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It's a Living

With brains in their heads and feet in their shoes

Faherty’s Shoes enters its 65th year as a family business

The Faherty family business had been fitting feet for six decades.
The Faherty family business had been fitting feet for six decades.
Faherty’s Shoes

When my feet were young, I bought shoes off the rack at discount shoe stores and chose them according to how good they made my legs look and how well they matched my outfit. I remember nimbly maneuvering the cobblestone streets of Rome in four-inch heels, an activity that should be an event at the Olympics. Of course, I also remember getting on a plane after this, wondering if I would ever walk normally again. Lesson learned. Ill-fitting, albeit attractive shoes are strictly the province of youth.

This story would horrify Ed Faherty, of Faherty’s Shoes, on Second Street Pike in Upper Southampton, a man who makes his living trying to ensure that people are comfortable in their shoes.

In 1959, Ed’s father — Edward Faherty Sr. — started the business. His two sons took over in the 1970s. It’s still a family business and two nieces have now joined the team.

Faherty’s sells shoes for everybody, including those whose feet have so far presented them with no particular problems. Ed is old school and when you come into the store, he will measure your feet to ensure a proper fit, and that you go home with a smile on your face.

Yet, feet being such idiosyncratic appendages, Faherty’s can be of even greater service when it comes to custom shoes for people whose needs are other than standard.

Are your feet unusually narrow? Need triple width or a deeper shoe? “We either have them or can get them,” says Ed. And that’s just the beginning of what the store offers.

Faherty’s designs orthotics, custom-made shoe inserts to accommodate or correct an irregular walking pattern. All are made on premises in the shop. Faherty and his team can also alter shoes for leg length discrepancies and other problems.

Even more severe conditions like crushed or broken feet, forefoot amputations, and Charcot foot, which occurs in people who have suffered significant nerve damage, can be helped with the proper shoes. Faherty’s also makes custom molded lower leg braces.

Available at the store are related items for purchase such as toe spreaders, toe crests, shoehorns, diabetic socks, compression socks, socks in a wide range of sizes, and leather care accessories.

Aching feet can result not only in a miserable outlook on life, but also a chronic bad mood, and Ed takes great satisfaction in being able to alleviate a lot of this, and making people feel better in general. Most of his customers have been coming back for generations.

I feel good knowing that when my old dogs start complaining and trying to hobble me, I can go to Faherty’s for relief. It’s easy to take shoes for granted and forget what it would be like not to have any.

It’s almost impossible to believe but worldwide more than 600 million people don’t own a single pair of shoes, people forced to walk figuratively when not literally in a world filled with broken glass.

Yep. Six hundred million. I googled it.

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"It's a Living" is a weekly column showcasing residents who are making a living in an interesting way, or people who’ve reinvented their careers because they could no longer ignore the voice in the back of their heads telling them to start over, take a risk, chase a dream or set out on their own.

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