Footwear feats

August 11, 2009

Feat the first: it appears that near-new shoes trade at a steep discount on Trademe. And so I acquired a pair of barely-worn Loake loafers for $70 instead of three or four hundred. I was careful to measure up some well-fitting shoes I already own and check them with the seller, since shoes sizes are a confusing mess in New Zealand. My intuition is that these were some old dude’s shoes from the back of the wardrobe: the style is vintage, even though the soles were barely scratched. Some people might be a bit squeamish about dead men’s shoes, but I would hate for my best shoes to go out to the tip and I’d like someone who appreciates them to have them.

Feat the second: my favourite black shoes are being resoled. I had thought they were past saving, because they’re rubber-soled and the soles have worn through at the ball, but the cobbler said he can do it for $85. Since the uppers are in beautiful nick, I regard this as a saving, because replacing the shoes with their new equivalent would cost more than twice that.

I’m also stoked to have found a good shoe repairer. (At least I hope he’s good. I’ll report back in a week when I pick them up.) This means that if I spot a good shoe at the op shop, and it needs some love, I’ll have someone I can take it to.

I think I’ve mentioned Vimes’ Theory of Economic Injustice before, but it seems apposite to repeat here:

Vimes reflects that he can only afford ten-dollar boots with thin soles which don’t keep out the damp and wear out in a season or two. A pair of good boots, which cost fifty dollars, would last for years and years – which means that over the long run, the man with cheap boots has spent much more money and still has wet feet.



  1. Looking forward to your appraisal of the cobbler – plenty of life in the uppers of my favourite black ankle boots but they’re soon going to be due a resoling, I think.

  2. The only problem with second hand shoes
    what if that person had verrucas?
    so give them a good cleaning inside and out before wearing

  3. I am puzzled as to why the op shops have few shoes, but the vintage shops have many cowboy boots.

  4. which cobbler? we go to that old gent in the bnz.

    he did a great job fixing the pram for the boy too.

  5. Bulgarian chap on Victoria St between Manners St and Bond St.

  6. I just went out and spent most of $300 on some boots, with Vime’s theory in mind. Warm, dry, and comfortable, hopefully for the best part of a decade.

    Repair is very much worthwhile. It’s also worth buying new things with an eye on how they can be maintained and repaired.

  7. Yes. But you must choose your cobbler carefully. Some will just slap on a rubber sole, regardless of the uppers. One told me that my Chelsea boots were beyond economical repair, because soles and heels would cost $100; obviously he did not know Vimes, or appreciate that the boots had cost eight times that.

    It is notable – and rather saddening – that a lot of op shop clothing, made twenty or thirty years ago, will outlast clothes made a few weeks ago.

  8. But… all the fragile tat of yesteryear has already fallen apart and never makes it to the op shop. I know quality has declined so clothes can be sold more cheaply, but what we find in op shops would give us a false impression of how well made clothes used to be.

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