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Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Either you wear shoes without socks or you don't. We had quite a discussion about this in my office. Some fine the prospect disgusting, others love it. I enjoyed reading a long forum online where opinions ranged the gamut. There is not only the practical/convenience issue of wearing no socks, but the no sock look is also seen favorably as a style.
I am not talking about sandals or flip-flops - there we have aeration and more likely candidates for hand cleaning. I am talking about regular closed shoes, including deck shoes or top siders. The blackened soles of your feet from the accumulation of soot and grime after a good day's walk sockless in New York City should be a clear warning.
There are many solutions - for those who prefer to go au naturel - Odor Eaters and foot powder. There are other options. For the style driven, no-show or low rise socks are available. 
But the habits of the wearer are all unknowns with someone else's shoes - buying used shoes in New York City requires some thought and a reputable dealer.  
East Village Shoe Repair is located at 1 St. Marks Place. This tiny place, crammed with goods, has been a cobbler’s shop since 1985. Boris Zuborev took it over with his nephew, Eugene Finkelberg, 14 years ago. Both hail from Belarus. They sell used footwear, customize sneakers and make shoes. From an article in The Villager

They also make cowboy boots, sandals and high heels. They’ll dye your pumps hot pink, spray-paint pictures on your sneakers or raise your heels up 17 inches. In the ’90s, one could witness Zuborev’s creations on the feet of certain well-known musicians and dancers. In his platform shoes, clubbers he designed for rose above others.
It’s a hole in the wall, the place itself showing little evidence of fine design. The yellow awning has been spray-painted green and white, and signs hang by old shoelaces. Graffiti surrounds the door. Industrial metal shelving stuffed with thick-soled boots, multicolored pumps, sneakers and roughed-up ballet slippers obscures the entrance.

The place gets rave reviews from customers who have purchased shoes or had customizations or repairs done. Perhaps one day I will try them for repair. I have purchased used/vintage clothing before, but as far as buying used shoes go, I'll pass for now. I can't help but think about the perspiration which may be entombed :)


naomid said...

A good cobbler is a tough one to find. I've had my shoes repaired only to cause other problems. I.e. a new sole glues too tightly cracked the other parts of my shoes.

No socks are okay, especially if you know how to clean your shoes.

maryt/theteach said...

Brian, just a quick note to say I'm a fellow New Yorker and I love your posts... I found you on another blog (can't remember) and popped over! :)

Vivien said...

Brian, I always want new and clean shoes...but I like your post today! :)

m.fletcher said...

I love this photo! You really captured the grungy urban retail that appeals to us in a cheap sort of way.

Online Barack Obama said...

nice photo as usual

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