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I came across this picture of Hemingway loafers by Barbanera and was inspired to make a post about a subject I do not believe I have ever written about. The idea of your shoes and wearing them. I feel there are two types of people. Those that beat the heck out of their shoes and those that cherish them like trophies. The question is, which are you? I have always been the latter until recently. Now I am a combination of both. Allow me to explain.

Growing up, I always had two all-white Nike Air Force One’s. It was the standard in my time of youth. One of them was always brand new-in-box, never touched, and one that I wore consistently. But when I say wear, I mean watching every step I took and cleaning before every wear to ensure they stayed as white as could be. Because nothing was more unappealing than dirty-looking shoes. And this type of mentality has been with me pretty much ever since. As I amassed more and more shoes, the more pristine they stayed too, as their subjection to light/the elements became less and less. But as I get older, I find myself gravitating towards the same pairs over and over. And now I have pairs that have never even been worn before and I have had them for at least 2? years. Imagine that. Because my Summer go-to’s are my butterfly loafers and my Winter go-to’s are my chelsea boots and city hikers.

But I never understood taking a shoe to the level highlighted in photo. I don’t think that I could ever bring myself to do that. Frankly, I would never repeat a pair of shoes in the same week, let alone day after day. But always wondered what that was like. When I see this photo, I feel there is almost a sort of freedom to it, to the idea of just not giving a fuck and wearing your shoes to death. To really getting all of your money out of them by pounding them into the ground.

I imagine as I get older, I could get closer to this type of person. My black chelsea boots probably have the most wear of all and the older I get the lazier I get and slipping on a pair of boots sounds more and more appealing each day. It takes me effort to think of my outfits now, an effort that I don’t often care to exert. I am starting to subconsciously create these easy go-to outfits without attempting to be clever and stylish like I once was putting thought into my looks and caring about the end result. Comfort and ease are setting in. Man, a sign of the times. I am getting closer to the top picture more than I think!!

Ha! Just kidding. I will never double a shoe in the same week. Not even when I am 80! Can’t stop being that Shoe Snob!

But…which guy are you? Cherish your shoes? Or wear them like hell!


7 thoughts on “To Be Worn…or To Be Cherished?”

  1. I would say Iím in between. And let me tell you why. I remember when I got my first pair of Santoniís dubmonks, handstained and I swear, the first wear, while I was cooking my meal, a drop of hot oil from the pan jumped and landed on the cap toe of the shoe. I wanted to die. A that time, those were the most expensive shoes Iíve ever bought and now they are ruined.

    Then I got a pair of Red Wing Beckmanís and even though I knew they were sh*t-kickers, I still wasnít ready for that haha. And one time, I took them to a The Kooks concert. As soon as they showed up on the stage, they guy next to me started to jump and spilled some off his beer on my Red Wings. When I got home, saw the stains and wanted to die. So, at this stage, I was at the cherish state.

    Those Santoni dubmoks were bought in 2012 and the Red Wingís in 2015. 8 and 5 years respectively, now they look better than ever. I remember when both incidents happened asking on StyFo on how to get them repaired and I remember when I asked about the Red Wingís a guy told me: ďTheyíre Red Wingís, spill more beer on them.Ē I didnít but kinda understand that they were meant to be worn and not cherish.

    Iím still not at the other end, I still take care of my shoes, rotate them but enjoy wearing them in whatever conditions the day presents. The Santoni dubmonks still have the oil stainís barely noticeable, other people wouldnít know and they look amazing after 8 years. And the Red Wingís, last December I took them to a trip to Vancouver, walked over 16,000 steps a day with them (I obviously took two pairs of boots haha) and we visited a place that was a forest and was raining all the time. They got extremely wet but they fulfilled their purpose, I wasnít cold even though they go tall wet, they water never reached my feet and I had awesome traction to be walking everywhere. Let them dry for a whole day and nothing happened to them.

    Thatís why I am a big fan of shoes. I do cherish them but will not treat them like trophiesÖ I want to wear them.

  2. I used to cherish my shoes, those that I considered expensive. Took pics, put them in the shoe cabinet.
    Then while wearing my watch, cost considerably more than even my most expensive shoes, it hit me that even this watch has some light scratches on its bracelet, even though I’m always being very careful.

    Since then I started wearing all of my shoes, being careful still, after all, shoes are meant to protect my feet, not the other way around.
    And also looking at my leather briefcase, I remember many years ago when I bought it, I always put it inside the cloth bag after each use.
    Then after my 1st business trip carrying that briefcase, putting it through x-ray, overhead cabinet on the plane, then I thought oh well, just wear the briefcase without burdening my mind.

    I can think several more examples like my alligator wallets, etc.
    In conclusion, worn, but not abused, and take care of them cause they will last a long time.

  3. Well, Justin, you just hit a subject that haunts me all the time and everyday. My oldest pair is a whiskey shell Cordovan longwing from Adam of Carmel, and this pair I got back in year 2010 !
    I love the looks, the smell of fresh shells, and the obvious handwork/craft of the pair so much that would not dare them taste the dirt, and could just give them a regular conditioning.
    BUT, I do have a pair from year 2009, a burgundy shell STB, which I have been wearing once a week ever since. Of course, they look still fresh new and shinier then new, as if just out of the box; have had two resoles done to them.
    Having about more than 2 dozen pairs for at least 14 years, I could tell you that itís all about putting your heart and mind in balancing the usage and maintenance.
    To be honest, the more craft obvious on the pair, the more it gets in the cherish-camp, I feel. And yes, out of that vast selection that we snobs amass over time, there would be those super-loved once for the feel, comfort and looks.
    Appreciate bringing this up, you are genuine, you speak out the heart for most of us.

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Thanks for sharing and for your kind words Nadeem. I appreciate them as well as the support in the blog. Thank you

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