Boots That Delivered

charity unicef boots

If these boots could talk, they would tell you an amazing story. Worn by Canadian Nigel Fisher, they have visited thirteen countries and have trekked over 100,000 kilometres during thirty years with the UN and UNICEF. They have walked through deserts, mountains, tropical rainforests, jungles, sandstorms and torrential rains. Nigel’s footwear brought emergency and vaccination programs to millions of children.

These boots navigated through the perilous rubble of Port-au-Prince after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti. They witnessed negotiations between the Afghan government, the opposing Northern Alliance and an international coalition to ensure a polio vaccination campaign could proceed following the bombings when war broke out in 2001. Nigel wore them when he visited a UNICEF-supported shelter for girls in Bunia, Democratic Republic of Congo, who had been brutally raped by militias, some of them captured for years, many with babies.  The stories go on and on, just like the boots did.

Canadian humanitarian Nigel Fisher’s life-saving boots were inducted into the Bata Shoe Museum in 2012.

http://www.unicef.ca/en/video/the-story-of-a-pair-of-boots

https://secure3.unicef.ca/site/SPageServer?pagename=about_boots&s_locale=en_CA

http://www.unicef.ca/en/press-release/canadian-humanitarians-life-saving-boots-inducted-into-the-bata-shoe-museum

Holt Renfrew: Under the Skin of Luxury Shoes

museums galleries luxinside x-ray

In a travelling exhibit, high-end retailer Holt Renfrew partnered with the French Embassy to reveal what the highest price items are made of. Combining art and science, Paris-based journalist Laurence Picot used a medical scanner and photography to examine fourteen top luxury items.  These included the new Hermès saddle, the S.T. Dupont lighter and Pierre Corthay shoes.

“LuxInside – Traces of Man” offers an inside view of excellent craftsmanship.  “The principle behind luxury products is that you should not see signs of human innovation or the work that went into them,” Picot explained. Nevertheless, she was fascinated by the manufacturing processes and the people involved. Unsurprisingly, luxury retailers were unwilling to reveal the inner qualities of their designs. This only set Picot and a collective of artists and scientists onto an investigation that “diagnoses” the talent, the traces of what man has produced.

You may have wondered aloud at the $1,000 price tag for a pair of red-soled Christian Louboutin heels. There’s more to luxury than meets the eye. It is the use of a very durable, costly metal — originally patented for the aircraft industry — to structure the heel and sole, resulting in a heel that will properly support a women’s ankle and stand the test of time.

The exhibit arrived in Canada after its tour of Europe and South America.

http://www.fajomagazine.com/exclusives/luxinside

http://strategyonline.ca/2014/05/22/holt-renfrews-see-through-exhibit/

Photo Source:

http://www.blogto.com/fashion_style/2014/05/this_week_in_fashion_luxinside_exhibit_ideal_charity_fashion_show_and_designer_sample_sales/

National Museum in Manila: Imelda Marcos’ Shoes Don’t Shine

museums Galleries Imelda Marcos shoes

Imelda Marcos became known worldwide for her massive shoe collection. She was often used as a symbol of excess in the Philippines, where many residents were forced to walk barefoot due to the extreme level of poverty in nation. The flamboyant first lady’s infamous footwear collection is housed in the National Museum in Manila. The once beautiful and expensive designer shoes have now been ravaged by termites, storm damage, and just overall neglect.

The enormous shoe collection was among the belongings left behind when the former Philippines’ first lady and her dictator spouse were driven from the country by a revolt in 1986.

http://www.inquisitr.com/341699/imelda-marcos-former-philippines-first-ladys-show-collection-ruined-by-neglect/

Photo Source:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2207353/Imelda-Marcos-legendary-3-000-plus-shoe-collection-destroyed-termites-floods-neglect.html

Bata Shoe Museum: The Rise of Sneaker Culture

museum galleries Bata out of the box

The Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto is a cultural gem in a shoe-box-like structure designed by famed architect Raymond Moriyama. Boasting a collection of 13,000 shoes and related artifacts, the museum has four galleries, with displays ranging from Chinese bound-foot shoes and ancient Egyptian sandals to chestnut-crushing clogs and glam platforms.

The current special exhibit “Out of the Box: The Rise of Sneaker Culture” explores the history of the sneaker with some 120 running shoes from the past 150 years. On view are some of the rarest sneakers from the archives of Adidas, Nike, Reebok, PUMA, Converse and England’s Northampton Museums and Art Gallery, with the largest collection of historical footwear in the world. On loan are shoes from rap music legends Run DMC, sneaker guru Bobbito Garcia aka Kool Bob Love and Dee Wells from OSD (Obsessive Sneaker Disorder).

Now termed a “status symbol and icon of urban culture,” the historical beginnings of the sneaker are shown from its emergence in the 19th century to becoming “one of the most democratic forms of footwear” in the 20th century.

http://www.torontosun.com/2014/01/15/out-of-the-box-at-torontos-bata-shoe-museum

www.batashoemuseum.ca

Scottish Ghillie Brogues by Thistle Shoes

Shoemaker Thistle Scottish Brogues

The origins of Ghillie Brogues stretch back through Scottish history. A‘Ghillie’ was an indispensable assistant to a Highland chief – carrying hunting rifles or fishing rods. On occasion, he even carried his employer.

Ghillies walked and walked….through the bogs, rivers, bracken, and heather. They scaled the highlands or scrambled through the lowlands.  If walking was hard on a man, it was worse for his footwear.

Ghillie Brogues were designed for the work of a Ghillie. A patterned network of fine holes punched in the shoe leather called ‘brogueing’ allowed any water to drain while walking. Originally, the laces were above the ankle so the shoes wouldn’t get stuck in the mud. Thistle Shoes of Scotland makes Ghillie Brogues as they have always been made. Tough as nails – but with a heart of gold. Not unlike the people for whom they’re named.

A footnote:

Why call the company “Thistle Shoes?  In the Middle Ages, the Scots and the Norsemen were at war. King Haakon of Norway and his men landed at the Coast of Largs at night intent on surprising their Scottish foe. Removing their boots, they crept on bare feet towards the Scottish army. Then one of the attackers stepped on the sharp spines of a Scots thistle. The yell he made at this unwelcome assault on his feet alerted the Scots who drove the attackers from their shore.

http://www.thistleshoes.com/wp-content/themes/thistle-shoes/catalog/brochure.pdf

DIY Shoe-Making

Shoemaker DIY

The recent enthusiasm of the Maker Movement – tinkerers, craftspeople and cottage industrialists – has made DIY a prevalent, profitable enterprise. Further, advances in technology (e.g. 3-D printers by MakerBot) have eliminated barriers to the business boom in the basement. Even shoe-making is ripe for reinvention.

Sarah Eldershaw, a Toronto shoe-maker, developed a mail-order kit for DIY footwear.  Her “Shoe String Assemblies” are available online.  Each pack contains a needle and thread, a rubber sole, a pair of laces, instructions and a handful of leather bits. The hide (all vegetable tanned to avoid toxins) is pre-punched to make stitching easier. Unlike most shoemaking, there’s no glue involved (not even in the shipping packs, which are held together with the laces), and the design doesn’t require a last, the form required to mold most footwear.

Eldershaw’s invention, which she calls “Moxfords”, was a graduation project from OCADU (Ontario College of Art and Design University).  It was also a winner at the competition sponsored by Association of Chartered Industrial Designers of Ontario. Judges were impressed that Eldershaw wore her prototypes throughout the 12-hour event.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/home-and-garden/design/introducing-footwear-for-the-diy-crowd/article18778150/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maker_movement

N.B.A Players’ Shoe Obsession

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Pro basketball players score points under the net or from the line with passion.  They score sneakers on the street just as avidly. Wearing head-turning sneakers is part of ‘who has game’.  “Players want to be seen, and they don’t want to look alike,” said Jay Gaspar, the Phoenix Suns’ equipment manager. “Shoes become their identity.”

The N.B.A restricts players’ professional apparel to matching uniforms; they even supply the socks. But sneakers are different – the players are free to express themselves. And they do, with mucho gusto and mucho dinero. (Pleasure and pay checks.)

Go to the link below to see which player has:

  • four locations across different states to warehouse his sneaker collection?
  • a Nike sponsorship but gives himself a ‘sneaker allowance’ of $2,000 a month to buy more?
  • a sneaker vault in his home?
  • a 2,000-pair collection?
  • shoes accented in gold as a tribute to the Grammy Awards?
  • 200 pairs piled in boxes next to his bed?
  • splurged on 57 pairs in a single afternoon?
  • said he would love to wear a new style every game?
  • played in a pair of Air Yeezy 2s — an exceedingly rare sneaker, the product of a collaboration between Nike and the rapper Kanye West?
  • claimed to have “the best shoe game in the league”?

http://fdra.org/latest-news/a-huge-n-b-a-rivalry-sneaker-collections-pics/

See also:

http://ikeepsit100.com/category/sneaker-addict/

 

‘Sneakerheads’

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Picture this:

Young boys with sneakers slung around their shoulders and pockets full of cash, huddle in hotel ballrooms and high school gyms, shouting and bartering as if they were on a trading room floor. This latest sports footwear craze, this teenage marketplace for high-end sneakers, has spread across the US. These teenage traders know their stuff; they recite resale values and spout debut dates for new lines.

Imagine this:

One of the 14-year-olds already has 81 pairs in his sneaker collection, costing $11,000 but worth probably $20,000 if he sold them all. But that’s a small corner of the market: basketball sneaker sales made up $4.5 billion of the total $21 billion athletic shoe business, according to Princeton Retail Analysis.

Top this:

At a Manhattan event, one young vendor turned away $98,000 in cash for his Nike Air Yeezy 2 “Red October” sneakers, designed by Kanye West and signed by the artist himself onstage at the Nassau Coliseum in February.

Excerpts from Article and Photo Source:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/17/business/a-thriving-market-where-air-jordans-are-blue-chips.html?_r=0

 

How to Read a Flying Shoe? Duck and Shrug.

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Footwear – viewed in the Middle East as low and unclean – was hurled at his head, but a seemingly oblivious George W. Bush just ducked and shrugged.

December 14, 2008 was a memorable day in the histrionics of polished shoes and politics. But, there was one question left for journalists to ponder in this saga.

           What does it take to actually offend George W. Bush?

If not the greatest insult an Arab can muster – the hurling of footwear at a man’s head – then what?Is it that the photographic moment ricochets globally and stays, replaying in an endless loop for the ages?Or maybe that the Iraqi shoe-hurler himself is all but deified, replete with offers of marriage?

No, not even those humiliations managed to penetrate the willfully oblivious presidential bubble, after Bush so deftly ducked and just as quickly shrugged off the leather projectiles at a that Baghdad news conference.

“Whether or not Bush gets it – and he is famous for not getting international etiquette – this was a monumental offence,” says Mark McCrum, whose book ‘Going Dutch In Beijing’ chronicles faux pas in many cultures.

“The thrower didn’t just use shoes, which are the lowest, most unclean thing in his world, he called Bush a dog. The combination of the two, it just doesn’t get worse than that.”

In fairness to Bush, it is easy to miss the sheer magnitude of shoe symbolism in the Middle East. But think back and you might recall that shoes played a starring role at the beginning of the Bush’s Iraq ordeal five years ago, when, just as the old regime collapsed, Iraqis spontaneously began removing their shoes and beating them against anything bearing the likeness of Saddam Hussein.

“Whatever George Bush makes of it, the throwing of the shoes comes from a place embedded deep in the culture of the Middle East. This was a cultural message. And the worst one available.”

 

Excerpts from article by Mitch Potter:

http://www.thestar.com/news/2008/12/20/the_greatest_insult_of_all.html

 

Photo Source:

https://www.google.ca/search?q=shoe+throwing+at+bush+images&es_sm=93&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=XaxNU7z7KqjN8wHsqYHQCQ&ved=0CCoQsAQ&biw=1366&bih=643

 

Feeling Concrete (or Snow) Under His Toes

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Journalist Thane Burnett went barefoot to feel the true grit of Toronto’s streets. He was a neophyte to the unshod lifestyle; his 10 little ‘piggies’ were always wrapped up tight while going to market — or anywhere else. For this one-day experiment on the pavement, he walked with Barefoot Moe, an expert on the ropes (and over the cracks).

Their conversation and the bare bottom walkabout did not convert the journalist.  He certainly did his research, presenting facts and anecdotes on the increasing popularity of going barefoot. However, as he walked he glanced enviously at the shoes on a homeless man and at the tiny ones on a baby. The article gives clear voice to Barefoot Moe’s enthusiasm. But, once the journalist was alone, he frantically washed his feet in an office washroom sink and quickly donned his black-leather shoes.  Once a shoddie, always a shoddie? 

No flip flopping in this story.

 

Adapted from:  http://www.theobserver.ca/2009/08/25/barefooters-take-to-the-road

Photo Source of Barefoot Moe:  https://www.google.com/images?hl=en&q=barefoot+Moe+images&gbv=2&sa=X&oi=image_result_group&ei=cyxDU9noD4a9yAGHsoGwBw&ved=0CBsQsAQ