I remember my first pair of shoes with leather soles. They were a great pair of penny loafers from Next. I had just completed 4 years as a student in Manchester and needed a pair of shoes for work. They were great: comfortable, smart, easy to slip on and off, and in a great and unusual dark claret colour.
One autumn day, it rained. Then rained some more. And then rained a lot more. Unfortunately, it was day that I was out and about on foot. Even more unfortunately, I was wearing my 4-week-old loafers on that day. Most unfortunately of all, the heavy rains completely ruined the soles of the shoes.
So I took them back to Next with the complaint that my 4-week-old shoes had failed. They reluctantly replaced them accompanied by an admonition that these were not shoes which were suitable for wearing when it rained. Given that I was living in Manchester at the time shoes that I could only wear when it wasn’t raining would mean that I could only wear them 2 weeks out of the year!
Still, I learnt my lesson. Shoes with leather soles are less durable than those with man made materials, especially in the wet, so you probably want to keep some shoes with man made soles in your collection.
This week the autumn rains have been coming with a vengeance, in the North East of England. And I’ve been glad to be able to draw upon a pair of shoes with non leather soles which are great for the autumn rains.
The shoes were cheap, they were discounted to a tenner in Tesco, so I’m not too worried about water damage. They have cleated soles, great for navigating slippery fallen leaves. Best of all, they are comfortable, so I can wear them all day. And despite their humble origins, they actually look pretty good.
Every now and then I think i really ought to upgrade these shoes to something more befitting a man who has completed his 5-year project, because though they are decent enough, they are not awesome. But then I get a really wet day like today and I am reminded what a useful piece of kit they are for the autumn rains.