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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Shoe Ownership

This morning I wore the browns. They had fallen out of favor... I don't know why. Once I finally got the black GBX's to feel comfortable, I had taken to wearing them to work almost exclusively. And on weekends I've been wearing tennis shoes or basketball hightops. I had fond memories of the brown Rockports. They seemed very comfortable... the kind of shoes I would wear when I visited a major European city and wanted to walk the streets until I fell over with exhaustion. And yet they had sat unloved for the last two months... until today.

I confess to being ambivalent about footwear. I used to think you only needed two pairs (one formal and one comfortable.) I scoffed at women and their public desire to own vast walk-in closets lined with overflowing shoe racks. But now I find my own shoe collection to be spilling out of its allotted space. I have slippers, two pairs of runners, two pairs of basketball shoes, tennis sneakers, and two pairs of (aforementioned) oxford lace-ups. I'm beginning to question who owns whom in this relationship.

I also used to think that it's normal for a pair of shoes to take a few weeks to break in. Shoes are made of pliable stuff, and sometimes it takes them a while to adjust to the contours of your feet. Once they're broken in, they feel like a second skin... but they sometimes give you blisters first. It was like that with the black GBX's. I almost sent them back, but instead I gave them a second chance. I kept wearing them, and sure enough, they feel great now. They hug my feet in all the right ways.

So I was shocked today when I found that the brown Rockports felt terrible. They were weird: too flat and too wide. They pinched at the top but my toes flopped around like fish in a barrel.

Then it occurred to me: Perhaps shoes don't adjust to our feet at all. Perhaps our feet adjust to our shoes! Maybe all this time that I thought shoes needed to be "broken in"... really it was my feet being broken. Maybe those blisters should have tipped me off. I wasn't winning this war... the shoes were. They would force their contours upon me, and like an old-fashioned Japanese bride... my feet would sacrifice their natural shape in order to please their master. Maybe my feet had adjusted to the GBX's and would take days (or weeks) to reform to the requirements of the Rockports?

So I ask you... do I own my shoes... or do they own me?



At 12/04/2007 04:04:00 PM, Blogger Walaka said...

Don't waste your money on a new set of speakers,
You get more mileage from a cheap pair of sneakers.
Next phase, new wave, dance craze, anyways
It's still rock and roll to me

At 12/04/2007 06:39:00 PM, Blogger Jon said...

You have slippers? Say it ain't so.

At 12/07/2007 05:08:00 PM, Blogger soapysteve said...

Your shoes may own you, but you can totally steal their soles.


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