These vagabond shoes

Oh no! Sean has caught up with and overtaken my Sri Lanka blogging. See his post about Dambulla, Sigiriya and Pollunaruwa for an excellent recounting of events.

I’d almost forgotten about my shoe, which was really one of my favourite things that happened on the trip. When I show you my favourite shoes, I think you will be a little surprised…

You see, I have Difficult Feet. They are flat, and I have hypermobile joints, which both contribute to very sore Achilles tendons, and sometimes knee or hip pain too. When I’m travelling I might be on my feet walking around for over 12 hours, so I need Sensible Shoes to do it in. Enter the Clarks School Sandals:


The very first shoes I remember wearing were a pair just like this, but blue (and a lot smaller). I loved them. So when Clarks did a reissue of the original 70s design, I had to have them.

These shoes have done a lot of travelling. Tokyo, San Francisco, New Zealand, all around Italy, the South of France (I didn’t dare wear them in Paris), Spain, Switzerland (twice), Prague, Bruges, Wales (twice), the Lake District, Hadrian’s Wall (twice), and various other British locations. They’ve dealt with music festivals, mountains, rivers, seawater, and mud (lots). And finally they were falling apart.

I didn’t think they would come back from Sri Lanka with me, but I hate throwing anything away if it can be fixed. I managed to find a cobbler in Pollonaruwa. He put a few stitches through the bit that was coming apart, and charged me 20 rupees (a pittance – perhaps he thought I was really poor, taking such a battered pair of shoes to be fixed!). I’m still kicking myself for not giving him a massive tip, because being able to wear my shoes again was worth so much more to me than 20 rupees.


Now they’re coming apart again, and I think they’re beyond fixing this time. It’s probably just as well I’m staying put for a while!


6 thoughts on “These vagabond shoes

  1. I wouldn’t necessarily give up on your sandals – I had a similar pair where the sole had had it and a local shoe repairer in North London fixed them beautifully for me. Mind you, it cost a lot more than 20 ruppees!

  2. I remember when the leather finally gave out, after 8 years and 3 resolings, on my custom made purple Last Footwear boots with silver buckles and red stitching. I couldn’t bear the just throw them out, so I buried them ceremonially in the garden.
    That’s gonna perplex some archaeologist someday.

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