Debt Reduction

The tale of two pairs of shoes

When I think of my friend and fellow traveler Heather (we called her “Heeter” because that’s how the Maltese pronounced her very American name), I remember her clunky boots. They weren’t hiking boots per se, they kind of reminded me of something you might have seen on “Little House on the Prairie” what my mom would have called “granny boots.”

I remember hiking all over Malta with her on one Saturday afternoon to find a cobbler who would fix the broken heel of her favorite boots. She had worn them for years and a broken heel was no excuse to get rid of them.

As for me, I had a pair of blue suede (I kid you not) faux Airwalks that I had bought the previous fall for $10 at Payless. I wore those ragged for the six months that I was overseas and they got so nasty that my roommate Ellie begged me to leave them outside of our hostel room at night during the week we spent in Israel because they smelled so bad.

I left those shoes in Malta when I came home. They were pretty nasty and I had walked several hundred miles in them. It was a good deal for the $10 I spent.

Time Magazine recently published an article called “Fix It Nation” talking about how in troubled economic times, trades like tailoring and cobbling thrive because people make do with what the got, instead of buying new stuff when the old wears out.

I’ve never been to a tailor and I shop at Payless for my shoes, so there’s really no sense taking them to the cobbler to replace synthetic leather and cheap soles. But I think its neat to see people choosing to reuse their old clothing and shoes instead of just tossing them and buying new.

It would be nice if this continued even after we got out of our economic mess.

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9 thoughts on “The tale of two pairs of shoes

  1. sadly i don’t think it will. think of the last recession – after the ‘mess’ was cleaned up, people went right onto spending excessively, and ploughing through products, which in turn leads us to THIS recession. somehow i think history will go on repeating itself.

    of course i agree. it WOULD be nice. 🙂

  2. I think there’s a growing movement of people who are doing these things as a part of their lives just because rather than just the recession.

    A lot of it comes from “greening” your life, and some of it comes from living within their means–or both, in my case. Not that I have my shoes repaired very often, they don’t often breakdown in ways that can be repaired…but having a new soles put on the the tips of my heals also counts!

  3. I just have to tell you about the deal I found at the Mall of America. I was in need of new shoes. The one experience I had buying name brand shoes ended badly with the shoes falling apart months after purchasing them (the tread actually fell of). When I had e-mailed the company to complain they told me that I would have to ship the shoes to them. Once they received the shoes they would look at them and decide if they would replace them. To me it wasn’t worth the hassle so I downgraded them to farm/river shoes.
    The ones I now had were purchased at a local Walmart for approx. $15 and were a year old. The liner on the inside of the shoes was falling apart and killing my feet, they will now be retired to river shoes.

    I decided while at the mall to search for a new pair of shoes. My husband and I headed off to Sears. I found a pair of Reebok walking shoes that were marked down from $40 to $20, they weren’t the color I liked but I could learn to love them for $20. We were checking out when the clerk asked if I would be interested in applying for a Sears Card to earn an additional discount on the shoes. Right away, I said yes. My husband looked at me as if I had lost my mind. I ended up walking away paying $5 for the shoes in cash.

    As we left I explained to my husband that I always apply for the store’s card to get a discount. I currently have a Fashion Bug Card, JCPenney Card, Old Navy/GAP/Banana Republic Card, and now a Sears card. All with zero balances on them. I think its worth the hassle to get the discount. I also believe it helps my credit to have these cards, and I’m responsible enough not to use them.

    What are your thoughts on this subject? Am I really helping my credit (like I think) or am I hurting it?

  4. The problem is that resoling a pair of dress shoes costs around $45-50. If the shoes themselves cost only around $60, it makes no sense to resole them. Frankly, I think $45 is way too much to charge for resoling shoes.

  5. I tend to spend to quite a bit on dress shoes and belts $100-150. Not saying you have to spend that much cause there are good deals out there. My experience with shoes/belts in the $20-50 range is that they don’t last long term. I used to buy a new belt every 3-6 months because the bucket would break.

  6. I got some used jeans from a co-worker’s daughter about 6 years ago. Yes, these jeans are probably 8 or more years old, but I do like them. One pair is from Express and one pair is from Gap. They are probably $100 pairs of jeans and I got them for nothing. (I would never spend more than $30 on jeans.) Over the past few years the knees have started to wear out….and now they are big holes. Recently I went to the mall to try to find 1-2 new pairs of jeans. ICK! I hate shopping for jeans. I found nothing and decided to repair my jeans instead. I don’t have a sewing machine so I am doing it by hand…it’s going ok. Not professional, but I’ll be able to wear them in public and not feel stupid…..well, stupidER.

  7. t,

    I agree with you, which means that you either buy throw-away shoes (which is wasteful), or you buy high-end shoes (which cost big $$$ at the outset). Perhaps one should buy 2-3 pairs of high-end shoes and take good care of them instead of having 8-10 pairs of throw-away shoes.

  8. I think used clothes are awesome. Especially my mom’s clothes from back in the days. They’re totally stylish and it’s in fashion to wear vintage clothes these days. Ohhh and old looking leather boots are the best. I have a pair that I wear once in a while and it matches with everything I wear.

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