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If the shoe fits? Footwear follies in Mumbai…

In advance of the next demolition action in our living room, we’ve been systematically pulling out stuff from various corners in an attempt to cull the crap before it has to be moved to the other room to make way for the workers.

Today was the shoe cupboard. And I knew it wouldn’t be pretty.

A few months earlier, I did one round and put together a bag of miscellaneous shoes ready to find new homes.

Here is a perfectly ordinary shoe from that pile. Nothing wrong with it, I simply purchased a similar pair while traveling which fit better so no need for a duplicate – especially when barely wearing heels post ankle injury.

Hello standard black pump

Hello standard black pump

And here is what I pulled out today.

Bleech! Looks like something ate away at the leather...

Bleech! Seriously ugh!

Now you would think I’d really done a number abusing the shoe to get it into such a condition!

However this is actually a pair! An excellent illustration of what happens if shoes are not properly covered and regularly cleaned in Mumbai. The bottom was covered. The top had come loose from its coverings with decidedly grotty consequences!

What a pair??

What a pair??

Even if you carefully clean, cover and store in shoe boxes, footwear often falls prey to mould and mildew in these parts.

And once it hits monsoon? Let’s just say I’m often amazed when shoes survive! I once took out a pair of running shoes bought just prior to monsoon that literally disintegrated…

Anyone else familiar with such footwear follies? Any innovations to keep shoes healthy and looking all spanking new in tropical conditions?

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21 Comments

  1. And in these parts you worry already when there is a bit of mold in the kitchen and bathroom during winter time… I really don’t know how I would deal with shoes disintegrating from time to time :p

  2. Oh gosh! That’s bad! I have heard keeping dried and used tea bags in the shoes are good to keep it moisture free. May be you can try that!

  3. NancyTex says:

    Wow…fascinating! I’ve never heard of shoes becoming disfigured, so to speak, just from being exposed to the air. Amazing.

  4. Hehe! I had the same problem my first year in Japan. I ended up having to throw out a fair bit – anything with leather. I simply could not get the mold off my shoes no matter what I tried. A friend told me later that drying out and special cleaning was the only solution and without a/c, that was not going to happen.

    • Yup – drying out, cleaning then careful storage helps but doesn’t save all leather shoes! There was a time I only had a small number of shoes I would wear regularly. Somehow over the years (including generous gifts from a fancy footwear friend), managed to collect more than can comfortably manage in monsoons without some serious effort!

  5. isbergamanda says:

    Wow! I haven’t ever lived in an environment where shoes disintegrate! I love leather shoes and I would imagine that these might be the first to go. Yikes!

    -Amanda at http://teachingwanderlust.com/

  6. Wow! I did not even know this could happen to shoes 🙂 Shoe hostile environment indeed. And I get all upset if after a season (if I’m unlucky) or two (yay!) of heavy wearing in slushy and murky snow/rain conditions my winter shoes disintegrate or get all leaky, etc. 😀 At least they do not fall apart while stored in a box

    • Crazy, eh? The 1st time I pulled out an old comfy pair of sneakers and they fell apart in my hands, I just had to laugh! The only gym shoes that survive are those that are used practically every day… so… lesson for me is to get out there and sweat rather than store! 😉

  7. margotowie says:

    Have you tried putting Absorbia packs in your cupboards? I found that worked really well keeping mold off shoes and clothes when I lived in that beautiful, decrepit, ridiculously expensive, so damp that fungus grew on my bedroom wall apartment in Cuffe Parade.
    I’d get them delivered by the carton and change routinely.
    Stuffing footwear (even sandals) with newspapers also reduces dampness as long as you change routinely, along with adding any other type of dessicant to the cupboard if you’re not keen on the the Absorbia product.
    This is all predominately good for uppers. But I’ve found synthetic soles simply disintegrate….
    Happy monsoon! Hope you have a nice pair of galoshes for when the lane turns into a drain after the rain :- )

    • Hahaha! Synthetic shoes do just disintegrate 🙂

      Yup – just pulled out my monsoon sandals (not galoshes) which are so far the ONLY thing that survives the muck and several feet of water. 😉

      I’ve tried the newspaper trick – you are right needs to be changed regularly.

      Will check out ‘absorbia’ and see how it works! Particularly concerned about the closets n shoes while we are away during the monsoon.

      Hope alls well with you?

  8. margotowie says:

    Surviving here!
    One thing I didn’t mention as I couldn’t find them there is using vacuum zip locks – the ones you suck the air out of with a vacuum cleaner. If you can find or get on a trip abroad, they’re perfect for long term storage. I still use for winter clothes with added advantage that they reduce the size, giving more cupboard space.

    • Has the flooding reduced and things getting back to normal or still wading through water?

      I’ve coveted those vacuum zip lock baggies for years – great concept! However we don’t have a vacuum cleaner in India so the whole premise is moot. 😉

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