Tuesday, January 1, 2008

No Shoes Needed, Thank You

That's not exactly correct, no. I need shoes, but I never wear out the shoe soles. Never.

The tops become nasty. Polish? I polished too many shoes when I was a kid, primarily because I was raised in the pre-Air Jordan generation and secondarily (no, probably primarily) because my father was an Army officer. He shined his shoes. I shined mine.

Post-polio meant no more cowboy boots or Wellington boot, my favorites. Post-polio meant soft shoes. Shoes made of fabric, at least now nearly 50 years into this journey. Now not even soft leather suffices. And forget Nike, Reebok, Addidas, Sketchers. Have you weighed those gunboats?

Post-polio the most comfortable, the most supportive, shoe is the Chuck Taylor Converse All-Stars, a shoe older than post-polio, older, in fact, than me.

Chuck Taylor All-Stars, also referred to as "Chucks," are canvas and rubber shoes produced by Converse. They were first produced in 1917 as the "All-Star," Converse's attempt to capture the basketball shoe market. They were not particularly popular until basketball player Chuck Taylor adopted them as his preferred shoe. He was so impressed with the design that he became the shoe's leading salesman. After proposing a few changes to the shoe, the shoe got its current name and Chuck Taylor's signature on its ankle patch.

The solid black style, the style I've worn for years, have the additional attribute of being nearly invisible as I sit in my wheelchair. The wheelchair foot supports are black. I deliberately wear my trousers longer than need be were I able to stand. I can tuck my feet back slightly and ... get away with wearing them into a formal setting.

No more. Give a guy a gift certificate to the mall; insert him in a post-holiday mêlée of bargain shoppers, and he might decide to live up to the bumper sticker plastered on the back of his wheelchair ...

Live to Ride. Ride to Live.

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