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When I bought my first pair of Sam Edelman Petty ankle boots in January 2014, I had been coveting them for at least a year. When I initially spotted them in college, the $140 price tag seemed exorbitant, something meant only for people with things like actual careers who did not consider peanut butter a main food group.
But then, armed with a real job and a sudden interest in “investment pieces,” I went for it. And when that box arrived, the boots were even better than I imagined: The black leather was soft and supple, the sole was sturdy, the 1.5-inch heel was just enough for a boost but not enough to ever cause an ache. These boots — you know this is coming, I’m sorry — were made for walking.
As a resident of New York, where “a stroll” can mean a few miles, I put the ankle boots to the test right away. I forewent Bean boots and tromped to work in the ice and snow and didn’t suffer any more than I usually would.
In the spring a few months later, I traveled to Tokyo and wore them while I climbed endless temple steps and sat at too-cool cocktail bars. In the summertime I paired them with sundresses, dancing at concerts in the park. The boots went with everything — every outfit, every situation. Which is why, almost two years after buying them, they were one of the few pairs that came with me to Iceland and Amsterdam.
I wore them during late-night sprints to try to see Northern Lights, to eat at hot dog stands, to see too many museums, to dodge cyclists, to walk more than a dozen miles a day. I was wearing them the one rainy day three different tourists asked for directions. I’d like to claim a little credit, but I’m pretty sure it was the boots — black, sleek, and understated — that made me look like I knew where I was going.
When I got back to my apartment in New York and pulled off my shoes, I saw they were looking a little worse for the wear. The soles had gotten thin, the leather was separating from the base, and the heel was scraped up. I had worn them constantly for nearly two years; it was to be expected. But I was a little bummed. These boots had seen some stuff, man: three continents and extreme weather and dance parties and first dates and church services and long walks alone. I put them in the “let go” pile with a giant, sad sigh.
And then I immediately sat down to order another pair.