Shoes Blues.

posted in: Day In The Life 11
Wikipedia says these boots are silk, but don't they look like velvet? Either way, they belonged to Queen Sofia of Switzerland (1836-1913). Work it, girl.
Wikipedia says these boots are silk, but don’t they look like velvet? Either way, they belonged to Sophia of Nassau, Queen of Sweden and Norway from 1872 to 1907. Work it, girl!


After hitting a wall this past week — I’m afraid my iron levels didn’t improve much after the infusions and I was also in six states last week for heaven’s sake — I’m back and would like to talk about shoes.

I am hard on them.

Angel and the other cobblers at Shoe Hospital at the Monadnock Building in the Loop know me by name, that’s how often I’m in there to get repairs done. It’s not because the boys don’t do a good job fixing up my shoes: It’s that I keep on breakin’ ’em down. But why?

It’s hard for me to admit this, but I tend to drag my left heel a little. You won’t notice it unless a) you’re a hunter, tracking me through the icy tundra! or b) a cobbler, repairing my shoes. I wear down both the heels from all the city walking I do, but the left heel sole always goes first. After just a few months, the metal tip of the heel starts breaking through the rubber and I’m back at Shoe Hospital, forking over the dough and feeling a little sheepish that I’m there again so soon.

Part of this is because I’m a high-heel fan. I don’t wear stilettos for heaven’s sake (well, not in the daytime, anyway) but a bit of a heel on my shoes is de rigueur. I’m the shortest in my family, so a sensible heel helps with that. But I also just enjoy being a girly-girl. It’s fun! The problem is that when you wear pumps and…scuffle a little like I do — ugh! — the result is that you have to go see Angel for new heel nibs and a patch job on the scuffs and tears while he’s at it.

The scuffs and tears aren’t the fault of my weird, quasi-Quasimodo leg drag thing, though; such repairs are needed when you stick a high-heeled shoe through a few too many subway grates. (It occurs to me I should invoice the City of Chicago for some of these repairs. I’m sure they’d be happy to help with that.) I’m sure I wouldn’t need so many repairs if I lived upon the rolling meadows of [insert pastoral locale here] and ran errands back and forth on soft grasslands. We can never know.

It’s a good thing that I like shoes. A lot. My very favorite wardrobe item is the coat, hands down, but shoes run a close second. This means that if a pair of mine really go kaput, it’s okay. Not only do I have backup, I won’t have to drag (!) myself to go find a suitable replacement. That’s an errand I can handle for sure.

But I also really like going to the cobbler. It feels good to pay a little to get a good pair of shoes fixed up good as new instead of tossing them out and buying a new pair. (It might be the same part of my personality that doesn’t throw out food if it’s been sitting out all night — within reason!I try to take care of the material things I am fortunate enough to enjoy. I’m lucky and I try to be responsible about that.

It’s good to see you, good to be seen. There’s so much to tell you. I started with shoes, started at the bottom.

11 Responses

  1. Kelly Fox
    | Reply

    The Shoe Hospital is just tops!!! And they’re so nice! I feel like they should have a rewards punch card for people like us.

  2. Lut de Meulder
    | Reply

    I buy cheap shoes at DSW and throw them out after a season. If I really love them I’ll take them to the shoe hospital, otherwise they go into the trash. .I do love shoes: my husband calls me Imelda(Marcos)

  3. Kathi Montoya
    | Reply

    One of the hardest days I ever had was when I realized (for medical/balance/age reasons) I had to give up heels. They sat in my closet for a year,. But…then I gave myself a good mental shake and realized that these were just things after all (albeit much dearly loved), and I decided to donate them. Since I am fanatical about caring for my things, they were in excellent condition, boxed, and labeled. However, being sky-high, strappy, and delicate I couldn’t realistically donate them to like a women’s shelter. So I donated 64 pairs (some were 20 years old!) to a community college’s drama department, where they will have a second life ‘treading the boards’…I did keep one pair, 4-inch black velvet, embroidered with vivid-colored flowers. Now in a shadow box as an objet d’ arte, and i love them for the sheer beauty and the fun they gave me. So…YES…I so understand your love for shoes, and the many trips to the cobbler; I’ve wended down that road too! Love your writing and I find you very inspiring.

    • Charlotte
      | Reply

      Now that would have been a collection to see!

  4. Suzan
    | Reply

    I missed you and are glad you are back. I love shoes too, unfortunately my feet only love flip flops.

  5. Bethany
    | Reply

    When you walk with another person at your side in a wide open area do you bump into the other person? I wear one shoe out significantly more than the other and tend to walk in a series of slight arcs, like a scalloped edge. I have one leg just a tiny bit shorter than the other, tiny like 3/8″ and that caused my issues.

  6. linda schiffer
    | Reply

    I had to give up wearing heels of any height yeas ago due to a bad back and arthritis. I like to admire shoes as an art and architectural subject, too. 🙂

    Being both silk and velvet is quite possible for that Queen’s shoes – silk velvet is a thing, you know.

    🙂 Linda

  7. Heidi
    | Reply

    Cobblers are the best! They make once new treasures into lasting comfy friends. I do not love to shop because I am a discerning shopper; the clothes and *shoes I buy must last not one season but many seasons. So now you know why I choose to call my shoes friends. Cobblers keep me from loosing my valued friendshipsand keep me out of the stores.
    *Torentorp clogs are my go to shoe.

  8. Kathryn Darnell
    | Reply

    People often have a certain ‘code’ they live by. You know, the ‘Be kind to one another, Don’t chew with your mouth full’. My little mantra is ‘Always have good shoes and a good bed. If you’re not in one you’re in the other.’ Wear your shoes with flare and a smile. Glad you are home and be kind to Mary!

  9. Vivian
    | Reply

    As for the photo, I suspect it is silk velvet! Yum!

  10. Jean
    | Reply

    Oh. You have told me about anywhere place to go when I get my dream vacation to hicago.

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