I’m slowly resigning myself to the end of my Reebok shoes. It’s a hard process, but the sides are coming undone and part of the heel just came off. My endpoint for even my most favorite shoes come when I can’t walk in a puddle anymore. If we’re not at this point, we’re pretty close to it.

I’ve had these shoes since high school. In all the years since, I have never found any shoes this comfortable, despite the fact that these shoes are a size smaller (14) than I usually wear (15). They just… fit. Always have. They’re middle hightops, which I like because they give me a bit of ankle support. But the tops are low enough that I can just slip them on without having to go through the whole tying routine.

It’s hard to find any shoes that fit, though thankfully not as hard as it used to be. When I was young, Mom would take me to the shoe store and say “You can pick anything under $40” and that was cool because there was almost always something to pick. As my feet got larger, the selection got smaller. When I reached size 13, it became a matter of entering the shoe store and saying “What do you have in size 13?” and there would be a few options. Oddly enough, things improved by the time they reached 14, because stores were suddenly trying to serve the podiatrically endowed. The bubble burst at some point, and most places stopped offering shoes in sizes above 13. I can get by on some 14s, but 13s are just a no-go. So I would have to scour the countryside in search for the exception to the size 13 rule.

Until the Internet. God bless the Internet.

But what Zappos has yet to provide are shoes anything like the ones I am about to have to retire. Hightops have gone out of fashion. This is especially true for the larger sizes because the market that exists, exists for young people. The only hightops I have found are, of all things, sk8r shoes. They’re at least comfortable, though they require all of that tying business and cannot just be slipped on.

This is more of an issue than it used to be, because Lain. I used to be rather particular about my footwear. I wore steel-toed boots for the longest time. That stopped at some point after Lain became my charge. The ability to easy take shoes off and put them on became more important. I wear sandals a lot, which I used to almost never do. But sandals aren’t good in the winter time. You know what are? The Reebocks.

I’m probably going to have to give up on having high tops, which I’m prepared to do. The last non-hightops I got were pretty uncomfortable. Unfortunately, not uncomfortable in the way that you put them on and say “These are not for me” and return them. But rather, uncomfortable in the way that they are fine until you try to use them by walking around for part of a day. You think you’re just breaking them in, but they break you instead.

Category: Market

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13 Responses to Let’s Talk About Shoes

  1. Brandon Berg says:

    I can barely get a pair of shoes to last a year. How have you kept a pair of Reeboks since high school?

    • trumwill says:

      That I switched to wearing boots for the most part of 15 years is a big part of it. Less wearing so less wear.

      Also, something about them not making shoes like they used to. 🙂

    • Murali says:

      Wait, you can’t get a pair of shoes to last a year? I think you’re buying low end shoes. Invest in a better pair. Presumably a pair that costs twice as much as your current pair will last you at least 3 times as long. In the long run, you save money.

      A good pair of leather shoes can last you for at least 5 years without costing too much. IIRC you work with software/computers. So I don’t think they require your shoes to be black and shiny all the time. (correct me if I’m wrong). If your work shoes can afford to be scuffed a bit, then you can use the same pair to work and any serious walking you want to do. I’d go for a Clark’s or Timberland. They’ve got good stitching which will not give way. Try to find the type with a business shoe sole.. When the sole wears down, you can take it to any cobbler (you know, the guys who fix zips, shoes and duplicate keys for you) who can get it re-soled for you on the cheap. The other thing that will wear out quickly is the insole, but that can be replaced at BATA.

      • Brandon Berg says:

        Well, I generally walk at least 5km per day, so there’s that. The other problem is that I hate the way a raised heel feels when I walk, so most business shoes are out for daily wear. I know the thicker heel lasts longer, but it’s not worth it to me. Come to think of it, it’s always the heel that wears out. So I guess that’s the problem. Oh well. Can’t have everything.

        • Brandon Berg says:

          By the way, I tried taking my last pair to the cobbler. Cost me $40 to have a new sole put on, and then three months later the whole back half of the sole just came apart where it’s joined to the sole. I don’t think there’s enough material there to salvage, but maybe I’ll try once more. It’s a shame, because it was the only shoe I could find that looked decent without having a raised heel, and they stopped making it.

  2. Murali says:

    Wait, Will, how tall are you?

  3. Oscar Gordon says:

    Hightops – look at hiking boots / shoes. I have a pair of Vasque that are waterproof, durable, & comfortable as hell.

    Slip on – you can get elastic laces for a few dollars that let you make your shoes slip on. First thing I do when I order a new pair of shoes is order some lock laces at the same time.

    • trumwill says:

      That’s part of why I did the boot thing for the longest time. It’s less worthwhile, though, when chasing Lain around the living room and other changes in lifestyle.

      I’d never heard of elastic laces. I may have to check them out.

    • I’m in the market for some comfortable boots that I can wear in snowy/icy weather here in Big City. I currently have steel-toed boots I bought 12 years ago at Kmart. They’re durable and they give great traction, but uncomfortable as hell on my feet.

      • Oscar Gordon says:

        I love my Vasque, but today I’m wearing a pair of Thorogood. Black leather slip on ankle boots with a steel toe, very comfortable.

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