Check this out.
Two years ago I invested in a fabulous pair of Vasque hiking boots, official Ranger trail boots. They're great boots, really expensive, with a really long (really long) break-in period.
Finally, about a year ago, they got comfortable and and were fantastic on the trail.
Here's the O. Henry part of the story.
About a year ago I developed arthritis in the big toe joint of my right foot, within six months I was no longer to get my right boot on or off comfortably. Eventually I couldn't get it on or off at all.
Now, how's a Park Ranger, who really enjoys hiking, supposed to hit the trail in street shoes? That's just plain bad form!
Today, I got my boots back.
I decided to make a study of the way my foot enters and leaves the boot, and then alter the boot to accommodate the lack of flexibility in my paw.
Here's the shoe making elf in action:
I realized that my foot needed to enter the boot from the rear rather than the top, in the manner of a slipper, so the first step was to open up the seams and cut an entry down the back.
Holes for the stitching were punched and the first strap stitched into place. This is the strap that'll close the back of the boot.
This antique harness buckle was stitched to the other, larger, strap, the one that wraps around the ankle and snugs up the whole kit&kaboodle.
postscript (two days later)
All systems groovy!