogs that I've published lately, including "My Favorite Sets of 2019" (3rd) and "15 Year Celebration - My Favorite Remakes of the 15 Year Celebration" (2nd). Well, it's making this list too.

I can't say enough great things about this set. Jasey Rae, looking cute as always, killed it in this one. We captured so many bubbles throughout the entirety of the set. Her feet were front and center for many of them, making you feel like she was sticking them right up to your face. I mean, they were up in mine with only my camera separating us. I guess that was a good thing because I was able to capture it all for you to see the amazing sight that was before my eyes on that day.

This won't be the last set on this list that you will see from 2019, or the last of the remakes done throughout the year. Needless to say, 2019 featured some amazing new sets.



11. Kiddie Pool
ModelsMindee & Shelby
Published Date: July 19, 2017

Talk about a splash. No, I'm not talking splashing about in the pool, although these 20 pruned toes and four soles did their fair share of that in this duo set. What I'm talking about was the splash that was made when I published the first set of Mindee with her mom, Shelby, to Soles of Silk. People went nuts afterward, loving the mother/daughter combo, and wanting to see more.

This team up was something that I never thought I'd get to shoot, but one that I love having in front of my camera. This set was amazing, but it's not the last time you're going to see these two teaming up on this list. Keep on reading!



10. See Thru Rainbow Socks
ModelMindee & Melani
Published Date: May 30, 2018

From one team up with Mindee, to another. The very moment that Melani debuted on Soles of Silk, I was already thinking about getting her to do a shoot with Mindee. One of the site's newest models, with one of the site's longest tenured would be awesome. Both are two of the most popular, so I knew getting them together would only result in great things... and it did!

Watching these two tugging off some of the most unique socks I've ever featured on Soles of Silk in this set was something that I'll never forget. I had made plans to shoot with Melani for the evening, but told Mindee she should come by if she had some free time. Luckily, she did. What resulted was one of the most fun sets I've shot on the site in 15 years. I loved this one so much that I had this set featured predominately on the site's social media pages as well as the splash page for quite some time.



9. I Hold The Key
ModelMindee & Alice
Published Date: October 31, 2019

Hey look! Another team up with Mindee. This time it's with Alice, another model I wanted Mindee to shoot with since Alice's debut. Alice was massively over upon her arrival, so I knew it would be great pairing these two up together. I always love new pairings, but when you have two models with such huge fan bases, you just know it's going to be great.

Speaking of large, this was the first time Mindee's size 8 feet were ever dwarfed in any of her team ups too. As a matter of fact, up until this point, the only time Mindee was ever featured in a set with a model having bigger feet than hers was in the trio set featuring Rein and Reese, with Reese having size 8.5's. So yeah, just a half size difference there, so that made this set unique in itself.

The theme of this set was a playful teasing one. Something about some keys, the color blue, and denial. I'll let your mind run wild with it. With the who size difference between the two models feet, they also decided to incorporate some size tease gestures too. Well, when they weren't telling me to rub their feet and teasing me that is.



8. Feathers Remake
Model: Alice & Maya
Published Date: February 20, 2019

Another team up... not with Mindee though! This one does feature Alice again, however. This particular team up set is another recent addition to the site, coming in 2019. It features Alice and Maya, who have some of the longest toes found on the site. For that reason alone, this team up was going to be memorable.

The sets that these two shot were simply amazing. While the second of the two has yet to make it onto the site, this one went up in February and was an instant hit. It was looking like it was going to be my favorite set of 2019 up until I shot the set that turned edged it out on the "My Favorite Sets of 2019" blog, and managed to pull off the number two spot on this one.



7. Soccer Goal
ModelMindee & Marcy
Published Date: June 11, 2014

For long time fans, you know that this photo was found on the site's splash page for years. And guess what? It's another team up with Mindee! This time, it's her cousin, Marcy in the set with her.

Mindee and Marcy have teamed up three times, with each and every set being memorable and turning out amazing. While I'm not a soccer fan at all, these two are and made me appreciate it the day that I was laying on the turf at their feet shooting this one. Numerous people were running around the track surrounding the field while we shot. They did their fair share of looking at us as they jogged by. I didn't care though because seeing their size 8 feet coming out of some sneakers and knee high socks had me mesmerized. 



6. Play Doh Playground
Model: Mariah
Published Date: October 2, 2013

Mindee has been the perfect segway in this blog, hasn't she? Although she's not in this set, we move on from one set featuring one of her cousins, to another one featuring a different cousin of hers, Mariah. I didn't get to shoot her much, but I was able to come away with this gem the last time we got together.

I had bought a bunch of little PlayDoh containers and I asked her what she thought about using them in one of her sets. She liked the idea and we decided to shoot it at a near by playground. That turned out to be a great choice because Mariah went to town on that soft, squishy doh. With all the different colors going on, this set was so visually appealing. The only thing softer looking may have been her little soles and toes. Just look at them up there!



5. Bubble Wands
ModelMindee & Shelby
Published Date: May 9, 2018

Umm... Mindee... Team up... Her mom, Shelby. I told you that you'd be seeing a lot of Mindee on this list and that the first set with her mom wouldn't be the last time you saw them teamed up on here either. While seeing the mother/daughter combo in the pool was fun, this set just had a certain cuteness to it that I loved. It also featured some good pops of color in it, which you can see in many of these sets on this list.

This set also holds a special place in my heart as it's technically the first one I shot with Mindee and Shelby together. I published the one in the pool first, but shooting this one was my first experience with the two of them together. It was certainly a sign of things to come with Mindee giving her mom's toes a bite at one point and then Shelby making some naughty gestures with the bubble tube. They had me blushing, which I'm sure was their intent.



4. Captain of the All-Tease Cheer Squad
Model: Jasey Rae
Published Date: July 2018 (Wu's Feet Links Feature)

I have always tried to go above and beyond with any of the sets that I have published to Wu's Feet Links as feature sets. One of my all-time favorites is this one, featuring Jasey Rae, which I titled, "Captain of the All-Tease Cheer Squad." While there is another feature set yet to come, this one just might be my favorite in the amount of foot shots found throughout.

Just like Aspen's feature set found above in the honorable mentions, sometimes I get a little artsy with my features and don't always have the model's feet front and center. This set with Jasey was able to keep her feet as the main focus while still being one of the more creative ones I shot. The cheerleader theme, the blue balls, the turf setting, all the bright colors... I can go on and on about all the things I love about this set.



3. Watermelon
Model: Melani
Published Date: August 2, 2017

I sometimes come up with an idea for a set and as much as I'd like for it to come out just how I envisioned, that's not always the case. I often say that many spontaneous sets come out to be my favorites. This set, however, is one of those ones that I planned out in advance with lots of props and my model, Melani, nailed it!

For one, this features Melani in a bikini. How can you go wrong with that? Two, she's barefoot. Three, there's colors galore in this one with the bright pinks and greens of the watermelon theme and the bright blue skies in the background. 

Back to Melani barefoot in a bikini though... Yeah, I don't really need to say anything else. This set is just awesome.



2. Kiss Our Feet
ModelMindee & Kaycee
Published Date: May 29, 2019

Mindee's back in her seventh set (eighth if you count honorable mentions), the sixth team up with five different models. This time, it's Mindee and Kaycee, two of my best female friends. This set went up earlier this year and was one of those ones that I just knew while shooting, was going to be one of my all-time favorites.

Watching these two have tons of fun in their first ever team up was something that I'll never forget. We went with a cute Kiss My Feet theme, complete with some shirts that said as much. I had them wear some thigh high socks to start out, but the rest came from these two. They owned this set and many of the fun poses, like the one above, came straight from these two. I shouldn't have expected any less. With the experience factor between the two of them, the close friendships we share, and them both knowing that teasing me can be oh so fun, I knew what I was getting myself into. Still, I could have never expected the set to come out as good as it did.

And guess what? If you liked seeing these two together, be sure to check out the very first update on Soles of Silk in 2020. It features these two together again. I'm thinking there's going to be a good chance that you'll be seeing that one as one of my favorites of 2020.



1. The SK8R Gal Who Wears Size 11 Skates
Model: Alice
Published Date: July 2017 (Wu's Feet Links Feature)

Since 2017 I have been giving this set praise as one of my all-time favorites. Well, now that there is a list, it is indeed, my all-time favorite. This set, Alice's 2017 Wu's Feet Links feature, titled, "The SK8R Gal Who Wears Size 11 Skates," is my claims this spot for countless reasons.

The first aspect I loved about this set is the theme. It's one that Alice and I had talked about for a while. She always wanted to do a set with roller skates and up until that point, it's a theme I had never done. When I decided to have Alice represent Soles of Silk as a Wu's Feet Links feature model, I told her we should do with with that set. She agreed. We even shot it over a year before it would be published and did a slow burn tease of it's impending release. Each week I'd remove a panel off the image to slowly reveal a sample photo from the set. People checked back over and over to get that next glimpse.

Next up for things that I love about this one is the setting. Instead of just doing this set somewhere local, Alice and I decided to go to the beach. We had ourselves a little day trip up to Seaside Heights, N.J., where I had the best day of shooting I've ever had (see blog: "15 Year Celebration - My Best Day of Shooting"). I thought using the boardwalk in this set would make for a great backdrop. I was right.

Color is a big thing I love about this one too. Getting the rainbow striped thigh high socks, I knew I wanted this set to be colorful. I also grabbed the glow necklaces and gloves. I asked Alice to bring something colorful to wear, but what I didn't know was that she was going to have multi-colored hair. When I saw that, my jaw dropped. I loved it! It sure added to this set too. The bright blue skies and green bench also were quite vibrant as well, which certainly added just a little more color to an already colorful set.

I was all about Alice's sweaty feet with this set. You know how much I love them and the fact that it was a hot morning in the summer at the beach had Alice's usually sweaty feet, sweating a little extra. Well, that and the fact that they were trapped inside of skates and thigh high socks. I'm sure all the artsy skating pictures we shot at the start of the set before she even attempted to pull off her footwear contributed too. And luckily for me, after we finished up shooting, we sat in my car to cool off while Alice looked through the photos on my camera and I sat there with those size 11's, still moist, in my hands for about an hour.

Lastly, the thing I loved the most about this set was the fact that Alice was in it. Her and those size 11 feet have charmed me since her debut. I really feel like this set theme is one that lent itself to her too. Although I wouldn't mind shooting other roller skate themed sets, I just can't see anyone else doing it in the way that Alice did in this set. She made it her own and one I have been touting as a favorite since it was published. Now I can clearly say, it is my all-time favorite. It's going to be a hard one to dethrone too.

So, which sets from Soles of Silk do you think deserved to be on this list? Did I come close to the ones that you would have picked? I'd love to see what sets you love the most and would have put on your list if you had written it. Hit me up on the site's Twitter (@SolesofSilk) and let me know.


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