By Mary Anna Violi | @Mary Anna Violi
Entre nous: I have a secret harbored inside of me. The scent of leather ignites a fire within my being. The lush, smooth feel of vero cuoio makes the hair on my neck spring to attention. The leather-lined interior of a handcrafted sculpted Italian shoe makes my heart skip a beat. The sensuous feeling of a luxurious Italian leather shoe wrapped under, around, and over my feet satisfies a primal cry inside my soul. For the truth of the matter is, it offends my sense of aesthete to don a pair of non-leather shoes, except, of course, when walking on a beach, or skipping through sand.
My father nurtured my affinity for all shoes leather at an early age. He had learned the art of shoemaking and repair at the age of ten when he was apprenticed to a master shoemaker in his village in Italy. He railed against “those-a cheap-a junk-a shoes” made of plastic “manmade” materials. He worked only with the finest leather. As a result, I have worn leather shoes from infancy on, knowing that leather lining helps feet breathe, whereas synthetic lining promotes foot sweat.
Next weekend my niece is getting married. For months I have searched for leather shoes to complement dresses purchased for The Wedding weekend. Having bought beautiful nude leather shoes [leather lined, naturally], I was on the prowl for black patent leather shoes. After months of exhaustive searching, I finally decided to shell out the big bucks for a pair of Salvatore Ferragamo ‘Vara’ pumps. Pre-pregnancy, my foot size was a 9½ medium. Life was good. Post-childbirth, my foot morphed into a 9¾ wide. Life became hellish. I had moved from Houston back to smaller town living in The Heartland where the nearest Nordstrom is 2 ¾ hours away. Thus, I began shoe life anew through online ordering. My feet have been caressed well by my Sesto Meucci and Attiliio Giusti Leombruni footwear.
Having read the shoes’ reviews, I noted several complaints that these Ferragamos lacked the perfect fit of yore. After discussion with the designer customer service representative, I felt confident, took the plunge, and spent $425 for the shoes. Within 48 hours, my exquisite Ferragamo shoes arrived. As I carefully unwrapped them, I inhaled the essence of the leather interior. I reached for my trusty shoehorn, a vestige of when my father was alive and still working in his shoe shop.
Carefully I slid my foot into the black beauty. My little toe was cramped against the side of the toe box. I wedged my ankle into the back of the shoe. It felt like a tourniquet had been applied. The left shoe had a similar, albeit less painful, effect.
As I gazed upon the Ferragamo beauties, I realized each shoe was the equivalent cost of one night at the upscale hotel for The Wedding. I returned the Salvatore Ferragamo shoes, and ordered a non-Ferragamo pair of black leather, leather-lined shoes. I learned long ago that comfort and style in leather footwear is critical to healthy, happy feet.
Ciao for now.