Posts Tagged ‘shoes’

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Walking in other men’s shoes

July 1, 2010

I reckon I’ve spent about $120 on shoes on Trade Me this year. For this outlay I’ve received four pairs of very solid, classy, high end shoes — classic style, old-school welts, leather sole, good condition. Only one pair has not fit, and I’m going to sell it again, or maybe trade them in at my favourite second hand clothes shop, so I expect to realise a small loss on them. I reckon I am still well, well ahead of the game here. I have shoes which prompt unsolicited compliments for a fraction of the price they would have cost new. In fact, I found one pair of the very same make and style in a Cuba St vintage shop for twice what I paid on Trade Me.

Trade Me’s saved search facility has been very helpful. I have a saved search in the mens shoes 8-8.5 category on “´╗┐´╗┐loake OR barker OR grenson OR church OR vintage” which pretty much covers anything of interest, ie English-made welted shoes and odd old ones. The thing about the English welted shoes is that they are generally made to a very high standard and are designed to be resoled and have a long life.

Another thing I’ve learned is to ask for measurements as well as the size. People can be a bit vague about US vs UK sizes, and sizing varies anyway, so find out how long and how wide the shoes are and compare this with a pair that fits.

Knowing how to do a good spit shine has also brought them up a treat. Old leather, well polished, looks better to me than new.

About the only problem is that the shoes are very nice, and the pleasure of acquiring a bargain is strong, so I’m kind of tempted now to keep going and buy more shoes than I need. I guess I need to delete that saved search…

At a meta level, I believe I’ve practised proper purchasing. I read up on the subject. I looked around to find out what the normal price was. I took the time to find a cheap source. I lurked and ruminated before buying. Mission accomplished.

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Cobblers!

August 28, 2009

Yesterday I picked up my shoes from the cobbler.

The shoes in question were Hush Puppies with lovely bouncy rubber soles, but the lovely bouncy soles had worn down over the years to the point where they let the water in. The uppers on the other hand have been lovingly polished so that in many ways they look better than when they were new.

I took them to the chap on Victoria St just down from the Post Office and Manners Mall. He charged me $85 and did what appears to be a pretty decent job. I now have new hard rubber soles which appear to be attached neatly and soundly. My feeling is that these shoes have way more life left in them than a new $85 pair, so: win.

I also learned that it would cost $45 to get protective rubber soles put on leather-soled shoes.

I’m happy, but shoe repair is not something I do that often, so I don’t know whether these rates are reasonable or not. Thoughts?

Bonus fun fact! Cobblers, as an expression meaning testicles or nonsense, is Cockney rhyming slang. “Cobblers’ awls” me old chinas.

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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.