Muse on Shoes

I am not the sort of woman who says she loves her shoes. But there is a pair for which I have a certain affection. They’re not Jimmy Choos or Manolos or Louboutins or anything like that. They’re thin black leather with a low heel – in fact, they look exactly like this.
Except older and more battered.

I used to react badly to people describing them as granny shoes. Until one day I happened to be in the shoe shop when a lovely LOL (Little Old Lady) somewhere around eighty was buying exactly this style. Well, fair enough. You don’t get to be eighty without knowing a decent shoe when you see one.

StateLibQld 2 106572 Shoe department in Cribb and Foote's Ipswich store, April 1949

But what really got me is what she said as she handed them over to the sales-lady to be scanned. “This pair will see me out.” The sales-lady, naturally, made tut-tut-of-course-not noises, but thinking about it, the LOL was probably right. She was old enough that her shoes likely didn’t get devastating amounts of wear, and they are really good shoes.

I bought my pair for work in early 2008 because I was on my feet for hours and the pascals were killing me. They’ve seen a lot of wear since, having been my only decent pair of shoes for at least half that time. In order to keep them going, some small mends have been necessary. (Cobblers: Cheaper Than Buying New Shoes.) But on my last visit the cobbler told me the end was fast approaching.

Mended, they’d see me through the winter. Maybe approaching next winter. But sooner or later, the only thing to do, he said, was to go shopping.
My first thought was “what? but they’re only six and a half years old!” My second was “that’s worked out at about 50c a week – not too bad”. And then I thought “I could get some brown shoes” (for reasons which will soon become apparent). And then (some time later) I thought “do I really need another pair of shoes?”

I already have:
three pairs of boots – black leather; rubber (for wet); sheepskin (for freezing)
one pair of black walking shoes
one pair of black canvas sand-shoes
one pair of blue low-heeled shoes
blue shoes
one pair of black high heels (worn only with evening dress, i.e. about once every year or so)
and one pair of ivory satin boots (which get even less wear than the evening heels. What can I say? The sheepskin boots didn’t really go with my wedding dress).
And of course for casual summer wear you can’t go past the classic rubber jandal, which handily doubles as a swat for creepy-crawlies.

That’s nine different kinds of footwear, not counting the classic black pair rapidly approaching the day of their demise.
Do I need another pair of shoes? Probably depends on your definition of need. And unless you have a fairly liberal definition, the answer is probably no. Would I like another pair of shoes? Probably maybe?

As items in my wardrobe wear out I’m trying to replace them with things that actually suit me (revolutionary concept, I know) – more brown, green, and other ‘natural’ colours. I could do the same with my shoes – but it might make more sense to wait til attrition has finished altering my wardrobe, and then look for a suitable pair.
Attrition might have further altered my footwear collection by then too – after all, no matter how good the shoes I buy, I can’t yet say “they’ll see me out.”

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4 thoughts on “Muse on Shoes

  1. Oh my. This made me laugh. I have about ten pair of shoes, but only wear three on a regular basis. My leather every day sandals in the summer, my boring, white athletic shoes (we used to call them gym shoes) and my brown leather penny loafers. They go with almost everything. Yes, I probably look like a reject from the 50s, but those shoes take a beating. I’ve had them resoled like four times. I’m well past the days when a four inch heel made me feel sexy. Mostly it makes me feel… pain. Here’s to being ourselves, whoever we happen to be today!

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