Thursday, March 7, 2019

On Well-Loved Shoes and Shoe Repair

At the time these photos were taken, my nearly four and a half year old Sam Edelman Petty booties had just been freshly resoled and polished and had yet to be worn since. Otherwise I'd never put them on a desk!

Until after I graduated college, I never knew shoes could be repaired or resoled, sometimes many times in just a few years of normal use. I suppose that gap in my knowledge makes sense. For much of one's childhood and throughout one's teenage years, one's feet are probably growing too fast for shoe repair to be much an issue. And my feet still grew while I was in college, I mostly wore a size 7 shoe when I started, but by the year after I graduated, I wore a 7.5 and occasionally an 8, or even an 8.5. Plus, I was never on my feet as much and never did half as much walking until I moved to NYC. Also, from college through my first year or two of law school, I had a terrible "success rate" with buying shoes that I'd actually wear, probably worse than 50%. (After that particular "after" photo was taken, I eventually decluttered another four pairs of nearly-new shoes from it without ever actually wearing said shoes again.) And if shoes don't actually get worn, they're not exactly going to need a visit to the cobbler.

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I've had this pair of Sam Edelman Petty booties (discontinued in leather, though lingering pairs remain in size 6 only, and they're still available in suede) for a little over four years now, and I've worn them frequently throughout fall and winter each year, a period lasting from late September through practically April most years. They're likely my single favorite pair of shoes, so well-loved that I bought a second pair while my first was still in fairly good shape. That newer edition was made of a stiffer leather, so I've never liked them as much, though I wear them sometimes, mostly on more formal occasions.

I'd only ever needed to get my first pair of Pettys reheeled before, the sole was still in great shape until very recently, when they started to peel off. Thankfully, that was also easily fixed at the cobbler's. My current go-to shop reheels my boots for $20 and replaces the sole and heels for $40 total, which I think is a fairly good deal by NYC standards. Because I generally needed to reheel my Pettys twice a year, and most shops are a little pricier than my current one, I've definitely spent more than the original ~$120 cost of the shoes on repairs by now.

But it's been well worth it, because I don't think I'd quite know what to do when I finally need to replace my main pair of Pettys. I so rarely see anything with a near-identical design. Currently, it's maybe just the Blondo Villa booties, but they use a more suede-looking leather that wouldn't be as versatile in my wardrobe. Neither of the current Sam Edelman booties (the intentionally distressed leather Packer with their more casual look, or the more pointy-toed Walden) are that similar. The Petty booties might not have the most fashionable or interesting look, with their round toe and fairly low heel, but that's probably what I like about them. I even consider them appropriate for court in the fall/winter, when I wear them with black tights and a skirt suit. 

How often do people normally get their shoes reheeled and/or resoled anyway? I go often for new heels for my boots, basically twice a year each for both Pettys and my knee-high riding boots; Generally once at the start of NYC's extended fall/winter season and again a month or two from the end. I'd expect that high-heel shoes with skinny heels probably need new heel caps fairly frequently, but I wear them so rarely that the issue doesn't come up (the also-discontinued Sam Edelman Tristan pumps, which have a slightly shorter heel than their current basic pump, the Hazel, are my current super-conservative job interview shoe of choice, but basically no other event, even most court appearances, could convince me to wear them). I'd never actually needed any repairs done on any of my ballet flats before, I'd wear them out completely in a way that probably couldn't be repaired, by rubbing unsightly holes in the outer edges of the uppers (due to my wide feet and probably how I walk) long before reheeling or resoling was ever an issue. Now that I own a pair of leather loafers, however (another Sam Edelman shoe, the Loraine - clearly I'm very fond of the brand, and their shoes typically work well for my feet), those seem to need reheeling semi-frequently, maybe also once or twice a year when worn on and off all year round, though a lot less often in fall and winter.

This post was partially inspired by my having done some shoe shopping during the recent Shopbop sale. I tried on the Rachel Comey Mars bootie I was so taken by a few months ago, but alas, that particular shoe wasn't right for me at all. There's no zipper, which makes them hard to put on, and the shape of them is such that I had to maneuver quite a bit to get them on my foot, despite having sized all the way up to an 8.5 (which did otherwise fit). I also found the leather a bit oddly stiff and thin-seeming for a shoe of that price, it just wasn't what I was used to. I was terribly disappointed that they wouldn't work for me, because they can look so chic on others. I also ordered the Sam Edelman Leah because of their Chanel-like look and my general good experiences with the brand, but those just didn't fit me, they may run a bit bigger than expected, or just are difficult to get a good fit on because of the slingback design. Both shoes had been on my main shopping list before I made the order, though I took the Leahs off now that I know I'm not going to want them, and could delete the Mars booties too*.

*I guess that's one complication with how I've been maintaining my main shopping list on Pinterest, because I put items on, but remove some inconsistently when they've been purchased or because I've tried and rejected them. It'll be hard to keep track of how the list has changed over time that way. I have to think about whether there's a better, slightly more consistent way to manage the list!

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