Before all this, I used to buy shoes like they were going out of style. Um, yeah. You know what I mean. I bought into that silly concept that you can never have too many shoes.
Now that we’re in the process of shifting from being consumers to creators, I’ve reduced my shoe collection to these six: everyday clogs, sneakers, work boots, black dress shoes, brown dress shoes (want to get rid of these, but Mauricio like me in them AND I got them like-new from Goodwill), purple (?!) holdouts that are both funky and uber comfy, but admittedly ridiculous.
Before I got the most awesomely durable clogs handmade by a cobbler with the intention of wearing them for the rest of my life, I had a pair of everyday shoes from Salvation Army. They ripped right away, reinforcing the concept that what I buy, even if it’s used, should be a vote with my money for long-lasting quality.
So I’ve had these terribly ripped shoes taking up space in our tiny RV closet. Can’t give ’em back to Salvation Army. I was about to throw them away and create more garbage, but then I got a second thought. Because I really liked the cushy sole, I decided to try to get more wear out of them.
First, I cut off the ripped part.
Then Cece and I took a trip to our local garbage pile to gather materials. Now, an aside about that. I’ve been sharing these bucolic images of our land, without showing the dirty underbelly. When we bought it, the previous owners basically took all their crap and left it in a giant pile of toxic waste that remains on our to-deal-with list.
But, among the used rat traps, old garden hoses, plastic Easter bunny decorations (what the?), and ’70s plaid sofa cushions, are some reuseable treasures, like some wood and the fencing I used on our raised garden bed. After picking through some options, including the garden hose, and warning Cece to look out for rattlesnakes, I found these straps from some kind of tank. Used for some kind of pesticide spraying, I’m sure. Luckily, the straps were on the outside.
I cut off the straps, then Cece helped me measure them to fit my foot, glue them under the cushion, and clamp them down.
The next morning, I took off the clamps and tried them on. Ladies and gentlemen, no shoe in my closet, past or present, has made me squeal with satisfaction more than this one. I feel so proud of myself for salvaging something from the landfill where they would have landed (and eventually will), and squeezing a little more life out of them. Don’t think they look too shabby, either. In a homestead-chic kind of way.
In the past, I would have bought a new pair without thinking twice. That’s the mindset we have in our culture. Buy a new one. It totally deprives us of the opportunity to think, create and put in effort to make something new. There is something of the essence of what it means to be human in that. We’ve traded creating for buying, and have thereby deprived ourselves of a bit of our humanity.
How long will these shoes last? Let’s just say Mauricio has advised me to carry some duct tape with me. But the satisfaction? I think that’ll last even longer than the shoes.