I found a few shoe care tips in Bruce Lubin and Jeanne Bossolina Lubin’s book Who Knew? 3: Household Heroes, Money Saving Miracles & Astonishing Uses for Everyday Items. I hope that they don’t mind if I include some of them in the next edition of The OddShoeFinder.com Shoe Wearer’s Handbook. I have to warn you, though, that I have not yet tested any of their suggestions. Proceed at your own risk!
The Lubins say that you coating your leather shoes with hair conditioner and letting it soak will help repel the salt that goes along with winter in colder climates and keep the leather supple.
To remove scuff marks, the Lubins suggest wetting a rag with nail polish remover and rubbing the scuff marks “lightly but quickly.” As with many suggestions in the Shoe Wearer’s Handbook, you may want to try the nail polish on a less conspicuous part of the shoe before going after the more obvious scuff marks. Different materials and finishes may react differently to the acetone in the nail polish remover.
Another low tech means of removing scuff marks proposed by the Lubins is rubbing a little baking soda into the marks.
Placing a fabric softener sheet in your smelly shoes helps get rid of any foul odors – or any odors at all! Having driven with a box of 160 fabric softener sheets 700 miles from the Super WalMart in my hometown in Alabama to my current home in Northern Virginia (One of the major disadvantages of living in the Washington, DC area is the scarcity of WalMarts.), I can attest to the power of fabric softener sheets.
Finally, a little liquid correcting fluid (BIC Wite-Out, e.g.) can be used to cover scuff marks on your white canvas shoes.
Strange, but true, story about liquid correcting fluid:
As a boy, Michael Nesmith of the Monkees and his young friends filled bottles of Liquid Paper (Then called “Mistake Out.”) for his mother, Bette Nesmith Graham. Graham was a Dallas secretary and single mother who invented the product.
Graham made and sold the product part-time until her boss fired her for making a mistake that could not be corrected by Liquid Paper. The firing turned out to be a blessing in disguise – she turned the product into a full-time business and sold the company for $47.5 million six months before her death in 1980.
When I read articles on those few subjects in which I am knowledgeable, I often recognize that the authors do not really understand the subject. I am certainly sympathetic because reporters are generally required to address a large number of subjects with deadlines that allow little time to acquire familiarity with the subjects.
Authors of books, on the other hand, are assumed to be knowledgeable about the subjects of their books. As a result, I am a little apprehensive about sending a book about shoes for review by hundreds of people who make their living dealing with issues relating to shoes.
My coauthor, Clare, and I are not as knowledgeable about any of the subjects of the book as thousands of other people. Any errors in the book are my fault rather than Clare’s. She did exactly what I asked of her – researched and wrote chapters on the subjects I gave her.
The information in the book is readily available to anyone with an Internet connection and a little time. Had I found the wide range of subjects covered in one publication, I would never have begun the book project. Easy access to the information in the book could have saved me many years of mistakes in buying footwear and the resulting pain. There must be millions of others who share that plight – and hopefully every one of them will buy a copy of the book.
(As I type this, I hear an advertisement for foot surgery on the radio. Coincidence? I think not. Maybe the new US government health plan will pay for my book as preventative care? One of the advantages of living in the DC area is that those decisions are being made by my neighbors.)
We excluded most subject matter in which we found contradictory information. The notable exception is the chapter on avoiding counterfeit designer and athletic shoes. The consensus among people at consignment shops (which go out of business if the employees cannot reliably detect counterfeits) was that they determine authenticity by looking for quality. For most people, that is a pretty vague guide.
Understandably, none of the shoe companies contacted would offer any information for the chapter for fear of making life easier for counterfeiters. As a result, we added a big disclaimer to the section of the chapter about particular brands of shoes.
Retailers of designer shoes who were asked all denied permission to photograph anything in the store. I felt it would be inconsiderate to buy several thousand dollars worth of shoes only to return them all a week later. Further, security at the stores would probably be suspicious of a good ole boy from Alabama buying a random assortment of expensive shoes in no particular size and in widely varying styles and colors. Would that constitute profiling?
Consignment stores were willing to let us take photos, but none of them kept packaging that I wanted to show in the photos. As a result, I ended up going online to buy shoe boxes and dust bags.
Who knew there was a market for old shoe boxes and dust bags? I have tried to imagine the motivation for buyers – other than writing books with chapters about avoiding counterfeit shoes. Maybe there are women who cannot afford the shoes, but like to leave the packaging around their homes to make their friends jealous?
My biggest concern was the section on resoling and replacing heels. There are plenty of salesmen in shoe stores who know little about shoes. Even I can find a pair of shoes in a particular style and color and hand them to a customer to try on. I could probably even learn to ring up the sale without too much trouble. On the other hand, it is pretty hard to impersonate a cobbler.
While reviewing the sections on replacing soles and heels, I began to look at my own shoes. I realized that some of the shoes are considerably harder to resole than anyone other than a cobbler should try. There are even some shoes that most cobblers won’t resole and/or that should not be resoled (E.g., running shoes in which the foam in the midsoles has lost its “bounce.”). I added a few weasel words to those sections.
In conclusion, I realize that there may be experts who find fault with the book. I’m a big boy and can deal with bad reviews, but I’d prefer to not provide reasons for the bad reviews in the first place.
What happens when you click on “request transaction” for the pair of shoes you want to buy? In the first place, please DO NOT click on “request transaction” unless you really want to buy the shoes.
If you just want to ask a question about the shoes, click on “Send private message” above and to the right of the “request transaction” button. You should give enough information for the user who posted the shoes (also known as the “seller”) to identify the shoes. A user may have a large number of shoes posted and the messages are not linked to a particular posting.
Once you are sure you want to buy the shoes, click on “request transaction.” Nothing happens, huh? Actually, an email is sent to the seller identifying you and the shoes you requested, and providing your contact information. In addition, an entry of the shoes you requested appears on your “dashboard” (The first screen you see when you log on.) under the heading “wait for confirm.” At the same time, an entry identifying the requested shoes appears on the seller’s dashboard under the heading “pending exchanges.”
At this point, the best practice for the seller is to contact the buyer (you) and make arrangements for payment and shipping. Once those arrangements have been made, the seller should log on to the Web site and approve the sale on the “pending exchanges” section of the dashboard.
Why should the seller wait until arrangements are made? Once the sale is approved by the seller, the posting is no longer visible to other users – a feature to prevent two users from requesting the same shoes. If the sale falls through, the seller can simply dismiss the requested transaction, making the posting visible again. Once the seller approves the sale, he/she has to reenter the information for the posting if he/she wants the posting to be visible to other users again.
What if you do not hear from the other user for a while? Not everyone checks their email on a regular basis, which may be the cause. The notification email may also end up in bulk mail. To avoid that problem, users should add firstname.lastname@example.org and/or @oddshoefinder.com to their email safe sender/domain list.
I mentioned in my last post that I have been offered tens – if not hundreds – of thousands of single shoes. Why are there so many single shoes?
I obtained my first batch of single shoes from a salvage company in Minnesota that had bought even more single shoes from a chain of Midwestern sporting goods stores. The story I was told is that people who need mismatched shoes will sometimes sneak a mismatched pair into the box, leaving a complementary pair of mismatched shoes that cannot be sold. I’m sure that there are also a lot of shoes that are accidentally put back in the wrong boxes with shoes of another size.
With a chain of dozens of stores each selling thousands of shoes, large numbers of mismatched – and consequently unsellable – shoes accumulate. Some chains send all such shoes to a central location where as many pairs are matched as possible, while other chains sell their single and mismatched shoes to salvage companies. The shoes that cannot be matched usually end up in landfills.
Another source of single shoes is samples. Sample shoes are usually provided for only one foot and in a single size each for men’s and women’s shoes. I have received many emails from people looking for a good home for the samples because they hate to see perfectly good shoes discarded. I wish I could offer more help.
Within weeks of receiving my first set of single shoes from Minnesota, an owner of an outlet store in Minnesota (only a few miles from the salvage company) offered to let me take as many single shoes as I wanted from his store. I started imagining Minnesota as a source of single shoes as a result of a little-known race of unipeds. For some reason, the Twin Cities seems to be a Mecca for lovers of single shoes.
Last summer, I was offered an entire warehouse of single shoes in Philadelphia if I would only show up and take them. The owner of the building was an octogenarian who was no longer able to maintain his business of matching up single shoes for sale.
The family wanted the shoes removed so that the warehouse could be turned into condominiums. There was no way I could handle what was probably well over 100,000 single shoes, but I was able to put the family in contact with someone in Texas who wanted all the single shoes he could get. Apparently, the man in Texas has enough single shoes because I have been unable to reach him for months.
Why start yet another blog? Besides my apparently being one of the last people on earth to not have a blog, I am coming out with a book about shoes that will be available through the Web site. The eBook should be available around June, with the hard copy being published sometime later depending on whether I have to self-publish to get it printed. Anyone with pull in the publishing industry is encouraged to lobby on behalf of the book, the entire contents of which will be posted on this blog.
The book is called “The OddShoeFinder.com Shoe Wearer’s Handbook” with a long subtitle that summarizes the contents of the book – getting a good fit, finding the right shoes for the situation, avoiding counterfeit designer and athletic shoes, shoe care, do-it-yourself shoe repair, and uses for your old shoes. Writing of the book is complete and it is being formatted.
What qualifies me to write such a book? My main qualification is that I have worn shoes for over fifty years. I’ve also worked on patent applications involving footwear, learned a lot about shoes and foot problems through all the people who have contacted me since I started OddShoeFinder.com, and have had my own life-long struggle getting a proper fit.
If you ever want to learn about things you never imagined existed, start a Web site. You will be surprised at the calls and emails you receive. I’ve been offered tens – maybe hundreds – of thousands of single shoes. Who knew there was such a huge supply of them? More about that later.
What qualifies my coauthor Clare to write such a book? She has only worn shoes for about half as long as I have, but has written about 250 articles about shoes, foot problems, etc. She also writes much better than I do.
This article appeared in about five Canadian newspapers – the Toronto Sun, the Calgary Sun, the Edmonton Sun, and maybe the newspapers for a couple of smaller cities in Ontario. I loved getting free publicity for the shoe site and appreciate Sarah Millar’s efforts, but I found there is one thing that is potentially worse than being misquoted: being quoted verbatim.
Seeing your own words in print can be embarrassing. I’ll definitely speak slower and more deliberately the next time a reporter calls and try to leave out all the “I means” and other fillers that do not translate well to text – or to the spoken word.
Those articles led to my being contacted by the science writer for the Alabama editions of the Examiner.com. He saw that I am an Alabama native and he likes to find nice things to write about our beloved, but often maligned, home state. As a result, he wrote this article, which was published in all Alabama cities served by Examiner.com.
If you ever drink beer from a can, you have been affected by the author, Paul Hamaker. He invented a coating used inside beer cans. I guess whoever invented the wheel or inclined plane had a bigger impact, but how many people in modern history have had an idea that is used daily by two billion people? I feel honored to have had an article about the site written by Paul.
About a year or so ago, there was a short article about the site in a Dutch newspaper. I don’t have a link to it and I don’t think many users of the site speak Dutch. If you do speak Dutch, the fact that you are reading this means you also understand English and have nothing new to learn from that article. There was also an article about the site in my law school alumni/ae magazine for which I do not think there is a link.
Free publicity is welcomed!