While it’s probably pretty obvious that I love furniture, my love of boots might be a little less obvious. It all started about 15 years ago when I worked at a winery in California. Though I was in the tasting room, the setting was rural and at least a couple times a day, I wound up tromping out to the vineyard in search of someone or other and I got really sick of cleaning mud off my good shoes. So I bought a pair of brown ropers and those were my work shoes. They’ve long-since been destroyed as I abused the heck out of them and they weren’t that well made to begin with.
Now I have several pairs of cowboy boots, a couple pairs of riding boots and a pair of rain boots, but my very favorite boots are these vintage boots I found at the DC Big Flea about six years ago.
I think they’re actually men’s boots, but they fit me perfectly. There’s a stamp on the inside that says 1977, making them older than I am (if only barely). I’m pretty sure the soles were original, though I’m sure the heels had been replaced.
They are wonderfully well-made. I feel like it’s obvious to say that a sewn-on sole (as opposed to a glued-on one) is one indicator of a quality boot, but maybe it’s not as obvious as I think? I never buy a pair of boots if I can’t see the stitches.
I wear them at least once a week. I only spent $15 on them to start with so when the sole and the heel were looking a little worn out recently, I took them to Sal’s Shoe Repair. Sal’s has been in the same spot on Little River Turnpike in Annandale since 1954 and it’s still family-owned and operated.
Sal’s replaced the heel, replaced the sole and did a beautiful job shining them up. I should take lessons from them on how to shine shoes.
The project cost me $95. That might seem a bit steep, but not if it gives me another forty years of wear. It’s such a cliche, but they just don’t make boots like these any more. Or, they do, but they cost at minimum $300.
I’m not sure other people would really get this, but when something like this pair of boots makes its way into my possession, I feel an obligation to be a good steward of them. Someone else lovingly owned them before me and if I take care of them, someone could love them after me.
Probably crazy, but I don’t care.
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