Monday, February 11, 2008

public shoe store

Saturday afternoon I went to the coolest shoe store around. It's been in Clarendon, a neighborhood in Arlington, Virginia, since 1938. This is a picture of the guy; his store is mentioned at the end of this article. He's a podiatrist and he knows what shoes will make your feet not hurt. Also, he was able to tell me that the pain in the ball of my foot is probably not caused by a cracked bone, which it hadn't even occurred to me to worry about.

The store looks like it's been there since 1938 - there's hand-lettered signs in the window, shoe boxes lining all the walls, terrible overhead fluorescent lighting, and you sit in chairs with mustard-yellow velvet upholstery. You tell the guy what you want, he looks at your feet and comes back with the perfect shoe. Perfect in comfort, if not always in appearance.

I told him about my nasty plantar fasciitis and he brought me a new pair of Etonics that make my feet want to cry for joy but are entirely unsuitable for nice clothes. After offering me a few pairs of black orthopedic shoes, he dug up a pair of SoftWalks and grudgingly agreed to let me buy them for work. (He also put some arch supports in my Norwegian dance shoes but only after I promised to wear the Etonics whenever I walk. So I think I'm going to be a pretty obvious tourist as I march through the streets of Berlin. Sigh.)

Public Shoe Store, people. Go while you can. (He's in his 70s - this can't go on forever.)

5 comments:

erin*carly said...

ooh, the soft walks are cute! i'm sure your feet will thank you after walking around in these new kicks in Germany . . . i'm sure you won't seem too much like a tourist. at least you can speak the language. maybe they'll think you were just on vacation in the States and picked up some of those American shoes. maybe. :)

J.Po said...

That man is so adorable - I wish I could pinch his cheeks! I bet he could find me some 11.5 narrows that make me feel like I'm walking on clouds. Perhaps it's time for another visit out east...

thefastfifty said...

Another vote in favor of this place...I have terribly flat feet and live nearby...decided to pop in partly because of the endorsement. In a few days I pick up a reasonably-cool-looking, super-supportive pair of P W Minor mens' dress shoes. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I'm forty years old, and have been going to the store since I was a kid. I love the store and the staff.

docdaughter said...

This is one of Doc's (the owner's) children -- just out of curiousity googled my dad's store and was pleased to see your post. He is one of a kind. My grandfather started the store and my dad and uncle worked there since they were kids. We all (the grandkids) worked there, too, many years (and Clarendons) ago -- there are sometimes some great-grandchildren in there helping out. Do go see him if you can -- he specializes in problem feet. He has customers who have moved out of the area, even country, and still order shoes from him! Tell him daughter #3 sent you.