Boots With Soul: An Ode to Beautiful Soles
If I were more on top of my game, I would have taken all my favorite boots to the cobbler this summer, before I actually wanted to wear them again. Instead, they recently spent a few weeks at the shoe hospital, and I, newly craving fall looks after a drop in humidity and a summer of sundresses, missed them in the meantime. It was undoubtedly a joyous reunion to pick them up this past Saturday.
There's something about repairs that make me feel a genuine affection for an inanimate article of clothing. Not new, but just a little bit improved... a recommitment to the long haul. Already broken in. Already mine... even more mine!
My go-to spot is Philip's Shoe Repair in DC. Run by a man and a woman from Sicily, the woman who runs the front (wish I knew her name!), used to chide me for bringing in shoes with cheaply made soles and plastic details - "throwaway" fashion shoes. "We can't fix these! Buy real shoes!" Point taken.
I started to pay attention to craftsmanship, comfort, and durability when buying shoes. Last year that led to two well researched purchases: a pair of black ankle boots from Madewell, and some all-weather stompers from Camper. It also recommitted me to my Frye knee-high boots: when I was in high school, one of my mother's clients gave them to my mom, and my mom gave them to me. Lord knows how old they are (my mom's guess is from the 80's), but they are perfectly aged after miles of wear. All three were due for a tune up this fall. When I brought them into the shop, my Sicilian lady nodded her head in approval. These, these boots, they could fix.
Every pair of shoes I've taken to Philip's have returned glowing in good health, if a shoe could glow. Straight forward yet magical, there is loving, decent work that goes into the stitches and soles. Philip installed leather treads onto the bottoms of the Madewell's, sewed a seam on the Campers, shined and polished up the Frye's, and nailed hardcore covers into all the heels to prevent them from wearing down.
Back to stomping in boots with diamonds on the soles!