I’m a sneakerhead and have been for quite a few years now. My best friend has often chided me for having more shoes than most of his girlfriends combined. I assume he’s just jealous. I’m not one of those guys who buys sneakers and stashes them away in a closet museum. I believe in wearable art, and that’s how I think of all of my over-priced, sweatshop-made, guilt-ridden-yet-still-alluring pairs.
The problem with this is that we cannot afford for our boys to also be sneakerheads. My shoes are stupid expensive as it is, and I’ve cut back to only two or three pairs a year. Joshua has, so far, shown no real interest in shoes of any kind. The only preference he’s ever expressed is that he will not, under any circumstances, wear boots. Indeed, he’s skewing quite the opposite direction from me. Trying to get him to just pick some new shoes at the store took two separate trips because the first one was aborted after he just could not acknowledge that his feet had, in fact, gotten bigger.
Jack, obviously, has no thoughts on the matter yet. He owns one pair of shoes (Jordans, naturally), but they don’t really work with onesies. But, for one or two outfits, he’s ballin’. And involuntarily spitting up his lunch on himself.
This is, probably, a temporary reprieve. In some years, I suspect that at least one of them will want to be like Dear Old [You Know, Your Shoes Don’t Have To Match Your Outfit]* Dad. Given how prices on these things pick up as you go up in size, this becomes an expensive proposition for someone who will change shoe sizes, on average, once a year for the next decade and a half. Yeah, and then there’s the other one.
I try not to make a big deal out of shoes with them, but they will eventually notice that all of the shelves in my closet hold shoes. And that they’re arranged by sport. And then by release date. And then by color. And that my shirts ALWAYS match. They will assume this is normal (it’s not) and that this is just how it is (still not). At that time, I will have to explain to them that Dad has A Problem, and try to steer them toward a more sustainable path of footwear.
For the record, I believe every man needs the following shoes:
- Dress shoes (because people you know will die or get married, hopefully not in that order);
- Something more casual than dress shoes, but dressier than…
- Tennis shoes (because you’ll eventually go somewhere nice enough that tennis shoes don’t cut it, but it’s not a wedding or a funeral);
- Boots (because you’re a man, damnit, and there’s Stuff outside).
That’s it. Past that, you’re gilding the shoe lilly. My shoe lilly has been covered in so much gold that it had no choice but to lay upon the ground and weep golden tears because of how much gold was on it. It’s like Scrooge McDuck ran a flower shop. And then covered it in gold.
Anyway, we’ll have a talk, and they’ll understand that unless Scrooge McDuck is a long lost relative (and by long lost relative, I mean that my boys might be part waterfowl), financing this habit will not be possible unless they enter the workforce. I’ll leave that choice to them. So no, Michael Jordan, you may not have my boys just yet. They’re still young and peeing on themselves. And that’s just a waste of good shoes.
*Yes, they do, son.