Soles, Shoes, and Silly Heels

Breaking from my July reminiscing to write about one of my favorite things – Shoes! Why all of a sudden?

See, I decided to try Cobbler Concierge to see whether they could do something about my boots. Exchanged text messages on Friday and received the box today. I’ll write about the experience once the boots are repaired. Seeing the box inspired me to write about my shoe infatuation, hence this post.

While I enjoy purchasing bags, I prefer acquiring shoes. Not just any shoes but comfortable shoes. When we were packing up to move to the US from Australia, I gave up almost all of my shoes except for about 6 pairs that I thought were essential. H was happy seeing the shoe boxes disappear since they’ve taken up an entire wall of our apartment. We didn’t have a shoe closet then. Yes, gave up, not sold because I wasn’t comfortable selling my second hand shoes and clothing. I wasn’t sure people would buy them.

I have since purchased more pairs much to H’s dismay but I have tried to be more discriminating. The number is still under 30 so that’s not a lot, I think. *wink

I gave myself rules to follow when buying shoes:

  • No more heels above 3 inches, for one, for the sake of my ankles, knees, and lower back.
  • The soles must have cushioning.
  • I must be able to stand and walk for hours in them because I take the T and enjoy walking.
  • The material must be soft and pliant and shouldn’t dig into my skin or cause blisters.

I managed to stick to these rules most of the time but there were times when I got overwhelmed by the cuteness of the shoe design.

I do have brand preferences. I’m not ashamed to admit that. I compare it to sticking to a clothing label because you know that the clothes fit you each time without having to try them on because their fit is consistent. The label earned your loyalty and money – until they played around with the fit. Bummer because then you had to hunt for another label.

Below are the shoe brands you’d find the most number of in my shoe closet.

Cole Haan, the American shoe label, is a bit of a hit and miss for me. I have a 4-year-old pair of knee high boots I bought over the internet that has withstood rain, mud, and hours of being pounded on the pavement. Because of these, I bought two pumps with block heels, wore them on separate occassions, and not even two hours later, my feet were covered in plasters. I tried to sell one of them on Facebook but no biters.

20170107_122404
Anyone want to buy these Cole Haan shoes? I’ve only worn them a few times

Ecco, the Danish shoe label founded in 1963 by Karl Toosbuy, in Bredebro, Denmark, will always be one of my favorites. Sure, most of the shoes tend to be not as aesthetically appealing but they’re comfortable. Ecco and Arche, the French shoe label, were my go-to shoes when I worked in retail. They and my compression tights helped me in my 9- and 12-hour shift. I used to love Arche until the fit changed somehow, started pinching my feet, and I had to give them up. If Ecco comes up with prettier designs, I’d probably buy more of their shoes.

Ecco Ankle Boots
Ecco Ankle Boots from their US website. Not fond of the snake skin design

Stuart Weitzman, the American shoe label, was introduced to me by my fashion-loving, brand-conscious Russian friend. I, initially, balked at the prices but when I first bought one of their shoes and found them comfortable, I started buying more. I wore one of their platform heels in my vow renewal ceremony last year and did not get blisters after hours of walking and standing.

Stuart Weitzman Axis Shoes
Bought these exact pair from Zappos and wore them in Vancouver. Photo from Zappos.

I did have a negative experience when I bought their shoes online when I still lived in Australia. I found out that their shoe sizes varied. Shoes bought from their US website were slightly narrower than their Australian counterpart and were not consistent across different shoe styles. Of course, the customer agent I corresponded with didn’t admit that and said the lasts were different, yada, yada, and no, they don’t do returns or refunds for International Purchases. It wasn’t until I spoke to their retail staff in the Australia that I was told yes, the sizing were different between countries and due to the complaints the company had been receiving, they had to inform their Australian license holder to tell their customers that little tidbit. That soured my relationship with the brand a bit. I didn’t mind the difference; I did mind being lied to and being given the round around.

Salvatore Ferragamo, the Italian shoe label, was a recent find for me. Ferragamo for me was synonymous with loafers. I was never interested in the label until I got annoyed by the indifferent staff at Stuart Weitzman at Copley Square and decided to alleviate my negative feelings by checking out the other shoe store opposite it. Retail therapy! I didn’t get loafers since they looked ugly on my feet and they were too flat. Instead I tried on a pair of nude pumps – and got hooked.

Salvatore Ferragamo
Salvatore Ferragamo from their website

So far, my relationship with Ferragamo has been good. Their customer service has been fantastic.  Did you know you could bring your pumps or heels to the store, at Copley Square, to have rubber half-soles attached? I didn’t until they told me. It cost $45 for one pair of shoes and their cobbler is Rago Brothers based in New Jersey. My local cobbler charged me $32 for a generic half-sole for my Sergio Rossi pumps. Not sure how they’ll hold up.

I also brought in my pumps to have the cracked heel caps fixed. The plastic ones didn’t last. I’ll see how that looks when I get them back from Ferragamo next week.

Because I love my shoes, I’ve been spending a little bit more to protect and maintain them, thus the rubber half-soles. My soles get worn very quickly because of the amount of walking I do so before I even wear them outside the first time, I have the cobblers glue those rubbers on. I’m careful to rotate my shoes so as not to wear them out quickly. I also spray on those leather / nubuck / suede protectors where possible.

What do you guys do to protect your shoes? Do you have any rules when buying shoes?

 

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