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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