I work at home, and when I’m not working I hang out mainly with lowlifes, so I don’t have many opportunities to wear what my daughter, when she was little, called my Out Shoes. I do need Out Shoes when I’m invited to play golf at rich-guy clubs, and on those occasions (sadly infrequent) I always wear my sorriest-looking pair, because I know that, while I’m playing, the locker-room shoe guy will miraculously turn them back into something I wouldn't be ashamed to be seen wearing in a clubhouse. On a weekend-trip to Pine Valley many years ago, I packed three pairs, and set them out for resuscitation one pair at a time.
My oldest surviving pair of Out Shoes are some black loafers, which various locker-room guys kept respectable-looking for almost a quarter-century. Those guys couldn’t do anything about the soles, however. The leather got thinner and thinner, until, finally, five or ten years ago, one sole wore all the way through. The hole grew to the size of a quarter, and when I sat down for drinks after golf I had to be careful to keep that foot flat on the ground. I also had to stay away from puddles.
I’m too cheap to buy a new pair -- the last time I splurged on Out Shoes was four and a half years ago, for my daughter’s wedding -- but shoe-repair shops in my area, as in much of the rest of the country, are just about extinct. Last month, I finally sent my worn-out loafers to a mail-in repair place, called Resole America, and the result is so awesome that I wish I’d done it a decade sooner.
New leather soles, combination heels, and a complete refinishing of the uppers cost $65, plus shipping -- way less than new shoes. The entire round trip took a month, but the wait was worth it. And I didn’t miss out on anything, because, as usual, I had no reason to go Out.