There are a surprising number of abandoned shoes on the sidewalks of Pittsburgh. You can find them in any neighborhood and in any season.
For several years, I’ve documented this phenomenon whenever I’ve come across it. Why? Because a shoe on the street likely means a bare foot somewhere in the city, at some point in time, and any bare foot in any city is something interesting to think about.
The next entry in the Handmade Maps series will showcase these findings.
The abandoned shoe pictured above is the first one I ever really noticed. It’s a tiny hiking sandal and I found it exactly like this on a wall in Squirrel Hill two summers ago.
Of all the abandoned shoes I’ve found, those once belonging to children make the most sense to me: a child can kick off a shoe while being held, or pushed in a stroller, or ambling along, without any adult authority noticing until it’s too late.
The interesting thing about this shoe is that it appears someone picked it up off the ground and arranged it. First, it’s perfectly aligned on the wall. Second, the Velcro strap is buckled. And I can’t imagine that either of those things just happened by chance.