In the mid to late aughts, my student loan was paid off, I had a healthy not yet teen-aged car, a decent enough job, and I bought a lot of shoes.
Not really a lot – maybe at or just under a dozen pairs, and not fancy-pants impractical heels and such, but sturdy and comfortable European-made clogs and rubber-soled boots and shoes. It was also the heyday for a few online shops with good brands that have since been bought out and aren’t really worth the time anymore…
I’m finally killing some of those shoes – the clogs have always had a maddening indeterminate self-destruct date – you might get 3 years, you might get 15, but they will crumble beneath your feet at an incredibly inconvenient time. And the others are on a scale of still pretty damn good, need more frequent polishing but have years left, or something needs to change in order for me to continue to wear them and/or I should just sell them.
I don’t take pictures of my shoes very often – I haven’t drunk that IG kool-aid – but I found a fiber-appropriate image of a pair of boots I’ve been giving the side-eye recently, taken as I shopped for 1 euro cones of yarn in Firenze several years, and much less grey hair ago.
(I still haven’t knitted up the yarn I got, but it’s on the novelty spectrum, so I was waiting for the middle-aged desire for an abfab shawl to kick in, and I’ll be damned if I’m pretty much there now.)
Anyway, these old boots (El Naturalistas acquired for a song) had an annoying top knitted portion that looked like a chunky sock peeking up – I liked it for a bit – I had several orange thrift sweaters that went well with them, but then they started to look matted and pilly. I shaved them a few times, but by then the boots were stretching out a little and the laces were fake so I couldn’t tighten them, and the boots devoured my socks more and more.
The design also sucked a bit because the top was attached, so they pulled on and then zipped, like an uncomfortable business dress.
I unpicked the knitted part and found some blue suede underneath – I kinda liked it and left it for a few weeks but got annoyed by the sock munching and pull-on thing again. And at this point, I was still considering dying them black too.
I unpicked the suede and freed the zipper – luckily it was the closing/locking/whatever you call it kind.
And unpicked the fake sewn-on laces that you can’t really see.
I cut off the zipper ends and trimmed the lining, and ran a line of stitches through the holes left by the suede and knitting that secured the lining and covered up the ugly holes.
And with functioning laces (though the boot doesn’t open there) they’ve got a better second life, though they still need a polish. I really need black boots now, so I’m still slightly flirting with the idea of dying them, but likely not…
I have a much-loved cobbler who could clean up the tops a bit more with a band of leather trim, but let’s see if the soles hold up a bit first.
(And I’m thinking of knitting another couple of cuffs…)