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Few experiences are similar to retiring an old pair of shoes you’ve worn for years. There is just something unique about the relationships we develop with our footwear. That is why our culture has an idiom that compares comfort to an old pair of shoes. At any rate, there comes a point at which every pair has to be retired.

The thing about retiring old shoes is that you almost always see it coming. Maybe you notice a small hole in the heel of your favorite sneakers. You do a double take, just to make sure. You are disappointed to confirm that you really did see it. Now you wonder how much life they have left in them.

Old Shoes Are Comfortable

So why is it so hard to part with an old pair of shoes? For most people, the biggest thing is that they are giving up a pair of very comfortable shoes. Think about it. If you owned a pair of shoes that were too uncomfortable to wear, you wouldn’t hang on to them long enough for them to get old.

The fact that you’ve been wearing a particular pair of shoes for so long proves they are comfortable. And if they are your favorite pair of shoes, they are probably your most comfortable pair, too.

Old Shoes Are Broken In

By their nature, old shoes are broken in. That means they are easy to slip on and off. They are easy to walk in. A good pair of broken-in shoes can almost make you feel like you’re not wearing any. That said, you know that the new shoes you end up buying are going to take a long time to reach the same status.

You Know How to Care for Old Shoes

One of the big reasons you appreciate your old shoes is that you know how to care for them. You have owned them long enough to know the easiest way to clean them. You know the easiest way to apply the shoe odor eliminator that keeps the stink away. You know enough not to wear them in the rain and snow.

You are going to have to start all over again with a new pair. How will that new pair react to the weather? How well will your shoe deodorizer work on them? How easy will they be to clean? It is like starting over with a new relationship.

Your Feet Know How to Walk in Old Shoes

The worst thing of all is having to learn to walk in new shoes. It may sound stupid, but your feet already know how to walk in the old ones. You don’t have to think about it. But with a new pair of shoes, walking the same way might cause blisters. You might end up with sore feet at the end of the day. It could take some time for your feet to get used to the new pair.

Maybe you could do what your parents did and have those old shoes bronzed. Wait, do they even do that anymore? If you can find someone to bronze them, you won’t need to spray them with a foot deodorizer anymore. Then again, you can always have a nice little ceremony and then throw them in the trash. After all, keeping an old pair of shoes hanging around doesn’t do much for your fashion sense, does it?

It is a sad day when old shoes have to be retired. But the experience is part of life. So chin up, bucko. That new pair will be old soon enough.