Saturday, March 2, 2013

My Collection: Nine West High-Heeled Pumps

In the world of shoes, I'm only vaguely familiar with what's universally respected.  I'm sure every woman wants a pair of Christian Louboutins to join her Manolo Blahniks in the closet, and it seems there's an appreciation for most anything with the Steve Madden name.  Nine West?  I'm not so sure, but on a personal level, I have a soft spot in my heart for them.  Maybe it goes back to when I was younger and spent a lot of time in my mother's closet?  One of my favorite pairs of her pumps was made by Nine West and I always found myself going back to them.  When I was out of high school and building my first collection of trashed and abused shoes by way of the local Salvation Army thrift store, I picked up a few pairs of Nine West pumps.  They were all of the same design with the sides of the heels featuring a ever-so-slight concave scallop that gave the back of them two character lines in the form of nicely-defined creases.  The look was nothing overly dramatic, just very stylish and elegant.  This was about fifteen years ago and I imagine the shoes were about ten years old at the time, but I believe that if they were sold today, the design would look very modern and work well with just about anything.

I suppose my love of Nine West shoes brought me to these.  There's nothing very trashed or abused about them- they're worn and used but could easily be put into service by a woman looking for a pair of pumps for a formal event, night of partying or even day at the office.  The topline is low, exposing a good portion of the foot, while the pointed toe box is stylish but isn't very severe. 

The heels are probably what would be described as of a medium height, although for the sake of categorization on this blog I'll refer to them as high heels.  They taper to become very thin at the bottom, which is a look that always appeals to me.  The right shoe is leaning to the side just a bit- partially because of the somewhat uneven tile surface of my dining room table that makes for an easy place to photograph shoes with heels, and partially because the top piece is completely gone, as you'll see in a minute.

The black leather uppers are practically perfect.  There are a few scratches here and there but overall it's soft and pliable, with nice creases from lots of wear.  Nine West always seemed to use good leather for their shoes.  Then again, I'm no expert and am probably making uneducated assumptions based on my limited experiences with their products, which I admittedly don't wear (but, oh, how I dream I could).

I wish I could have seen these pumps in action.  They're a size 8M, which makes them almost perfect candidates to end up on the feet of a friend of mine who will be helping me with contributions to this blog in the future.  I have to decide how much I love these shoes- do I want them to survive, or do I want them to suffer?  I'm trying to come up with ways to bribe her into walking through the woods or even a gravel parking lot in these... you know, just in case I decide to pull the trigger on extreme abuse.

Inside, there's not much to see.  The silver linings are in great shape and still have a decent amount of cushioning beneath them.  I'm willing to bet it was a pleasure for the wearer to slide her feet into these over and over again.  I know I'd be doing that, keeping myself entertained for hours upon hours if they fit my feet.
The only visible signs of wear are in the quarters where the cloth-like material is starting to separate where it is joined together behind the heels of the feet.  Still, it's minimal, and has no effect on the integrity of the pumps.  To quote a popular line from eBay descriptions of trashed and abused shoes, these really do have a lot of life left in them.

The outsoles have shallow ridges stamped into the rubber to provide a modicum of grip on slippery surfaces and are intact for the most part, with wear being limited to the areas subjected to the weight of the wearer.  Even then, the ridges have been worn smooth but the outsoles have not lost any of their thickness.
The tips of the pointed toes are looking a little rough, as to be expected of pumps with pointed toe boxes.  It's probably quite challenging to keep them from coming in contact with everything and makes sense that they'd be among the parts of the shoes exhibiting the most wear.

However, nothing compared to the top pieces, which are worn to the nail on the left shoe and completely gone on the right, exposing the nail and the plastic structure of the heel itself.  I always wonder if the wearer knows when a top piece is missing?  I remember my wife having a pair of sandals that had a huge crack spanning the width of the outsole, yet she never knew it because she never looked at the bottoms of her shoes.  Is it possible these shoes were worn for weeks or months with the top piece missing, and only when the wearer noticed were they finally retired?  How wonderful it would be to get inside a woman's head!  I've had some interesting conversations in the past but they've just scratched the surface of my curiosity.

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