Wednesday, February 01, 2012


I always hated shoe shopping when I was a kid. I'm not sure why, but I could rarely find shoes that I really liked, and were reasonably priced. For the longest time, I could never really find a good, solid brand that I could rely on. Then, in the late 1990s, I discovered Vans. (Cue the glorious choir music!)

I was never into the "crazy" styles of shoes that Vans offers. Instead, this was basically my style for the past 13+ years.

In high school and college, I would buy one pair of casual shoes per year. (These days, it's more like one pair every two years.) Every time from the late 1990s until now, without exception, it was Vans. Sure, the colors changed from the year to year, but the style never waivered. I've always liked how they looked and felt. Nothing else matched them. So, I became a loyal Vans customer for over a decade. Now shoe shopping is easy and painless!

But over the years, two things have happened, leading me to end my relationship with the Vans brand. For one, Vans are harder to find than they used to be. The shoe stores to which I typically go (your Rack Room genre) don't always carry them anymore. Yes, I know you can buy these things online, but this is only half of the story. The thing is, I'm getting too old for Vans. They fit my personality (or at least the personality I was trying to portray) when I was younger, but I can't pretend to be a "hipster skateboarder" anymore. It's been a fun 13 years, Vans, but I've moved on to Skechers. For now.

While we're on this's time for "random thoughts on shoes"!

- My shoe size has gone down by about 2 over the last few years, probably as a result of me losing weight. (I was 190 pounds at my heaviest; I've been in the 150-155 range for the last two to three years.) I know other people who have lost a shoe size or two after shedding a few pounds.

- What did I mean when I tweeted that "shoe shopping is 100 times more fun if you're a woman"? Well, for one, since I can't fall back on the Vans brand anymore, shoe shopping has reverted to being not fun again. But on the other side, I think a nice pair of shoes does a heck of a lot more for a woman's appearance and self-esteem than it does for a man. And there is a lot more variety on the women's side of the store, too. The stereotypical woman wouldn't own so many pairs of shoes if it weren't fun to shop for them, right? (Although I acknowledge it can be equally miserable for a woman if she can't find what she's looking for. Amber's brief shoe shopping adventure on Sunday proved unsuccessful.)

- I'm pretty unenthusiastic about my shoes, so you'd think I don't own that many. But then I started counting: three pairs of casual shoes (a new pair, an old pair, and a really old pair, all of which have their own distinct purpose), two pairs of work shoes (one of which I keep at work for bike commute days), the cleats I bought for kickball, my curling shoes, and a pair of flip flops which I only wear to the pool or beach (more on those in the next item). That's eight pairs right there. Wow! I used to be able to get by on three.

- I'm an unusual Florida native in that I don't like sandals. Never have, and probably never will. Flip flops, especially - they're harder to walk in than "regular shoes", which offsets any comfort advantage. Instead, it's socks and "tennis shoes" for me.

- I've never been a fan of the term "tennis shoes", by the way.

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