My favorite shoes died. I finally had to throw them away and I really miss them. They were silver wedge Jambu sandals with an ankle strap and really good traction. I bought them a year ago and have worn them at least four times a week since. I wore them to Disneyland last summer, walking at least eight hours each day with never even the slightest annoyance.
My top priority with shoes is that they be cute. Ooooops. I mean that they be comfortable. Yes, that they be comfortable. So when I find a pair that are comfortable and actually cute, I cling to them.
These shoes wore out peacefully enough, first wearing through the sole in patches, then beginning to lose individual straps. It wasn’t until I wore them camping, though, that they really gave in. I happened to be wearing them for travel. I had brought along another pair of practical shoes for the actual camping. However, being me, I took the practical shoes off after an hour — they got wet in the river — and then promptly lost them. I did manage to find them under our tent when we packed up three days later, but by this point my comfortable and cute silver sandals were destroyed. They held out for various hikes from the cabin to the river, but it was wading through the river that did them in. They gave their all and lived a very honorable life, I’m happy I was able to enjoy them as long as I did.
I’ve had other shoes wear out. Some I was able to just replace, others I took to Saager’s Shoe Shop in Milton-Freewater for repair. The shoe repair people at Saagers are practically miracle workers. (Click here to read Karlene Ponti’s article about Saager’s from the April 30 Weekly.)
I found two pairs of fabulous (and, yes, comfortable) wedge heel sandals at an estate sale about 10 years ago. They are from an Italian company called Famolare and are the Hi There model. One is navy blue and the other is brown. I love these shoes. Love. I wear them everywhere and can walk in them comfortably, plus they are stylish and look good with everything. I read on a recent search online that the Famolare company is out of business, not to mention a pair like mine are for sale on eBay for over $100. Wow. I’m tempted to just leave them on display in my closet now. Thanks to Saager’s I was able to get them resoled the two times they started to show some wear. Did I mention I love those shoes?
I have worn other items of clothing to death. Is this a family trait, that we find one item of clothing and wear it ad nauseam until it disintegrates? My younger brother, Daniel, has been known to wear clothes out too. There’s a Misfits shirt I won’t mention, a gray sweatsuit ad a pair of blue moon boots.
But I’ll let Daniel off the hook. When I was in my early 20s I found a cashmere cardigan, robin’s egg blue, at an estate sale (the same one as the shoes; I think the name was Snyder, classy lady). I wore that poor sweater to shreds. It started with a small hole at the wrist, then the elbow, then a larger one in the armpit. Eventually the sweater just disappeared. I tried to cling to it, eventually pulling a similar black cashmere cardigan over the top of it, making it a holey liner. But the beautiful blue cardigan just could not endure the endless wearing and washing, and today all that remains are some mother-of-pearl buttons and one small swatch of material. I still miss you, sweater.
To the contrary, my own children do not wear out clothes or shoes out. They seem to enjoy variety in dressing much more than I do. My son usually has some type of costume going. He rotates between being a pirate, a ninja and an assortment of different superheroes. My daughter, surely only to prevent wear on her clothes, changes outfits about five times a day. She has an affinity for elaborately decorated tops and dresses — the more sparkle and lace, the better.
Me? I still wear clothes out. As I write this I can feel a little breeze blowing through the hole in the armpit of my favorite pink sweater, I guess this means I may need to retire this one too.
Sara Van Donge is a Walla Walla native and mom to two small children. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.