Some boots are simple homes for our feet. Some are utility vehicles built for certain purposes. Some come to us with style and flair for special occasions. And some boots take you around the world, through love and loss and more love, through your own city streets and pathways. These are the boots you want to have in your life forever, the ones you take to your cobbler again and again, the ones that go into your traveling bag every time.
These Fluevog boots are that special. They were relatively new when the customer first brought them to me in 2009, right after I opened the shop in our first location on North Vancouver Ave. She had been looking for her cobbler and as we talked, it became clear I was the right fit. Everyone walks, but this customer walked everywhere she went, five to ten miles of walking every day. These boots were her best walkers, and they completed her look to the perfection of a modern Mary Poppins.
At first it was just the heels. Then the soles. Then the zippers. And the heel counter linings. Heels again. Heels again. Patches at various stress points. Zippers again. Heels. Patches on patches on patches. At some point, five years or so ago, I told the customer that whatever we were doing in that round would probably be the last round for these boots and suggested she start looking for her next steady walking boots.
She nodded and said “we’ll see.”
They didn’t go to rest after that round. They have been back two or three times a year since then, on lighter duty as they’re old now and don’t want to work as hard as they did when they were young.
In July 2019, the customer came in with all her shoes for a final round of care and maintenance in my shop; she had fallen in love and was moving to Spain for new adventures with her mate. Undoubtedly, she has found a cobbler there who appreciates her magical presence, tenacity, ethics toward restoration, and her boots with their long history of shoe repair.
Not only did we add years to the lives of these favorite boots, we added to the common fabric of our community with our rapport and the stories that came from a decade of repair. Shoe repair is practical magic, useful and a little mysterious all at once.
Remember these things:
Buy the best quality footwear you can, even if it means saving up for shoes a little at a time.
When you find a brand that works for your feet and your lifestyle, stick with them.
Walk. It’s good for you in every way.
Take care of your shoes. Keep them clean and condition the leather and let them dry out between wearings.
Find a cobbler you trust and go to them regularly.