A Shoe Story (Nothing Lasts Forever!)

by Bonnie Kallenberg

I drive to a store 30-45 minutes away to buy my running shoes because I own a small business so I spend my money in small businesses whenever possible. The last couple of times I drove over, they either didn’t have much of a selection in the brand of shoes I wanted or they didn’t have anything in my size at all. I wear a common size and they are the store that “sold” me on this brand. Usually I must settle for whatever they have in my size, no matter how obnoxious the color. The ladies in my running group comment on my choice of shoe color, and not in a good way, but I wear them anyway because they are great running shoes.

Recently due to a lack of time, I ordered the shoes from Amazon. Amazon is sacrilege to small business owners but many of us succumb and patronize it to save time and money. I ordered a pretty blue pair of Newtons ½ a size smaller than my usual size because it’s all they had. They arrived almost the same day and I tried them on. A tiny bit tight but they’ll give some, right? Wrong, the wrong size never becomes right. I have worn them on multiple runs and it’s not good for my feet. They’ll be for sale in store one day soon. Newtons, size 9, cornflower blue and only about 25 miles on them.

You have shoes in your closet that hurt, don’t go with anything you have, were from another time in your life, are too big or too small, or you just don’t like them. Get rid of them. They are taking up space and energy in your closet and you’ll never wear them again. Put them back in the universe for someone to find, love and wear.

Space is the obvious reason to sell/trash/donate your unloved shoes but there is another reason equally as important that I’m going to tell you speaking as an experienced consignment store owner. They disintegrate! I’ve seen it many times! Whether they’re laying in the bottom of your closet gathering dust or they are carefully packed away in plastic bins, unworn shoes start to fall apart over time. The inside leather cracks, glue gives way, and even mildew forms inside. Shoes with heels that have been stored a long time look fine…until they are worn and then they start to fall apart as someone is wearing them!

We’ve had this happen at Finders Keepers on several occasions over the years and had to refund the customer’s money because of it. A consignor will bring in a pair of shoes to consign and upon initial inspection, they look fine. We accept, price and sell them only to have them returned after the customer tried to wear them but couldn’t because they fell apart.

A wedding was the first time I saw this happen. The mother of the groom pulled out a pair of shoes she hadn’t worn in years, probably saving them for special occasions such as this day. They were cork wedges and during the celebration, pieces of cork started appearing all over the floor, wherever she had been. Then she started to stumble and it wasn’t due to the champagne, half of the cork wedge was gone and she was walking on ½ a shoe, then the other started. She was mortified and I felt badly for her.

The moral of the story? Part with your shoes in a timely manner so they don’t fall apart on you or the next owner. Then admire all that space in your closet….and go buy another pair of shoes as a reward!


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