Sunday, November 20, 2011

Shoes You Don't Just Wear

They say a woman first looks at a man's shoes and is able to tell a lot about him from his footwear. I don't know if this is true or not but I like to assume that it is. Better safe than sorry, right?

Maybe that's part of the reason I like shoes so much. Or maybe it has more to do with the idea of encasing one's feet, not really the prettiest part of the body, in something that's enjoyable to look at.

But it seems nowadays fewer men enjoy shoes; shoes are more or less utilitarian in this day and age. Men: if you're wearing shoes right now or have a pair laying around nearby, take a look at them. Are they pleasing to the eye? Do they make you happy (or as happy as shoes can make someone)? Are they stylish and classy? Hopefully you answered 'yes' to these questions.

If you did, you are one of the lucky few who get a small amount of joy out of wearing good quality, stylish footwear. Why the joy? Because stylish, comfortable, quality-made shoes are so hard to come by anymore. They can stand out from a crowd, if anyone's looking. And that's the point: the things that make nice shoes nice are in the details and will be lost on the average observer. Part of enjoying good footwear is the secret knowledge that your shoes are better than those worn by everyone else. Smug feet.

Check out the pair of shoes below.
They're vintage Stetson (no ties to the hat company) shoes made of alligator leather.

click images to enlarge

Very rare, very well made and a perfect fit for my large feet.

The patterns, colors and textures are something to behold. And they shined up like no other pair of shoes I've seen before, even better than true patent leather. You should have seen them when I first bought them: tossed away, scuffed, horribly creased, dusty, dirty, a price tag stapled through the side. Discarded.

I consider the shoes above to be wearable works of art. They were constructed decades ago by a skilled craftsman using some of the best materials and techniques available. Time, experience, sweat and maybe even some blood went into making them. That is something worth valuing and maintaining.

If a famous piece of artwork like "The Starry Night" is stolen, damaged or lost people around the world would rightfully be aghast. It's the same way with me when a pair of shoes like these are thrown out, left to rot or not cared for.

These aren't shoes you just wear. These are shoes you wear. You don't wear alligator shoes to go to Wal-Mart, you don't throw them on for a trip to the laundromat. You probably don't even want to wear them to church very often. These are special shoes mainly for the special occassions. Like that dinner suit in your closet or those special cufflinks in your drawer: you only break them out to celebrate.
The occasion makes the shoes special and the shoes help make the occasion even more special.

I guess that's why I like nice shoes.


Prinz Ulrich von Boffke said...

What a find! Did you snap a "before" photo, showing the poor state of this pair of shoes before you went to work refurbishing them?

Best Regards,

Ulrich von B.

Will said...

Unfortunately in my excitement to get them spiff up I forgot to snap photos.

Anonymous said...

Ain't the internet great? Your little essay on shoes is a manifesto for Thrift Shop Elitism. "Smug feet" indeed! For the price of a few cups of coffee, and the time it takes to develop a trained eye, you can wear shoes to be proud of.

Roger said...

Very nice shoes, a rich colour. And like Prinz Ulrich I'd liked to have seen a 'before' photo.

Just the idea of a price tag "stapled" through the side makes me nauseous!

jes pong k'ho said...

Nowadays, shoes is important for active people like sporting man, so nice shoes is not enough, it must a right pair of shoe that fit you most, a shoes in which keep your foot comfortable and full of support.

best shoes for supination


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