Shoes and the Journalist

My Itti leather shoes
before being sent out to the shoddy corners.
Photo taken via Nokia e63 in Quezon City.
THERE’S a pebble in my journalism because of my brand new shoes.

It’s been three days since the wife and I shopped for a pair of shod –two, actually, the other for my 67-year-old father.

Shoes, like clothes, are very important to reporters, especially those always pounding the pavement to get from one coverage to another.

The latter is more out of forced circumstances: some reporters’ meagre wages don’t allow the daily use of a car or a regular cab fare affordable.

This is why I miss the Loft brand, pairs of which I used to buy at any SM Department Store before these were pulled off the shelves five years ago.

This would make the Loft leather wingtip shoes, the last pair I bought, still in shape for six years now.

My wife, who’s also picky on what her feet are in, is less lucky since my Loft branded pair have been to countries she’s never been before.

Without a lofty brand available, I settled for the Itti brand.

The last pair I bought a year ago was not as sturdy as the Loft-branded products but was as cheap –“inexpensive” or “affordable,” as some chief executives would say.

These pairs, which I bought for under US$25, are soft leather shoes that can be worn as formal and casual wear.

The most expensive pair I bought recently was online at US$82, a Land’s End brand using Jack the Scribbler’s credit card. It’s worth less than that if we exclude shipping from the United States.

Of course, with that tag price, the Land’s End brand is a, err, shoe-in for off-road walking.

The only beef I have with it is that it comes with thermal protection so that my feet are kept warm and dry during snow in the Philippines.


The Itti brand doesn’t have that since its shoemakers agree the chances of meatballs raining in the sky is as sure as having Metro Manila dumped with snow.

Still, one of Itti’s pairs could have been cut a little below the ankle bone. That’s where it’s been hurting since I tried on one of the pairs I bought.

One of my editors suggested I take a jog in my new shoes, which when I did only hastened the bruising and not the softening of the imitation leather. Band-aid became an investment. But an ice pack also helped lessen the sore.

I chose Itti since the old pair like it was supposed to after everyday use: hugging the feet, lifting not rubbing against the ankle, and still looking presentable.

Coffee-growing advocate Chit Juan has advised that I shouldn’t be a cheapskate when it comes to shoes.

“You only have one set of feet; why go cheap on them?”

So I did search because I found wisdom –as I always do– in Chit’s words after looking at how mangled my feet have become with the “affordable” shoe pairs I bought.

But the branded ones I looked into meant giving up my month’s salary in exchange for style, fit, comfort, and the foreign shoe manufacturer’s name, which was embossed or etched on the sole.

I could have gone back to Marikina, since I also bought several pairs there years ago. But these only took months of use as the sole cracked easily.

So I stuck to my strategy of buying several “cheap” pairs that I use interchangeably to lessen their depreciation.

Still, if a reporter can afford the designer shoes, I say invest in these and hold on to it for as long as the shoemaker, a similarly low-paid worker, lives.

However, a study by the International Textile, Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation ( should make us have second thoughts on buying designer brands.

The “widespread use of forced and non-remunerated overtime points to a failure by brands to ensure that the volume and the price of goods agreed with their supplier can be delivered within legal boundaries.”

But the report, titled “An Overview of Working Conditions in Sportswear Factories in Indonesia, Sri Lanka and the Philippines,” focused on multinational companies in the sportswear manufacturing industry.

That’s another story worth walking into.
This blog entry never received in any form or substance compensation,
whether in the past, present, and future,
from companies carrying the brands mentioned.]
Whenever my shoes hurt, I try to recall many Filipinos
still can't afford one, designer brand or not,
like this boy passing by on the market
in Bantayan Island, Cebu, Philippines.

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