View Full Version : Burning a pair of shoes

10-08-2011, 02:40 AM
My protagonist has been kidnapped! After being prepared for sacrifice and put through some very scary stuff, he escapes by the skin of his teeth only to find his captor has burned everything he was wearing when he was taken. In the ashes of the fire, he finds some recognisable remains such as buttons, together with the remnants of his shoes.

Here's my problem. What would the fire do to the shoes?

He was quite smartly dressed (for some value of "smart" that is mostly, shoes aside, assembled from the Oxfam shop) so I expect they'd be leather, but the soles would be plastic.

Any helpful details, such as the smell, would be gratefully received. Also, how likely are they to still be wearable in an emergency? So far I have assumed that they aren't, so he has to walk barefoot to the nearest shoe shop and buy new shoes with money stolen from his captor. I'd like to keep things that way if possible, but I don't think the character would agree with me. He's used to making do with very little, and he'd like to wear the shoes if they would stay on his feet. So I'm hoping they wouldn't.

10-08-2011, 03:08 AM
For this I'd suggest making a trip to your local thrift store and doing a little experiment. Though, that could just be my inner pyro speaking. :evil

Charles Farley
10-08-2011, 03:20 AM
They melt more than burn . . puddle of oozing tar like substance at the end of it all

10-08-2011, 05:17 AM
Canotila has a good idea, but, if you don't have a convenient place to burn shoes, or if your ventilation system is not all that good; then rejoyce. Sgoe stink horribly when they burn. I s=assume that thse are plain, old-fashioned leather tops with rubberish soles. After the fire does its trick, there won't be much left, except metal eyelets that the laces went through and a few tacks. If the heels were of good quality and well attached, then there will be a few nails that helped hold the heels on. There will also be some ashes, but they will just look like ashes.

If the shoes are burned, then there won't be anything recognisable left. If the shoes are only seared a little, then they will look horrible, but they willl be recognisable

Drachen Jager
10-08-2011, 08:43 PM
Depends partly on what he used to burn the clothes. They wouldn't burn well on their own. Did he use gasoline, or put the clothes in a wood fire? In either case the leather would burn too, pretty much only the eyelets would be left. The soles would burn up as well.

10-09-2011, 01:12 AM
I don't know what she used. Something that would work. She doesn't mess around.

I assume she lit the fire outdoors, because of the smell. Thinking about it, she probably shoved the clothes in some kind of drum-shaped container to keep things neat (I've just had a great idea for what kind) and poured petrol on them. She didn't have a lot of time to prepare, and she probably didn't have a handy supply of wood.

An oozy mess of melted tar-like stuff sounds like what I want. Just as long as my MC can figure out what got burnt, so he doesn't waste time (and words) hunting for his clothes elsewhere. That's why he was wearing a jacket with distinctive metal buttons. :)

10-10-2011, 01:38 AM
Thanks to everyone who replied. I think I can get it right after your help.

10-10-2011, 02:05 AM
The leather would warp. Plastic absolutely stinks when it burns; I can't bear it.