Friday, April 27, 2012

Down in De Feet

You might remember that last year, I had a boo-boo in my right foot that necessitated wearing a funny little shoe for 8 weeks.

The problem never resolved itself completely, and ultimately, thanks to my pal arthritis, I have been forced into changing my shoe style completely. I can hardly walk in anything but a shoe with a very sturdy, inflexible sole. Other shoes cause me a considerable amount of pain.

Women's shoes with inflexible soles are difficult to find in Roanoke. And it's hard to order them online because, well, unless something absolutely says it has an inflexible sole I have no way to know. In the shoe stores you will find me bending shoes to see if they will work for me or not.

They are also incredibly expensive, these shoes.

So I am down to three pairs of shoes. One is pair of Patagonias that are made for rock climbing. The other is a pair of black hiking sandals that I recently found at Fleet Feet. And the third pair is a New Balance tan suede shoe that I found at Bush-Flora. This shoe is made for diabetics. It has a very stiff sole.

They have a suede or nubuck finish on them. I bought them in February to use as a substitute casual dress shoe. They have also been doubling as my walking shoe until I could find some other sturdy tennis shoe.

Yesterday I met my pal Di from Blue Ridge Gal in the big city so we could have lunch. I wore these shoes.

Di looked absolutely smashing; she's been on a successful diet and she literally glittered when she walked across the parking lot to meet me.

We sat down to enjoy a wonderful salad. I also had a panini sandwich and soup; Di had a shrimp dinner of some sort. It was all very good.

We were chatting away, catching up on this and that, when suddenly I felt something hit me in the foot, and then I had a coldness at my ankle.

The person cleaning up the table behind us had an accident and somehow a big container of an oily white dressing tumbled out.

It went all over my shoe. And my pants leg. And down in my shoe into my sock.

Looking down, I could see that the entire side of my right shoe was covered in this lovely sauce.

Di, who always has her camera, took this picture
 of my shoe after the sauce was removed.
 Note the sauce still on the floor,
 the chair, and around my other foot.
The dark stains are where the sauce covered the shoe.

My heart sank. The shoes were new; they were also extremely important to me, being one of three pairs I owned that I could actually walk in.

Anyone who has ever owned suede knows how difficult it is to clean. And once soiled, it is never the same.

The staff was very apologetic; the waitress cleaned the sauce from my shoe. She called for a manager. He came over and I explained that my shoes were ruined.

He said he would be back. When he returned, he gave me his card and said I should take the shoes to the dry cleaners. If that didn't work, they would pay to replace them.

I told him I knew that the dry cleaners wouldn't be able to clean them, and I would most likely have to have them replaced. We had some discussion as I was concerned about the expense and inconvenience of this.

Finally he wrote a note on his card, noting the date and the damaged shoes.

He also gave us our meals free.

I called my husband and he said I should try to take care of it right away. "That guy might not be there tomorrow," he said. And then I would be out the cost of a pair of expensive shoes.

Cell phones are wonderful things. Before I did anything hasty, I called the dry cleaner I use. They did not clean suede shoes. Neither did the others I called, nor did they know of anyone who did.

I then went to the shoe store at Towers where I purchased the shoes originally. They also repair shoes. They looked at the soiled leather and told me they could do nothing for them. They confirmed they were ruined.

They also said they could not replace them. According to them, New Balance no longer makes that particular shoe. The shoe style that will replace them was not in stock and won't be in until some time in May.

I feared that if I waited, the restaurant might not make good on its promise to compensate me for the damaged shoes. So I went ahead and pre-purchased the shoes that were on order. They will also be a diabetic shoe, only in black, since the tan is no longer available. I can only hope they will fit and meet my needs.

Then I took the receipt back to the restaurant. The manager was not happy to see me, I think, but he did reimburse me.

Hopefully my new shoes will arrive soon so I will have something to wear.

In the meantime, my old shoes reek of garlic and smell like a salad. I am trying to figure out how to clean them so I can use them around the farm. They will be the most expensive pair of farm shoes I've ever had.


  1. I can never find shoes that are truly comfortable to me. I have arthritis in my big toes, along with all the other parts of my feet.

  2. Hopefully this will serve to be a lesson to the waitress who was clearing the table next to us to slow down, not pile the dishes so high, and in general be a bit more careful so as not to cause damage to the shoes or clothing of other patrons. There are some links on line as to how to clean suede shoes, but all of the comments left pretty much said that their suede never looked the same. Unfortunate. So glad you found a replacement shoe.

    Oh gosh.... and I glittered? LOL I wish my husband would tell me that sometimes. LOL

  3. My mother has Rheumatoid Arthritis and New Balance shoes were great for her. They have a high toe box and they are light weight. My uncle was a famous orthopedic surgeon and told her about them (Joseph C Risser). I tried to find the catalog for my mom's special shoes, but can't. I DID find a site for Healthy Shoe Store and they might have something. I have MAJOR shoe issues, myself, so I know how frustrating, and painful, it can be. I hope your new ones work for you.

    On the bright side, they will go with anything and they won't show soil....or dressing!

  4. We've had good luck purchasing shoes online from (or They have much more in stock than what is readily available around here. If you know what brand and size you need and can't find it here, you may find it there. Free shipping both ways!

  5. I've been away from the computer for over a week, but hope I'm in time to second the nod for Zappos. I'll never shop for shoes any other way! Free return shipping so I often order several pairs since I fall between sizes.
    I did a search there for diabetic and there are lots of shoes including quite a few of the New Balance.
    Here's the link...


  6. Since they're ruined anyway, just wash them with soap and water and use them around the farm. They'll be stained but at least they'll be clean and won't stink.

  7. Comfortable shoes are so important and I can imagine you just cringed when you realized what had happened. Ariat made some shoes in suede that I absolutely loved. I had two pairs of them and was pretty dang disappointed when I wanted more and they had been DISCONTINUED. Argggh. I still want a new pair of those shoes.


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