These Old Shoes.
There’s something quite magical about slipping on a pair of shoes that you’ve owned for many years. The feeling of the insoles having moulded to every contour- your heels are gently cupped, the pads caressed... each curve and arch is lovingly known. Your feet have come home.
Of course, like all great things, this takes time. On a recent trip to Paris I lashed out on a pair of new JM Weston loafers - the classic 180 mocassin. You may find this incredibly extravagant, but I’m a firm believer in buying quality - especially when it comes to footwear. I intend to wear these for as long as I can still walk! But, of course the first few wears are an excercise in humility - the leather is stiff, the soles rigid.. they shoes are your master, and boy do they need taming.
After a few days I returned to an old favourite - a pair of Alden cordovans, bought second hand many years ago. I call them my ‘horses arse’. The previous owners’ imprint firmly overwritten by mine, it was like stepping into the mould that made me...or at least from ankles down. I had forgotten how good it felt! My feet knew exactly where to go. It also brought back all of the memories that contributed to these unique imprints - rushing through airports, traipsing around the streets of NYC, Amsterdam, LA, Vancouver... and that one night in Mexico City after too many drinks, wearing a cake for a hat (yes...) and dancing in a run-down mansion at a random party we’d crashed.
I felt almost invincible in these - come rain, hail or shine I knew I would look and feel good. Be it with denim, flannel trousers, a suit... anything goes... even shorts if you’re feeling particularly racy.
Sure, we had some uncomfortable moments in the beginning - some tussles, disagreements and blisters, fighting with a polishing cloth, deer bone and a re-soling or two... but we’re now old friends. I don’t know what I’ll do if and when I ever have to part ways with these. Money and time well spent.
Hmm... I should probably get back into those Westons...
Listen: “These Old Shoes” by Deer Tick