Shoes of yore

August 2, 2010

I thought I would write about a few pairs of shoes I remember from yesteryear that are long gone (but not forgotten).  I had a run-in while camping this weekend with a pair of Minnetonka moccasins in a gift shop.  They were exactly the same as the pair I had gotten while camping a long time ago (maybe I was 11 or 12?).  I was excited they still made them.

The soft leather soles on these boots got so gross from wearing them around on asphalt and stuff.  But they were oh-so-comfortable!  I’m not sure what happened to them…

From eighth grade through twelfth grade, I wore six-eyelet dark green Doc Martens boots.  I bought them from the kids’ shoe section at Von Maur in Des Moines the summer of ’93, and I wore the crap outta those boots.  The sole separated from the boot in the front and would collect snow whenever the Shoe Goo would wear off.  The sole also cracked in the middle where my foot bends and leaked in the rain.  I got tired of taking longer than my friends to lace up my boots, so I replaced the shoelaces with elastic Sharpied black.  I still dream about these boots.  My mom threw them away when I went to college, and I cried.  I told her we were going to the landfill to try and find them so I could get them re-soled.  We didn’t.  These boots are legendary in my mind and I still miss them.

For my senior prom, my mom made my dress.  It was tight, black, and lace, and some measurements must’ve been off somewhere, because it was so short I couldn’t sit down very well.  It also didn’t help the styling of the dress that the shoes I bought were 4-1/2″ platform metallic red sandal pumps.  So, yeah, I looked a little slutty at prom and arrived with a 22-year-old date.  My date was also only 5’4″, so at 5’4-1/2″ with my shoes on, I was taller than him in the pictures (I might dig the photo out and add it to the post later).  Anyway, those shoes ended up being my go-to dress-up shoes for quite a few years, even though I threw up on them after a party in college where I got a little too college freshman-y with the booze.  They were victims of the Great Closet Cleanout of ’04, which was the year we moved from my first apartment, put our stuff in storage for two months while we housesat in Chicago, and moved into our second apartment.  Pfft.  My husband thought I had a lot of shoes back then. Ha!

That cleanout eliminated quite a few pairs of shoes I had collected in high school and college.  Most of them I wouldn’t dream of wearing now, but sometimes I get a little nostalgic and wish I had kept them.  There were the two pairs of Steve Madden platform wedges, one had a thick elastic band over the top of the foot with an open toe and back, and the other was similar with a closed toe, that I had gotten on a trip to Boston.  They were ridiculously uncomfortable.  My winter dress-up shoes were these horrendous round-toe platform black leather maryjanes that looked like anvils on my feet.  They were so clunky and heavy, but I wore them to my college graduation and for any other event that required a dress.  There was the multitude of Chuck Taylor Converse sneakers that I had collected in junior high, including the dark green pair, the green-and-blue plaid flannel pair, the green-and-red plaid flannel pair that I usually wore on Christmas, and the blue low-tops that I never wore but bought anyway because they seemed practical.

If we go back further in time, I can remember a few more of my everyday shoes.  In elementary school, I always wore white canvas sneakers with laces; I wanted the slip-on kind, but my mom told me my feet were too narrow and they would just fall off.  To mix it up, sometimes I wore my hot pink fluorescent canvas sneakers.  I wore jelly shoes all summer long and usually burned my feet through the shoes on the hot asphalt.  In fifth grade, I had a pair of white leather LA Gear sneakers with the twisty leather sections on the sides.  Those were pretty sweet with my pinned or tight-rolled jeans.  In sixth grade I wore these plain black leather oxfords, which kind of looked like the leather version of the white canvas sneakers.  Very boring, but worked well with my stone-washed zip-bottom jeans with the denim bows.

Thanks for jumping in the Way Back Machine with me and taking a trip down shoe memory lane.  I’d love to hear comments about your favorite shoes from youth, or the ones you remember the most.


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