Rachel, my wife, has a shoe cupboard.
Well, actually, it’s more like a shoe gallery. Don’t get me wrong. It’s far from opulent. But in the his and hers shoe contest there is a clear winner.
To me it seems that there are rows and rows of shoes: some shiny, some worn. But each has its own story to tell. There are shoes for the house. There are shoes for work. Shoes for going out. Shoes for playing. Shoes to be happy and shoes to be sad.
Every pair has had its moment in the sun: when it was purchased, rippling with excitement, as the box was opened, the shoes put on, laced up and admired for the very first time.
Rachel loves her shoes.
In a corner of this gallery there is a small ghetto for my shoes. In essence, I have a pair of thongs, a pair of runners, and three pairs of black work shoes which are used for everything else as well.
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The items which adorn my feet have never given me the same satisfaction as they do for Rachel. Her shoes are a seamless extension of her being. While my shoes never seem to fit. They make my feet sore and cause me blisters. Whenever I have finally found a pair that are comfortable they soon develop holes in their soles or come apart at the seams.
Shoes don’t like me. And yet Rachel loves her shoes and they love her back.
Then I had a conversation with William which changed my life. An old friend who is a shoe retailer, William gave me a shoe intervention.
He told me it was time that I grew up. “Life is too short to regard garments and apparel in simply utilitarian terms. They are the way the world sees you and in turn a reflection of how you see yourself.” This was more philosophy than I was expecting as I rubbed my aching feet.
He continued: “Shoes are about attention and detail. They carry with them the love of their maker. Humanity is denied when their essence is ignored.”
William was going deep but he had me listening.
“Go to a real shoe shop like McClouds in Queen Street. Be properly fitted and buy a beautiful pair of Loakes shoes. When you see the price … suck it up and then buy two more pairs. The more you spread their use the better the shoes will wear. And the more you pay upfront the longer the shoes will last and the less you will pay over time. When it comes to the shoe economy, more is actually less.”