May 15, 2009

Walk a mile in my shoes

I don’t have a fetish, and I’m no measure of fashionista. But it has come time to say goodbye to a pair of shoes with which I have had a tormented love-hate relationship as I have had with no other piece of footwear.

My eccos: fine, Danish-crafted Italian-toe style shoes. Black, shiny, and sexy like a sports car. They belong on display as much as on your feet. The kind of shoe that you almost think you ought to wear shorter pants just to show off, or at the very least, put a little strut in your step. Beauties. Real beauties. I’ll not go into specifics about cost, but the price point was pretty high…

But this is no love letter. No, these shoes are going out with a bang. The reason? well, lets just say the shoes have let me down more than once.

Strike one was against the shoes and the retail outlet, to whom I took the shoes about a repair where the toe had opened up. I was quickly turned out the door with a business card for a cobbler. I went to the store in search of a refund, or free repairs, and I walked out with a business card.

Strike two was the email: I sent a curmudgeonly letter of complaint to which I received a dismissively stock answer. Strike three has now come, and I'll get to that. But first, a little more history of these fine shoes...

...They made their way into my wardrobe in December of 2005, after much searching for a great looking pair of men’s size 15 dress shoes to go with my suit on my wedding day. Because as much as I might be okay with standing at the altar barefoot, no one else seemed to be. I digress... so anyway, one’s wedding only comes around once (ideally), and if the day wasn't reason enough, I would still be needing a good pair of shoes once the student life turned into the working life. Well, the wedding came and went as they tend to do, my feet looked fabulous, and then I went back to school for many more months before hitting the job circuit. During this time, the shoes lay in wait.

Imagine my dismay when I found out how the beauty of the shoes was merely skin deep. By the next December after some limited use, they were totally falling apart at the toe. By then, I’d treated them well, and only worn them on a less-than-regular basis for six months. Enter the process of complaints noted previously. With no answer to my liking, I weighed my options and begrudgingly had the shoes resoled at a cost. I should note that in the email stock answer, the company did say that I had the option to return the shoes to them via mail, and they'd "consider" repairs on a case by case basis, so lon as it was still within the year of purchase... which it wasn't, sadly. I figured that once I'd couriered the shoes at my own expense, with no guarantee that they'd accept my claim, I may as well go ahead and get the re-sole done.

I sat on the issue for a long time, but eventually I took the shoes to a repair store, the same one recommended to me by the retail outlet.

“Thing about ecco shoes is,” said the cobbler in a reflective tone, “we see ‘em all the time. They make good leather uppers, but the sole is useless.”

This was information that could’ve been useful a lot of money ago. by now, it was the Fall of 2007.

Fast forward to 2009, four wedding receptions later, a few funerals, a smattering of black tie and dressy receptions and dinners, at least thrice weekly wear for work days… and the shoes have fallen apart again, the soles tattering even worse than before, and this time, my foot has worn through the leather upper and the inner sole as well. The sexy black sports car has crashed into the telephone pole, and his time, I'm not prying it off. It’s time to swear off this relationship for good. I guess I'd have a hard time blaming the soles on ecco again since the shoes were cobbled, but the wearing through the quality leather upper? Strike three.

Now, in short but sweet style, let’s compare these write-offs to my Doc Martens.
I bought ‘em in 2001. Daily wear right off the bat for new job out of round one of college… fast forward through eight years of more weddings, more daily work wear, formal affairs, Sunday church services, etc: I’ve replaced the laces twice, and granted, they were shelved a little bit while the eccos were in service, but that aside, other than a few creases in the leather at the bend of my toes, these babies are in near showroom condition. Purchase price: $120.00. At a cost of $13.00/year and still going strong, they may be less stylish than the ecco shoes, but the good doctor has the last laugh, I think. I mean, I thought the Danish were great shoe makers? I’ll stick to your pastry and Tuborg beer from now on, thanks. At least gut rot is a problem I can fix myself.

Maybe ecco will pay attention to my use of social media to complain about their shoes. I cc'ed them on an email notifying my regular readers of a new blog post, and I've provided a link to this rant on my facebook page. If anyone at ecco has any thing more-than-stock-answer to say to me, you know how to get a hold of me. cheers :)

The offending ecco shoes:

The old faithful Docs: