6:20:14 My New Clarks Sandals

Yesterday, I bought a new pair of Clarks sandals after my old pair gave out. After a run of at least fifteen years. I say fifteen because I remember wearing the old sandals (pictured here) in Japan during the muggy month of May in 1999, when they made eminent sense for those days heavy with walkng.

My first pair of Clarks cost about $80, the most I've ever paid for sandals--given I had grown content with no-name flip-flops that cost a few bucks at most (even today). But I rationalized the big price for Clarks because the sandals were exceptionally well made with leather straps and a sole that featured the latest in closed-cell air construction. Needless to say, the Clarks were comfortable--why I considered buying them in the first place.

[old clarks]

When you amortize $80 over 15+ years, you end up with a low annual cost: something in the ballpark with cheap flip-flops. Moreover, in Oregon, the weather demanding sandals is not that frequent outside of summer, so annual usage is measured in weeks, not months.

That Clarks makes a long-lived sandal, probably rivalling the car-tire soled Mexican huaraches, is testament to the engineering of a London-based shoemaker that goes back to 1825. (One of my walks in my first pair of Clarks sandals took me to the Clarks store near Victoria Station in London.) I like to think the tradition of nearly 200 years rides behind this latest incarnation I bought of Clarks sandals, also selling for $80.

That the new Clarks cost the same as my first pair must reflect the cheaper labor cost of producing in China (as against wherever the earlier pair was made--I can't say, so much in identifying marks is long rubbed away).

I don't know if the new Clarks will see me through 15 years and travel to several continents, as the predecessor pair did, but I know, from the start, these fit better, having an adjustable strap running around my heel, which the earlier pair lacked. These new pair also have leather uppers and there is something about leather, as it ages and breaks in, that makes it comfortable in a way nylon or other petrochemical variations can never match.

Of course, when you find a shoe manufacturer whom you like, you consider what else they offer, thinking they might have the fit for your foot right, that their shoe lasts had you in mind ... It's been a while since I wore the shoes, but while in the Portland Clarks store I couldn't help but notice they also stock their famous Desert Boots--the tan ones I like. Maybe next paycheck.

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(click to enlarge image)

The Cat at Light's End

Read Charlie Dickinson's story collection, The Cat at Light's End, as an ebook in these downloadable formats:

.mobi (Kindle)
.epub (most other readers)
.pdf (for PCs)

Also, a flash fiction, "Ylena Thinks Nyet," is at Cigale Literary Magazine.

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