Some people enjoy shoe shopping, and who knows? I might be one of them, if there was any chance of me actually finding what I am looking for. It has been about seven years since I last found a suitable pair of footwear in a shop, and even those were one size too large (but since they’re boots, I tend to wear them with thicker socks anyway, so it works).
What I want is not, I would have thought, excessive or unreasonable. What I want is only one pair of Just Right shoes: a plain neat pair of brown leather shoes in size 5 1/2.
My favourite shoe shop’s nearest equivalent (aside from the Ideal Pair which briefly appeared in only one width: narrower than most), was a clunky pair of broad-soled shoes in brown leather and purple snakeskin with neon orange stitching and laces. I am tempted to suspect that this may have something to do with why they are now in the hands of administrators.
This illustrates the problem: for women’s shoes these days, there seem to be two settings: basic black, and Funky As All Get Out. Glitter, cut-outs, clashing colours, freaky textures – it’s all happening. What, I ask you, happened to a nice ladylike navy blue? And if it comes to that, since men’s shoes are still frequently made in brown leather, why can’t mine be?
Why does everything have to be jazzy, or holey, or plasticky, or flimsy, or cripplingly arched, or barely holding to the foot in order to display toe cleavage (gawdelpus), or even All Of The Above?
But – almost unbelievably – I have at last sighted what looks like a Just Right pair of shoes. There’s only one problem. They cost $200 and I can’t try them on before I buy. Here they are: the perfect shoes. Made in the 1950s and yet not second-hand: they’re what they call New Old Stock, meaning it’s been around a long time but is still unused. Old, and yet still officially new.
So now I find myself facing the question: do I splash out on the perfect shoes in the hope that they will also turn out to be a perfect fit (secondary hope: to recoup some of the cost by reselling them, if they don’t), or do I hope that my present three pairs of shoes will last me until the black/freaky dichotomy fades away?
Of those three pairs, one actually is a pair of brown lace-up shoes (acquired second-hand online), but the fit leaves something to be desired – I can’t wear them all day without getting sore feet. The other two pairs fit very comfortably, but after many years’ service (they’re about nine and eleven years old), the cobbler has announced that they’ve had all the mending they’ll take. Their days are numbered.
What do you think?