Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Customize Your Shoes - or Not!

For this Wednesday post, we both put our two cents in on the customization question!  (Scroll waaaay down for a completely different point of view.)

Jean's photo appears today in Otomayim B Dipper's Logbook of New YorkStyle.  In the first photo (in color), she's strolling past a glorious large cherry tree in full bloom at the corner of the Bowery and Houston street just at the entrance to one of the city's best outdoor spaces -- the Liz Christy garden.

The second photo, shot in black and white, on East 2nd Street gives a better shot of the ripple sole of Jean's newest shoe transformation. Check out Ryo Miyamoto's blog by clicking here or go to:

Jean says: In spring, a young man's fancy turns to love ... and a woman of a certain age's fancy turns to -- SHOES! Although I absolutely live in clogs, I sometimes crave something more! Here's my latest tale of shoe transformation, which started innocently enough with my comfortable but oh-so-plain pair black leather DANSKO clogs. This "Before" photo shows what the clogs looked like when I took them out of the closet to my long-suffering local shoe repair shop guy who humors me and my occasionally flashes of insanity and is game enough to try to bring my feeble sketches to life.

As always, I want to be taller, but I also want to walk without looking like Frankenstein.  Much as I do love goth, this wasn't quite the image I was going for!

So, I designed a two-piece add-on platform with a wide ripple bottom which helps me roll through each step like a Lippizaner show horse rather than placing my foot down flat each time like some Arkansas plow horse. Here is the finished product which essentially triples the size of the original platform.  I wanted them to have that art deco sense of motion, even when standing still.

They are both light and comfortable and so far, the soles appear to be quite stable. The rocking motion is also working beautifully, taking a lot of stress off the ankle.

For the Easter parade, I thought they needed a little spiffing up and adopted Valerie's tried and true method of adding dots from the stationery store.

Here are the shoes on the hoof, so to speak, as we were preparing to go to the Easter Parade.

While searching for a photograph of Frankenstein images, I came across this shot of a woman in the film wearing a hat that looks suspiciously like mine!  With dangling earrings, no less. You be the judge! Tell me what you think.

Here are the little darlings, all set to go back in their box until their next night out on the town! Stay tuned for their next appearance!

An Orthotic Story

Others, to the contrary, choose to un-customize their shoes. Below is a recent case in point.

Valerie's friend Miles keeps his head held high when out walking, and as a result often runs into celebrities. Recent sightings include Eric Clapton, Barry Diller, Candice Bergen and Jeremy Irons. Valerie, on the other hand, keeps her head down. Every five years or so she finds a $1 bill; several weeks ago she found these:

On closer inspection, they seemed to be a pair of thick orthotics. You can see they've been cut very much to specification at the toes - hopefully by the owner, as one would expect a smoother finish from one's orthopedist.

Below, you can see how long the street must have looked to someone in pain. Can't you just see the frustrated owner of these orthotics, getting out of the subway, walking halfway up the block, seeing the other half of the block looming ahead, and just saying "BLEEP it. I'm not wearing these BLEEPing things anymore? I don't know why I paid $400 for them. I'm DONE! They've never fit, they hurt like hell, and they weren't even covered by my insurance."

And then and there, he (guessing the gender here, based on the size) stopped, leaned up against the wall, took them out of his shoes, put his shoes back on and walked away, whistling, leaving them there to fend for themselves on the street. The abandoned orthotics are the tiny dots exactly in the middle of the photo. Probably the owner went to the Starbucks just up the street, and while he was savoring his coffee, his feet savored their liberation.


  1. Jean, your customized shoes are truly magnificent!

  2. I love the story of the abandoned orthotics! I've never had much luck finding clogs that are comfortable, even Danskos, but I do like your customized platforms with the Japanese vibe. The photos of Jean on Miyamoto's blog clearly depict a woman who knows who she is and where she's going ;)

  3. The orthotics story was so great I sent it to my sister who is on her second pair of orthotics in 4 months. Her comment when asked by her podiatrist why she wasn't wearing them? "They're supposed to help the pain, not cause more!"

  4. The customized Dansko clogs are great! What shoe repair guy do you use? I would love to be able to do that to some of my shoes. A great idea!

  5. I am completely and totally in love with those customized Danskos.