I've been extremely picky about shoes for as long as I can remember. As a child I was very upset when I had to wear shoes that I felt said something about my personality that wasn't accurate. Now, when I finally find a pair that is just right, I love to be stopped by a stranger who loves them too--a kindred shoe spirit.
Here's a little history of some of my more recent shoe purchases--the more obsessively researched ones, anyway.
When I was getting into carpentry, my new boss told me that the green sneakers weren't really right for the job site. I paid nearly $100 for a pair of very comfortable leather work shoes, wolverines. They were great for a while, and then a year and a half later the soles wore thin and cracked. Now my socks get wet when its rainy.
Lately, I've become a fan of long term commitments to my shoes, so this was a big let down. (Although I'll admit I was never crazy about how these looked--I bought them in a hurry and compromised on style--they were work shoes after all.)
I have a pair of doc martens that lasted me well, but ended up not being as comfortable as I'd hoped, so they aren't getting worn too frequently. I think they were really cute, though.
Another $100 or so purchase was some mephisto sandals which I think I bought in '05 or '06 and are still going strong, probably more comfortable than ever, if looking a bit worn.
Today I was looking at these, thinking maybe Birkenstocks would be a good reliable bet:
But really, I would love to have a pair of shoes made for me. I think I'm going to look for a real live shoemaker!
check out these made by guat shoes
and these too (i'm a sucker for pink or red shoes):
I know there's a huge lack of quality footwear available--I get super frustrated when I discover that formerly reliable brands are outsourcing manufacturing and their products just aren't the same as they used to be. Even the really good names! So I am going to keep looking for a 5 to 10 year shoe relationship in the $100 price range. Maybe handmade shoes will have to wait. Maybe someday I'll make a pair for myself. (Or maybe I'll try to re-sole those wolverines myself since the shoemaker said he can't.)