Maven Moment: The Shoemaker

shoemaker in shoe repair shop

When I was a kid, it seemed that every neighborhood had a shoe repair shop. I remember dark, narrow stores with shoes crammed into every shelf. The owner often seemed to be an older man who was skilled and proud of his work. Our shoemaker was fond of declaring, “I was born with the shoes in my hands!”

In those days, there were no discount shoe stores. It only made sense to get your shoes repaired rather than throw them out and buy new shoes. When my family’s shoes needed soles repaired or heels replaced, we took them to the shoemaker’s shop.

Today, I still find the services of my neighborhood shoemaker indispensable, particularly for my work shoes. I stand all day at work and must wear only certain types of safety shoes. So I spend extra for high-quality shoes that are comfortable and will last. When they need repairs, I take them to my neighborhood shoemaker, Auggie.

I was a little nervous when Auggie’s shop closed for the pandemic. What do I do? Well, I thought I would pick the best shoes for work and buy more than one pair and wear them on alternate days. This should keep them in good shape for some time. Also, I decided to use them only for work so they get less wear and will be more likely to hold up until Auggie opens his shop again.

Of course, it costs more initially to purchase an extra pair of shoes. But I get more value for my money by purchasing good shoes and wearing them on alternating days. I’m hoping Auggie can open his shop before I see too much wear on my work shoes. And in the meantime, I can be on my feet all day in comfort.

Like so many things, I find it more sustainable to buy high-quality rather than cheap shoes that aren’t as comfortable and wear out quickly. I get the benefit of well-made, comfortable shoes. And by caring for them and taking them to the shoemaker for repairs, I really don’t spend more in the long run.

Plus, there’s a big benefit for the planet: I’m consuming fewer items overall, which means I’m conserving resources and ultimately sending fewer items to the landfill.

Feature image by Muhittin KARABULUT from Pixabay

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Joanna Lacey

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