Debt Reduction, Everyday Living, Money Saving Strategies, Where My Money Goes

Shoes: Not as Disposable as They Once Were

Here’s where I tell you something slightly embarrassing about myself – I really do not have attractively smelling feet. I know that there are things that I can buy for my shoes to remedy this situation, but I usually forget that until I’m sitting at my desk and can smell my feet or I am in some stranger’s home and leave my shoes by the door, praying with all of my considerable self that no one comes near my offensive Sketchers.

The other thing about me and my shoe life is that when I have a pair of shoes that I like, I usually wear them until they are not salvageable. I remember the $10 specials that I wore over 11 years ago when I was studying abroad. After six months of walking, I simply threw them away in Malta because a) they stank b) I had killed the backs of them by putting them on without untying them first (bad habit) and c) they were only $10. I had specifically bought them for my trip to Europe – they were blue suede and funky. Comfortable as all get out, but cheap. I would get new ones when I headed back to the States. I have had countless pairs of shoes that are like my blue suede ones – the Nikes I bought at the tail end of college – they got me through gym class, they took me to two Red Hot Chili Peppers concerts, they made it through a restaurant job, five years of journalism and two 5Ks until one of my friends bluntly told me that duct tape is not an attractive accessory on a tennis shoe. I still have my first pair of brown corduroy Airwalks. I wore those for about four years – they look like hell but are the perfect garden shoe. I am currently killing a pair of men’s Sketchers that are casual enough to pair with jeans, but professional enough to wear with khakis … I think I will shed tears when those get relegated to the garden.

I know that there are people out there who are like me – who lace up their shoes as lovingly as they once held their childhood blankies. And luckily because of the recession, an ancient trade is getting fired up again for people who pay more than $15 a pop for shoes and try to make them last as long as they possibly can. Cobblers are back!

What’s interesting about this article is that shoe cobbling went out of vogue for awhile in the United States. Sure, you could find shoe cobblers, but you had to look for them. Nowadays, you still have to look for them, but you might actually have to wait a little bit longer to have your shoes fixed because people are savvy to the new trend – you don’t have to buy a new pair of shoes just because the heel came off of your favorite pumps – you can get them fixed and fixed well!

For the record, I’ve never been to a cobbler. I’ve never bought shoes that actually warrant being fixed. But I remember being in Europe and accompanying a friend to a cobbler to re-sole the bottom of her favorite boots. It was just the thing that people did over there.

Any of you guys have a shoe fetish? Do you buy spendy shoes or are you like me scouring places like Payless?

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2 thoughts on “Shoes: Not as Disposable as They Once Were

  1. I am a diehard Sketchers fan. Those lovely shoes will last me several years of nonstop wear before they finally start wearing out. And since I’m now a homemaker with only part time at home work, I hardly ever wear shoes. I probably won’t have to buy new shoes for 10 years!

  2. I h ave never bought a shoe at Payless, but i must admit to buying a pair at Kmart, and i still have them. I have plenty of shoes. I think a lot of people have shoe fetishes becus, if they can’t control their weight and have trouble fitting into clothes, well, shoes give you an outlet.

    I have several good leather walking shoes resoled, but becus the minimum service is about $15, you really have to make sure the shoes you’re getting repairs will be used.

    My AAA membership gives me discounts at a variety of stores, including the Reebok outlet store; the only one around here is down where i used to work. I had the foresight to stock up on 3 pairs of my favorite reebok sneakers while i was still working, (it’s about an hour’s drive south of where i live) `and i’m currently working on wearing out the soles of the first pair now. I won’t toss ’em until i feel water on my toes. And when i do toss ’em, i’ll make sure to do so thru Nike’s national sneaker recycle program.

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