New shoes hurt? Hurt them back!


The time had arrived for me to purchase dress shoes. While my current leather shoes once looked dressy, the cheap leather they were made from seemed capable of holding a polish for only minutes. With a high fashion bar set by people in Germany in general, and an upcoming wedding of a close friend, it was time to get new shoes.

I have a shoe maker in the family, who hails from Venezuela. I have seen what quality hand-made leather shoes look like. I have also seen how well they wear time – these shoes will look good for a life time, and their construction affords repair. These are not shoes that you pitch. These are the shoes I wanted.

On a shopping trip to Roermund, Netherlands, I believe I found such shoes. These are the first very nice dress shoes I’ve purchased as an adult, and I got all-leather (even the sole) hand made leather shoes. They have a cork foot bed that will eventually follow the curve of my foot, are built to last, and look excellent.

Such shoes do not actually fit a human foot when they are purchased, but instead stretch and yield during the process of wear to become a perfect fitting shoe. Or so I tell myself. I’ve dressed it up a lot, but I’ve really purchased an expensive pair of very nice shoes that hurt like a #other%ucker, and are impractical in some surprising ways. For example, while an all leather sole sound really posh, I’ve discovered that turning even a modest corner on a tile floor can be a recipe for disaster. I discovered this in the men’s room. Three times. In one day. If the stall didn’t have a door I would have slid into the toilet, and perhaps be taking the less scenic route to the river by now. To round this all off, I’ve purchased them at an outlet mall, in another country, so there is no hope of returning them.

Determined to make these shoes work, I am trying to coax the shoes into the correct shape by forming the leather. At the moment I’m using straps to bend the leather near the ankles back (which cuts painfully into my ankles) and to make the sole flex a bit near at the forefoot. Yes, that’s right, shoe bondage. So far the process is going well, and the shoes are nearly wearable. On one particularly chilly morning I even considered warming the shoes in the oven. No torture is too good for these shoes. So if you’re shoes are hurting, hurt them back! It might make them more comfortable to wear.




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