Giving Up the Ghost

It has finally come to pass: I went out and purchased a new pair of Birks at lunch today. Yesterday my old ones (and until today at lunch my only ones) finally wore through enough that I was blistering my feet walking on them. In my book, when that sort of thing starts happening it’s time to go.

I hate shopping for shoes. Hate, Hate, HATE. I wear a size 12 (10.5 mens) super skinny (double A if it means anything to you, and that’s up from my high school width of Quad A) shoe and it has always been a pain in the keester to get shoes that A. fit and B. look like anything I really want to wear. Usually it stops at A though. It’s incredibly depressing to walk into a Payless or someplace like that which is supposed to be the shoe haven for people in need of footwear and have to walk past row upon row of dwindling candidates until I get to my section. All 20 boxes that they stock for my foot size have a habit of looking forlornly at me; half of them with fugly eyes and half of them dreaming of one day being owned by a drag queen.

Don’t even get me started about the men’s section. Unless they come in linguini width I slop all over in the shoe when I walk. That’s not too comfortable, although 10.5 is a nice selection size for men. Lots of foot wear just begging me to at least try them on. Hey! You! Stop a moment and take me down from here. Look, I’ll suck it in! I might fit! No really! Look, I’m kinda cute too, see? Not too girly yet not brimming with testosterone. No wait, come back, I’m the shoe for you!

Most of my shoes are more or less decent fitting men’s shoes (or maybe the incredibly lucky woman’s cute shoe find) I pick up at Meijers or Payless. One thing that is for certain though, I’ll wear my shoes down to nibbly nubs before I finally decide that I need to go out and get another pair. I had one pair of tennies that went through about 4 sets of laces, all of the foot padding in the inside and most of the soles before I threw them away. I had even resorted to duct taping them to keep them together just to hold onto them a little bit longer (like 6 months). I do not like the thought of having to go out and get Another Pair of Shoes.

This time out, however, I was smart. I looked at the size of my Birks (43, for you stalkers out there) and I remembered the style so I planned to mosey on over and get another of the same. That way I wouldn’t have to worry about if they fit or not because, well, they do. I tried them on anyway and boy do they feel weird. I have beaten my old Birks into comfy submission wearing them almost none stop since July 2002 so they have done that patented Birk “form to your feet” thing they have going on and the new ones, of course, hadn’t. Still, it’s the same deal so I bought them. I also tried on a shoe in the Tatami line (with inside fuzz!), which is basically a closed toe shoe and daaaaaaamn, they were comfy.

I decided on only picking up a pair of the new Birks that are exactly like my old Birks though because I just cringe at the thought of spending close to $100 on a pair of shoes. It’s a pair of shoes! Albeit a very comfy pair of shoes that I managed to get 20 continuous months (give or take about 10 days. No really, 10 days. Even in the snow I wore these things!) of wearing out of. That’s about $4.50 a month (the old ones were on sale!). Still, I’m not sure I got the best of deals. The pair of shoes I wore prior to the Birks (but not all weather year round) were about $50 and lasted me 33 months or, $1.50 a month. True, they lasted longer because I kept them as work shoes only but…

So my real question is: Who won? My old Birks and I have been at war for as long as I can remember; they were trying to kill me at every opportunity where they thought they might be able to get away with it and I have been stubbornly wearing them non-stop in hopes of running them into the ground beyond all hope of salvation. Preferably after several years if only to offset the cost. I succeeded in wearing them to little nibbly nubs but I was rather hoping to make them last at least into this summer. I would have conceded in July and gotten a new pair then anyhow but after the instep leather gave way and the cork began to crumble (leaving a GIANT HOLE where the ball of my toes stepped) I was pretty much forced into getting new shoes. I may have to admit defeat. Hee, I slay me!

On the other hand…Birkenstock will resole ($30), resole/recork ($40) or just plain recraft ($60) the whole darned shoe for you. That’s not so bad a deal, actually. I just may resurrect the old Birks and rotate them in when the new ones start really showing some wear. $60 I can spend on comfy. Hmmmm!

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Last Year at the booniverse: Returning with Alessar to his office the whole stacks began singing. Awhooooo! Ooooowarrrrrrrr. Eeeeyohhhhh.

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