Sunday, July 5, 2009

Sole Mates

I am just going to say it: I love my shoes.

As a single, 27 year old with no pets, or even plants; they are my children. And as any good parent, I take extremely good care of my babies: all 55 pairs of them (not including flip flops, sneakers, snow or rain boots of course!). And while shoes certainly are not children, they do require constant upkeep: the price you pay for a pair of shoes is not limited to the day you purchase them.

Sure, some people rely on the philosophy that you buy a pair of shoes and wear them until they are worn out, which is not a terrible thing to do if the shoes do not cost much to begin with. But, as I tend to find myself drawn towards more expensive footwear (at a discount of course!), I refuse to leave them to the elements unarmed. I spray all leather and suede with water repellent, I keep the "special" pairs confined to the office and locations to and from which I am taking a cab, and never hesitate to bring any pair to the doctor: otherwise known as the shoe repair.

No one should ever underestimate the importance of a good shoe guy. You wouldn't take your kids to any old dentist, ophthalmologist, or pediatrician, would you? Okay okay, I know, shoes are not children, but they are the closest things I have at the moment. And, like I will my kids, I spoil them. While many swear by the "Best Doctors" issue of New York magazine, it is "Best of New York" issue that is my bible, and I live by the gospel of Empire Shoe Repair. Located on Lexington Avenue between 71st and 72nd Streets, this tiny hole-in-the-wall takes all my old soles and restores them to their original luster.

Of course, the importance of a shoe repair goes far beyond what you may initially imagine. They do much better work than just putting on a new heel or a no-slip sole. They can stretch the toe box, fix nicks, recolor any part of the shoe, they even work on handbags and other leather goods. Ever have a belt that needs more holes? They do it for free. Need it to be shortened? Expect to spend around $10. Trust me, you do not know how good your shoes can look until they have been in the hands of a seasoned leather surgeon. Think of it as a face lift for your shoes, it shaves off years!

Everyone who knows me is aware that I have a weakness for incredible footwear. I tend to choose a new pair of designer shoes over many other things in life (food, activities, vacations). I am not condoning this behavior, as it is not especially helpful for my non existent savings account. But, if I am going to choose to invest my money in shoes, I do so wisely, and look for a good return: years of wear. To ensure my shoes look as new as the day I took them home, I must rely on "my shoe guy," as I so lovingly refer to him. He is my insurance, and I know my shoes are in good hands. Finding a good match for your soles is a much easier task than finding one for your soul. And while shoes can not call you on your birthday, they sure can take you out on the town. And trust me, you will look and feel fabulous.