|Leeking Ink #26 Table of Contents
Cover by renown artist Bobby Tran Dale
Coming Out of the Closet...Yes it is true I love shoes
As the story goes I was about 5-years-old and my mother and I were walking along the boardwalk in Atlantic City. I spied a pair of gold sandals in a store window and demanded to have them. They were oddly expensive for such a tacky pair of childrens footwear. I have vague memories of this event, perhaps from being reminded of it. It seems my idiosyncratic love of shoes began here. My mother lived in dread that this event was a harbinger of genetic bad taste. After all, 30 years previously on the very same beach, Blaze Starr walked past my mother and her mother and laughed out loud at the tacky shoes my mothers mother was wearing.
As a wee child it was impossible to keep shoes on my feet. Even as I got older I held a bizarre pride in toughening my soles on Miamis scorching asphalt. However, I was forced into shoes for school. I cant remember clothes I wore as a child, but I can remember my shoes. I remember the clunking of my thick molded plastic sandals with the leather buckle and ankle endangering clogs, both of which were ubiquitous in the 70s. I can recall my Kangaroos and the small Velcro pouch that attached through the laces of my other sneakers. In 7th grade Reebok was all the rage. In stores they were about $40-50 a pair, but if you knew where to look you could find seconds and irregulars for ten bucks. We were living in tents at one point, but I had five pairs of Reeboks. Even at thirteen I could appreciate the irony. Then during Moonlightings heyday (before I realized how completely annoying Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd were), Cybill Shepherd appeared at the Emmys in a formal black gown and day-glo orange Reeboks. I was entranced. My mother hunted high and low and found a pair for me for Christmas. They never looked anything except ridiculous on me, but for sentimental reasons I still have them boxed up in the attic. Actually, looking back, they probably looked ridiculous on her thirteen allows for all sorts of manifestations of questionable judgment.
Then toward the end of high school my inner vegan made its appearance, relegating me to Payless for non-leather shoes. They were so blah and on ethical shaky ground because of their Made in China status. I resigned myself to living with shoes, but not loving them. Then a few years ago I found a few retailers that specialized in fine footwear that didnt involve cow flesh or sweatshops and prison labor. The shoes were expensive, but I went ahead and bought a pair of Doc Marten Coppas and a pair of Vegetarian Shoes Derby Boots. The DMs were the most comfortable pair of shoes I had ever owned. This was a bad thing for my credit card, but my inner shoe whore was happy again. Even now most of my clothes come from the thrift store, but I will overindulge when it comes to shoes.
These are some of my favorite shoes:
DM Coppas - Black
These shoes are still incredibly comfortable and in good shape, despite nearly three years of heavy wear. I am also fond of these shoes for sentimental reasons. I wore them for the first time on one of the most euphoric days of my life. I was in northern England and I had started falling in love the night before.
Vegetarian Shoes Derby Boots - Black
I should have taken a picture of these when I started this article because Emilio decided to chew the toe a little bit. The first time I wore them they took me all over the cliffs at Dover, England and to France that night for a few hours. I put them on in the morning and didnt end up taking them off until the evening of the following day.
Low Chuck Taylors - Maroon
The formerly All-American Converse Chuck Taylors are a favorite of Patricks. At his urging I bought myself a pair last summer. They are more like gloves than shoes. I have worn these to a pulp.
DM Boots Cherry
I had wanted a pair of these boots for about three years. I even tried to order them once, but they were out of my size. Then last October, on my last hellish day of work, Patrick waited until we were on the train home and gave me a card and told me he was getting me a pair as a present. It was one of the single nicest surprises Id ever received. I was buoyant for weeks. They are very comfortable and have traveled all over with me.
Ruby Red Shoes
These are an exuberant red. We went to see Patricks mother after her surgery one day last fall. We were out enjoying a bit of medicinal shopping when I spied these. His mother got them for me (I got Patrick glow in the dark skull pajamas). They are one of my only pairs of cute shoes.
Big Bad Boots - Black
We went to Brighton, England home of Vegetarian Shoes for my 30th birthday. I had looked at these several times before. They are tall (upper mid calf on me) and just wicked cool. Frivolous, but cool.
DM Boots - Magenta Velvet
A few days after the shoe shopping in Brighton we found ourselves walking around the flea market at Camdentown. We were all shopped out and winding our way back through the stalls when I spied these maroon velvet boots sitting by themselves on the floor of one of the shops. I though Well, they are probably leather. No, and they were barely worn. They couldnt possibly be my size. Yes, they were. They must be too expensive. Nope, £15 (about $23). Patrick bought them for me on the spot. They have one weird flaw the tongue migrates. I have to fold my sock over it to keep it in check.
Right now I have my eye on another pair Chuck Taylors, but in good conscience, I cant buy another pair of shoes until I have regular employment. Oh, and there are still some American-made Converse floating around. Try 1-888-CHUCKS1 or www.lastpairs.com. For vegan shoes check out this list of retailers and manufacturers: www.vrg.org/nutshell/leather.htm.