How to Spike Your Shoes + a Tale of Violence

If you came here from the google and just want the tutorial for how to make spiky shoes without using goddamn power tools, jump here.

I have mixed feelings about my interest in fashion… in that I know it’s incredibly shallow at times but I’m not a moralist so I know I don’t really need to make an arbitrary value judgement about being shallow.

If I am going to justify my interest in fashion, which is mostly an obsession with shoes, I will say…Jeffrey Campbells kick ass. At least when they are on my feet they do.

I went to my friend Mindy’s going-away party (sniff, we will miss you Mindy). It is probably the last time I’ll see her apartment, which I will also miss, sliced in above a Thai restaurant in Hilcrest. I took my gas mask photo there for her Apocalypse rager.

I wanted to impress Mindy because she is stylish and has an adorable laugh, so I wore these boots of kicking and stomping:


I was having a pretty good time until some misogynistic monster told the story of forcing an underage girl to walk home with jizz in her hair. Even in his account, she very clearly said not to do that, but he thinks no means yes and he even rubbed it in for her. This guy was basically who everyone thinks Tucker Max is, but actually an asshole. I mean, so is Tucker, but he knows he is. This monster I met last weekend pretends to be self-deprecating as an excuse to tell stories for attention in which he is always the hero and women are unfortunate victims. Because, you know, sorry, that’s just how men are lol haha what-a-riot no fuck you.

“I bet she’s traumatized for life,” I said.

I was possibly also cranky because I was sober. I’ve been trying to be nicer to my liver. Aside: I have been really hungry lately and I realized it is because I’m consuming less liquid calories.

By about 2am I’d ironed out most of my crankiness talking to a new friend on the couch about his job at Alesmith and how I really ought to give the new Skrillex album a chance. I mean normally I would be like oh no, sir, my DJ friends told me never to Skrillex but this guy could make even Skrillex sound appealing, is what I’m saying.

I was quite enjoying the conversation when a new guy walked into the party with his dudes, put on Bubble Butt by Major laser, and asked me to dance.

“I’d rather not,” I said, and my Alesmith friend waved his hands, no thank you. Bubble Butt said if we refused him, he’d shake his bubble butt in our faces.

Now I’m no stranger to butts in my face, but I don’t like stranger butts in my face, and this guy didn’t even know my name. I mean, please, people, don’t put your butts near my body parts without a proper introduction!  I raised my right foot high, a clear message, I thought, that if he proceeded with shaking his bum-bum near my nose, it would only meet boot.

Yeah, I shoved him with my shoe, pretty hard. Then I caught Katelyn’s eye and we high-tailed it outta there. My only regret is that I didn’t stay long enough to say, “Oh, I’m sorry, are you butt-hurt?”

I immediately scored two new pairs of Jeffery Campbells at the PB Buffalo Exchange. For my protection. Against butts.


DIY Easy Spiked/Studded Heels

These are pretty quick to make. I finished mine in the commercial breaks between watching Breaking Bad. Did you see the last episode? Holy fuck, what a phone call.

You’ll need…

  • Screw-on spikes. Spikes are expensive. Try Amazon, maybe. Mine are like these.
  • An awl. To avoid using power tools, we’ll make the holes by hand. So keep that in mind when picking the shoes – are you strong enough to stab ’em? I got one from Ace Hardware San Carlos Hardware for $4
  • A screwdriver with a plastic handle
  • Shoes. If you want to do pumps like me, you’ll need to choose a pair with a seam down the back, because I am not strong enough to stab through 12 layers of plastic/fabric/plether/suede/whatever-the-fuck so I’ll just go in-between the stitches
  • Maybe some super glue
  • Maybe like some felt dots or something


bushmills-whiskey-reed-ginger-beer-cocktail-mixed-drinkPour whiskey over ice and splash some sours or ginger beer or nothing on it. This is always step one why do I even have to remind you??


spikes-close-up-shoesTake a good look at the shoes and plan where you’re going to place the spikes. I opted to go in between the seams, with 4 spikes in each shoe. Space between them makes them look more menacing. I didn’t need to mark my holes, because I can count stitches relatively well, but if you need to do that probably some white out or a pencil, right?


stabbin-shoe-with-awl-lookit-my-glitter-nails-spikesPlace the tip of the awl in between the seams from the outside of the shoe. Place the plastic handle of the screwdriver inside the shoe, and use it to help you make a clean hole without denting the shoe and also so you don’t stab yourself. Go slow so you don’t break the stitches, and push inward with the awl while twisting. Like you are killing something through its eye-socket and you want it to suffer.

If you do break a stitch, you can be paranoid and put a drop of super glue on it though I’m pretty sure the screwed-on spike will hold everything together.


Screw that spike on. Do I really have to explain this? Tighten it with the screwdriver, too.


The way my particular shoes fit, I can’t even feel the screws, but if they rub on your feet in an uncomfortable way you could try a felt dot or a piece you cut from a gel insert to add space between your precious foot and the screw. Or you could just suffer for fashion like everyone else, duh.


I’m Gonna Pop Some Tags

Let me just preface this by saying no one in San Diego says “thrift shop.”  It’s thrift store, Macklemore. Another thing wrong with that song: you won’t get leopard mink for 99 cents unless it truly is drenched in urine. But I gotta love that he’s singing about popping tags instead of bottles. It’s true, one of the joys of coming home with a haul is popping off the tags and getting a second look at those low-low prices.

I tap a yardstick against the wall. The vase is almost as big around as the circle I can make with my arms, but we had just measured its narrow opening. The hole is the right diameter, maybe too snug. But at $20, it’s too much to spend on something used and scratched. I’m annoyed with the pricing. I can tell Katelyn really wants the thing.

Everyone is your friend when you wear these sparkle dresses to the club.

Everyone is your friend when you wear these sparkle dresses to the club.

Bipolar pricing is common in almost every thrift store I encounter in San Diego. A lovely peacock-patterned dress sat in St. Vincent de Paul’s for at least a month under a $50 tag because someone saw the original price. It might still be there. Meanwhile I snagged a pristine Betsey Johnson frock for less than $5. I guess it’s difficult to properly value trash that may be treasure. Or, just maybe, the volunteers / minimum wagers who sit in the back room and staple tags directly to garments (and to nylon thigh highs!!) just guesstimate with no supervision.

Weighing price against value is the primary skill to develop when thrifting. Do I like this shirt? Yes? Do I like it 7 dollars worth and knowing I have to find a replacement button? No. I used to go home with a pile of rubbish, or at least clothing that is difficult to absorb into my existing wardrobe. Now my collection is so large I can find a way to wear a pair of tights with tigers on the calves.

I still thrift primarily to impress people at parties. I try to be selective, but having a conversation starter is more valuable to me than closet and floor space. I have a silver sequined skater dress (Ross, $20, a gift) and a gold sequined skater dress (McAllister’s, $3). And if I found a black one for under $10 I’d buy that too.

The part where the upper of the pump touches your heel/ankle is called the counter.

There’s a part of the shoe called the shank! This is exciting.

I’ve sort of developed a strategy for getting through thrift stores quickly and without “splurging” too much. If my thrifting partner is easily bored, I’ll want to have at least examined the necessities — so first I beeline for the shoes. I stalk down every aisle, scanning with a jittery gaze. Pumps are easy to score because I wear size 8s. For a $3 pair of skyscrapers, I’ll jam my toes into a size 7.5 and drink until I can’t feel them. Looser heels can be made to fit with gel inserts; one is placed in the ball of the foot, and one is cut into strips to adhere to the inside of the counter (see diagram).

Next, lately, I hunt for leather in the outwear section. I’m looking for something amazing, something I’m willing to drop $30 or even $40 to own. Recently I acquired a black plether member’s-only jacket for $5. It will tide me over, but is already missing buttons.

If you really want attention for pennies, look for a ridiculous t-shirt. Since I’m lucky enough to fit into a Juniors medium or small, I shop in the boy’s section. Items of that size are misplaced there and/or boys have cool shirts. I scored both Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus concert tees on the same day, for less than 50 cents each after discounts. I thought maybe I could turn little boy shirts into crop tops, but I ruined one with sloppy scissor work. For 70 cents it was worth the experiment. Maybe I’ll find a way to save Mr. Kitty with Laser Beams Coming out of his Eyes.

Finally, I weave through the rest of the store before heading to checkout. By now I’m too eager to move on to the next store to waste my money on anything else unless it is extraordinary, like wheels I can attach to my shoes... Old Sami would have bought the Coach leather satchel for $17. New Sami didn’t because the bronze fittings don’t match her larger Coach messenger bag of the same style, the stitching on the handle seemed less than perfect, and she was thirsty and too impatient to make a $17 decision.

We’re at the large purple vase again. Katelyn is on her haunches, deciding. I want to tell her to buy it. I see the defeated look start to creep into her eyes. But $20 is not justifiable. “Manager Special” we hear come over the PA, “now all tags are half off. All colors of tags are half off, except furniture.” $10? Sold.

We get an opportunity to use the vase at a party that same week. One of Katelyn’s many hookah stems fits snug in the vase. She already had a matching purple hose. Filled with water, large as it is, the vase is heavy and stable. It looks like the caterpillar’s pipe and I’m Alice in Wonderland.

Katelyn's planning to use this purple vase with her 3 hose hookah next.

Katelyn’s planning to use this purple vase with her 3 hose pipe!