On Shoes

I was driving through Los Angeles last night and our car stopped at a red light, four or five young guys, probably 15 years old crossed the street. They were dressed in rather ordinary clothing, jeans and long sleeve non-descript shirts, which is likely why I noticed their shoes. Each of them had elaborate pairs of sneakers in bold colors. I recognized the sneakers as belonging to that high level of sneaker that cost a good chunk of change.

I remember when I was growing up sneakers were fairly ordinary. I first wore the standard white canvas KEDS. And the most important aspect of the shoe was the tiny blue label on the back. Once that fell off, the shoe was considered a waste.

When I went into high school or possibly before, I started wearing low top converse. I believe my first pair were multi-colored. For some reason, I also liked to draw and write on my converse, usually along the white rubber portion. A ball point pen was best. I would write my lame high school poetry and draw flowers and vines.

In college, I moved to running shoes, despite the fact that I hate to run. Usually I would select the cross-training type. I was not training for anything other then drinking large amounts of beer.

After college I continued on with the running shoes for a while, until the pair I bought at the end of college fell apart. I think I was uncertain where I was supposed to go next. I was supposed to be an adult but I didn’t want to trade in my sneakers for sensible shoes. And though I wear high heels if I am dressing up on a weekend to the store, I am not the type of girl to wear heels.

Now I have numerous pairs of shoes. I have ballet flats if I am feeling fancy but still casual. I have fancy sneakers with flowers on them or hearts for when I am feeling cute but comfortable. I have converse low tops when I don’t want anyone to mess with me. I even have flip flops when I am down right lazy.

When did shoes become such a statement of your fashion sense? Or were they always like that but being a sheltered kid in the Midwest I thought one pair of kicks was good enough. Sometimes, I look at my pile of shoes in the corner and think, “I should get rid of some of those, do I really need all these shoes?” But as I bend down to select a pair to be donated to Goodwill, I stop. Each pair of shoes has a purpose. And outfit or feel they go perfectly. How can I give away the shoes that will make me feel sassy or be great for a long stroll?

So the pile grows. I stuff pairs in my closet, waiting for the perfect moment to wear them. All the time collecting more.

I am not a KEDS girl anymore.
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