My granny always used to say that you could judge a man by his shoes. On Saturday mornings as a child, I remember her making a list of errands to run – greengrocers, butchers, and occasionally the cobblers to have her shoes re-heeled or fixed. I’m 39 – and I’ve never been to a cobbler. I’ve always thought of the cobblers as an outdated idea – why fix something when you can simply buy a new pair on the high street for probably the same price as a repair?
In fact, sorting out our shoe cupboard in the hallway at the weekend was quite a somewhat shameful relief when I found 11 pairs of shoes that the Jones family would be parting with. We tend to hoard them somehow and cleaning out felt liberating for me – until the mister started rooting through the bag, interrogating me as to why I was throwing them away.
Too small [Jensen’s], too big for the next boy down [Lyoto’s], too worn down to be seen in public [Gavin’s], too smelly [I think they might have been mine – but in my defence they were in that state from husky walking in the fields]…and too “what was I thinking?” in one case [yes, those were mine] – overall, probably £300 of shoes. 11 more pairs of shoes going to a landfill site; what a waste.
I’ll buy shoes like people buy pints of milk – at least, I did before I had children. The mister on the other hand has always been quite the opposite. He has two pairs of shoes – three if you count the shoes he wore for our wedding. He has sports shoes and everything-else shoes. He wears these shoes until they are completely dead – and then some. He wears them until they cannot survive another outing, and then he will casually mention that he needs some new ones. That time came about two months ago, but I was notified about a month ago when the upper actually parted company from the sole.
This time, whilst searching online for a new set of my husband’s usual choice in footwear, I accidentally stumbled across Po-Zu [Japanese for “pause”, pronounced poh-zoo] on Instagram and found the kindred shoe-spirit my husband was meant to be connected with.
Ethical. Sustainable. I read on. SHOES FOR LIFE.
We were very kindly offered a pair to try – and in retrospect I really should have asked for shoes for myself since I fell in love with these and these…and these – but everything about Po-Zu tells me that the mister should be wearing them and so, as he benefits very rarely from any review on our blog, I offered him the opportunity, hoping he would say no gracefully.
And so here they are. Made in Portugal, and guaranteed for 12 months. I’ve never, ever heard of a shoe being guaranteed before, but I love brands that stand by the quality of their products.
The shoes are similar and yet very different in terms of craftsmanship to the shoes the mister usually chooses. The upper looks exactly as I’d imagine, but the sole is very unique. Po-Zu call it a “foot mattress” – made of coconut husk and natural latex – and it feels like walking on air. Or on my bed. Again, I’m left wondering why I passed this opportunity over so happy my husband has the chance to experience such comfort.
His “Brisk” shoes are the new love of his life. I generally dislike the style of shoe he buys, but these are beautifully crafted, and the Po-Zu butterfly is imprinted repeatedly over the sole neatly and so there’s no huge trademark or label screaming at everyone. They’re just so unique, so special – and beautifully created at the hands of people who are treated fairly, work in a safe environment and are skilled in their profession. There is no guilt attached to those shoes, no exploitation – and no air miles.
The ethical promise Po-Zu have made is heartening, refreshing and speaks of a company which values morals over money, seeking to build a future by doing the right thing, making better choices – which isn’t always easy in business. Po-Zu aren’t just talking the talk, they’re walking it too – and now so is my husband.
Maybe more of us should judge ourselves by our shoes.
We were gifted these shoes in exchange for an honest review.