17 July 2010

Sans Chaussettes (on wearing another man's shoes)

Before we begin, allow me a moment of "Classic Affordable Wardrobe", a tiny bit of gloating if you will. A new pair of tassels, penny loafer style, came my way for a mere $3.49. (Actually, they were $5.99 but I had a coupon for 30% off). I really dig this style of shoe, with the welted seam moccasin toe, like a penny, with tassels, but not a kiltie. Men's clothing dorks will understand that sentence...the rest of you better get googlin'. The last time I saw this particular type of loafer may have been in the fifth or sixth grade, when they were purchased as part of my Catholic school uniform...and you thought this stuff was only for Protestants...
But I digress. As the title of this post suggests, what follows is a little how-to on buying, and wearing, another man's shoes:

I frequently get asked about used shoes. A lot of people are a little creeped out at the thought of wearing second hand clothes, exponentially more at the thought of second hand shoes. I can dig that. Feet are gross, therefore, so are shoes. And heaven help me for wearing used shoes without socks! But I do it all the time. Here's how.

I preach abject pickiness as an attribute of the successful thrift shopper. The same goes double for shoes. Whenever I buy used shoes, I look only for pairs that have barely been worn. Thrift stores are brimming with beat-to-sh*t nasty old shoes. I look at two things: the soles and the inside. Shoes with soles that are barely scuffed are best, especially when you can tell that some guys wife made him wear these to a wedding once and that was it. The same is true of the inside. If you're going sockless, as I frequently do, a fresh pair of Dr. Scholl's inserts helps. Besides making your bare foot more comfortable all day long, they keep your bare foot from making direct contact with the inside of an old shoe. Besides, I'm just not that paranoid, anyway.
I suppose there are disinfectants out there or something, but I just by clean, well kept shoes, then I clean them and keep them well.

But, shouldn't a guy take good care of his shoes anyway?

9 comments:

Laguna Beach Trad said...

Nice post. Use a disinfectant spray, or powder.

clintow said...

The nervousness about shoes has always amused me. When you think about it, it's really not all that bad. A reasonably nice pair of thrifted shoes will probably have had only one owner, maybe two extremely fastidious owners. If the shoes are in decent shape, then the owner was probably a pretty clean, careful individual.

Compare this to, say, doorknobs or gasoline pumps, objects that just about everyone touches and almost no one ever washes off. Someone might argue that shoes come in contact with more continuous grossness than doorknobs, but personally, I feel more comfortable putting my bare skin in contact with something that I can reasonably guess was owned by just one or two reasonably clean people, than touching something that all those people that don't wash their hands after the bathroom also use daily.

Anonymous said...

I got into it when I started wearing my old man's shoes after he died. He was no saint and my feet didn't fall off so now I'm happy to buy used if they are in good condition, per Giuseppe's post.

Jho78 said...

I have a spray bottle full of rubbing alcohol for this purpose. But then I've been a bit of a germophobe since my twins were born premature.

Main Line Sportsman said...

I have a visceral reaction to the notion of used shoes...cannot get around it...period.

spoozyliciouzz said...

Nothing wrong with worn shoes...just as Guiseppe says, check the soles and the inner sole condition and you´re fine to go. Besides from that: the higher the original purchase price was, the better the chance to buy from a guy that took well care of his shoes...

cohodave said...

Placing the shoes in a plastic grocery bag then putting them in the freezer overnight will kill any fungi or other potential pests inhabiting them.

Young Fogey said...

My only thrifted shoes were unworn--literally. No wear on the soles whatsoever.

I recently got a pair of unwanted shoes from my father. Slip-ons, so his smaller shoe size works to my thin-footed advantage: they stay on. Lightly worn, with pristine insides.

I would love more thrifted shoes--but I never find anything in my size!

Anonymous said...

i was suprised to see the comments, or even your own reservations about shoes. they probably give me less pause than any other clothing aricle. there are killer deals on ebay , but i rarely find shoes in any wearable condition in thrift stores. a sprirtz of sanitizer and im good to go.