You served me faithfully for many years.
This picture was taken about a year ago, when we were about to move to a new house, and I was trying to get rid of things that really had no reason to go with us. I am one of those people who find it difficult to throw away anything that might possibly still have some good use: if not useful at the moment, then possibly so at some future time, or, if near the end of its useful life, not definitively arrived there.
But those, whether prudent or not, are purely pragmatic considerations. My attachment to these shoes was a purer thing, a regard founded upon but not limited to merely material considerations. I loved them. But they were effectively deceased, inasmuch as they were no longer capable of serving as shoes, and so I reluctantly put them down, as one might a beloved dog who is in visible pain and can no longer wag its tail or eat its supper.
They were from a company called San Antonio Shoes, the model called Time Out, which is still in their catalog (click on that link to see what my shoes looked like, more or less, when they were new). This was at least the second pair I've worn out to almost the degree which you see here; possibly it's the third, but second seems to fit more closely into the possible span of time in which I wore them.
In 1992 I had fairly severe back problems (a ruptured disk) and had surgery to repair it. The surgery was successful, but I continued for years to have a certain amount of pain. Somewhere along in the following five to ten years I bought a pair of these shoes, and their cushiony sole and insole did great things for my back. I suppose some sort of athletic shoes might have done as well, but these were presentable for work. I wore them out, then bought another pair. The second pair, the one you see here (I think), was looking very bad by the time I stopped going in to work in 2016. They had the cracks in the sides which you can see in the picture, and the sole of the right one had twice come loose and been glued back. I still wore them fairly often around the house, enough for them to deteriorate further. When the sole came loose again, the upper was so far gone that there wasn't enough leather there to which the sole could be glued. That wasn't so very long ago, maybe a year before I had to make the difficult decision described above.
I now have two pairs of this same model, one brown and one black. I don't have occasion to wear them all that often, so at my age I don't expect to have to replace them. I notice that the company's price for them is now $209. I think that first pair cost no more than $60 or $70, and the second not much over $100.
Earlier today, while thinking about this post and looking for the photo, I experienced a painful muscle spasm in my back which was one of the problems I had long before and long after that 1992 surgery, and which has not happened for at least the past ten years. Now, some hours later, it still hurts and I'm moving slowly and carefully, trying not to aggravate it. It's as if the shoes have spoken to me from beyond the grave: don't forget us.