Romp weaponry

I heard once that you could figure someone out from the kind of shoes they wear. Ever since then, whenever people-watching becomes inevitable (like when I’m about to hang out with that friend who’s never on time), I always make a point of looking at what adorns people’s feet. Sometimes I catch myself staring, which is probably a habit I should stop.

With an overwhelming selection of shoe designs and materials lining store shelves, how can one possibly choose? This is why expanding shoe racks exist. But doesn’t it also evoke nostalgia when you notice your shoes are starting to get worn down and dirty? Doesn’t the thought of disposing of the reason you were able to trek through all those adventures make you hesitate to throw them away?

Well, here are ways of easing the pain, my frengers (that’s a portmanteau of “friends” and “strangers” in case you’re wondering — you can thank Danish band Mew for coining it).

First up: dye your shoes. If you can’t find the colour you’re looking for, grab your old white shoes (or get a new pair if you must) and dye them yourself. It’s just like dyeing a t-shirt, really; it only works with natural fibres, such as cotton or silk. Still Life, a local boutique on Johnson Street (and a personal favourite), participated in Tretorn’s Nylite Project last summer, which involved customization of their Nylite canvas shoes. Search “Nylite Project” on stilllifeboutique.com and watch the video of a couple of dapper young gents dyeing their canvas whites.

You should also become friends with artists who can ink some seriously amazing graphics onto your shoes.

Forgive the tedious repetition of how wet Victoria is, but it can’t be helped. Rain has the capacity to ruin your footwear, especially suede and leather. The drying process for suede is long — be patient. Try to draw out as much water as you can from your suede shoes with a towel. Never dry suede with a hair dryer. Just let it dry naturally. As for leather, it’s best to protect it before it gets wet. Clean off your footwear with a clean towel and smear some lotion all over the leather surface. Those bottles of hand or body lotion you have on the dresser will work okay, but if you want something specific, Aldo has an aromatic water-resistant lotion that specifically protects leather from rain, snow and salt damage. It’s available at Aldo shoe stores and online for about $9.

In my last article, I mentioned the rain boot, which is an important investment if your feet want to make it in Victoria — your old, non-waterproof shoes can’t help you in this case. The most popular boots around campus seem to be those from Hunter. They have undeniably good products and selection, not to mention those cute welly socks. Tretorn also has a line of boots with fuzzy linings that provide extra warmth for your icy toes. However, Hunter’s prices ($100–$200 on average, with some as high as $795) soar higher than Tretorn’s (typically below $100). Look out for sales! (Tretorn’s boots can go down to as low as $35 for a good pair.) You can find them at Town Shoes in Mayfair Mall, The Bay Centre on Douglas Street and at Rainbird, a boutique in Cook Street Village.

I also mentioned my fancy for hydrophobic products in my previous article. Guess what? Ross Nanotechnology is making it happen. The company’s new product, NeverWet coating, is a super hydrophobic substance that supposedly lets liquid drops glide right off a surface to which the product has been applied. YouTube NeverWet for a demonstration.

I’ll leave you with the Danish brand, Shoe The Bear — the makers of my dream boots. These handmade leather boots seem to howl for adventure. One day, when Victoria again surprises us with a white Christmas you’ll hear me say, “Where there are snowbanks, there will be romps. Snow, prepare yourself for my boots.”

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