You can't beat the feeling of having fresh shoes. That wonderful aroma when you first take them out of the box and feeling like a king the first time you walk them down the street. They say so much about who you are and what you're about. Although Lord only knows what these battered old things are saying about me.
Most people I know bin their old shoes, but I never do. Take the shoe on the left. I probably should have thrown these things away years ago, but I can't. Even though I don't wear it anymore (or its other half ) I've kept it, just as I do all my other old shoes because of the way they evoke memories. When I look at them I feel good.
These were made by hand the old-fashioned way with black canvas and white rubber. They've got a classic gum sole which, to the uninitiated, makes that underneath look a bit like a potato waffle.
They're not the most comfortable shoe in the world - but they are grippy, familiar and safe, which is why I spent so much time skateboarding in them. I've probably worn them over 300 times. They look better now than when I first bought them too (although they smell a lot worse). The canvas has faded, the suede has gone bald and the white rubber outsole has yellowed and worn thin. There are ollie holes on the sides. They've done thousands of ollies. Even though I repaired them many times, the holes kept coming back.
I think they were born in Indonesia, but they came over on a boat when they were very young. I found them in a bargain bucket when I was visiting Manchester. They were b-grades that nobody else wanted. Since teaming up we've walked millions of strides together. We've danced a thousand twinkle-toed steps. They've propelled my skateboard for miles and miles. They were with me on what was probably my last ever skate at South Bank, and before that we went to Clearwater FL together on holiday. We've skated city streets, wooden ramps and concrete parks the length and breadth of this land. We've been on sandy beaches, through muddy fields, in the sea, through dog shit, cow shit and pigeon shit. They've endured spit, vomit, blood, sweat and beers. And they've never complained once. I dread to think what residues would be found if they were ever analysed in a lab.
Early next year I get to design a shoe, which for someone who loves shoes as much as me is pretty exciting.
I wonder where they will take me.