The Way of the Sneaker

It must have been military school that formed my taste in shoes.  For most of my adulthood, the cap-toed, leather soled oxford has been my shoe of choice for work or dress occasions.  The lace-up oxford, it seemed to me, was what grown men wore.

Ok, maybe loafers, if I was in a casual mood.  For yard work and picnics I wore Sperry Top-Siders, (basically cloth oxfords).

It was our first trip to Manhattan that broke my resistance.  My leather soled shoes were not up to long walks on city sidewalks.  I vowed to return with some serious walking shoes.  The next year, I equipped myself with a formidable pair of black Merrell Pulses.

They did the job.  I walked for miles, uptown, downtown, and I had happy feet.  But they were so massive and ugly.  I was embarrassed to enter a nice restaurant with them on.  It was like wearing a pair of zambonis.

Next I tried a pair of Ecco Dacapo Ties. Not exactly sleek, but not offensively grotesque:

These are just about ideal for big city streets: lots of support, but with decent lines.  At home, I started wearing them on Fridays at work, but in summertime they were too hot.

Meanwhile, I'd looked to replace a pair of worn-out Cole Haan leather soled tasseled loafers, and found the rubber-soled Cole Haan Pinch Air Cup Penny, which were so comfortable that I bought two pairs, black and tan.  Bye-bye, leather soles!
I was amazed at how much better I felt after a day on my feet at work, wearing these shoes.  I tossed my scuffed, hard-worn oxfords.  I was getting dangerously comfortable.

The moment of truth came standing outside the Chelsea Market in Manhattan last month.  I was wearing my Eccos.  I saw a man get into a taxi wearing a trim, light-weight, suede-looking pair of sneakers.  They stayed with me, and I scoured Zappos trying to find them.  They might have been Adidas, but I couldn't find a match.  The closest thing I found were Frye's Reed Runners, so I ordered a pair.

They arrived on Monday, and I wore them to work today, a "casual Friday".  I was well-pleased.  They were comfortable, light, cool.  They have a sort of golf/saddle shoe look with the two-tone suede.  Mary in Youth Services noticed them, and said how comfortable they looked.  I love my Reed Runners!

[Edit 11/14]  Martin comments that he wears sandals in warm weather, reminding me that I didn't think to mention that in the summer I wear the State Shoe of Florida, the Flip-flop, like everyone else, around the house.

After a couple of days in my Frye Reed Runners, I am thinking this may in fact have been the shoe I saw in New York.


Martin H. said...

I wear open sandals (without socks, of course) from around May to September. Then, it's back to soft, buck leather boots for the Winter and Wellington boots for crossing the fields around here at this time of year.

Brett said...

I didn't mention that in summer I wear flip-flops, aka thongs or zories, at home. Do you live in the country?

Martin H. said...

Brett, yes, very much so, in the country. We have a village shop and a pub that's due to re-open this month. A walk to the shop is a mile each way, and involves some pretty muddy stretches in Winter. In the 'dry' season it's a delight to walk in sandals.