Sneakers, also called tennis shoes, athletic shoes, walking shoes, trainers, running shoes, sports shoes, tennies and gym shoes have been around for a long time. In fact, the word “sneakers,” was a name given to boys athletic shoes as far back as the 1880s. That name was chosen because, being made of rubber, the shoes were almost silent and a person wearing them could sneak up on someone without being heard. (1)
Recently there has been a lot of hoopla over the sneakers Michelle Obama wore to volunteer at a food bank. The footwear in question was said to have been designed by Lanvin and to have cost more than $500. (2) Whether they cost $10.95 or $500 makes little difference to me, but it did get me to thinking about the grungy pile of athletic shoes residing in my own closet.
We live in the area where Nike came into being, so for many years, it seemed like every man, woman, and child in our town was decked out in a pair of Nikes. Unfortunately, they were so expensive that owning more than one pair at a time was unheard of for most people.
Fortunately, along came some copy-cats and inexpensive athletic shoes-minus the Nike logo on the side–flooded the market. A lot of people here still love Nikes, but, because I like variety, I decided I’d rather skip the logo and have more pairs of shoes.
Some of the other brands of athletic shoes that have become well-known are Reebok, Adidas, Converse, New Balance, and of course, Lanvin, the brand that drew so much attention to Michelle Obama recently.
Not long ago, my husband asked me why I needed 5 pair of sneakers when I only had two feet. I couldn’t believe he needed an explanation, but I gave him one anyway. “Everyone knows you need different shoes for different activities,” I told him. For example:
1. Cushioned sneakers for walking or jogging.
Everyone knows that regular athletic shoes don’t work for walking or jogging. You have to get a pair with built in supports so that your feet will be cushioned as you run or jog. Some also have sweat guards in them to wick off perspiration. No, regular athletic shoes just wouldn’t do. I keep my walking shoes in a separate spot so I can grab them quickly on my way out for a walk.
2. Spotless sneakers for shopping at the mall.
These are the shoes that you never touch unless you are heading for the mall or some other favorite place to shop. Keeping that spotless snowy white look takes a lot of work, and you don’t want to have to clean your shoes every time you wear them. You need to avoid walking on the grass or accidentally stepping into a puddle between the mall and your destination.
3. Semi-retired sneakers for gardening.
The pair of shoes you garden in will never be the same once they are covered in grass stain, so you choose a pair that has already done service in other areas of your life. This pair is reserved just for gardening. You might rinse them off with the hose after you have finished your outdoor chores if they are really grimy, but since they are only used outside, it doesn’t really matter.
4. Comfy sneakers for the trunk of your car.
These tennies may go for months or even years without ever being used, but they are kind of like insurance. If they aren’t in the trunk of your car when you are coming home from church wearing your spike heels, you are in for a world of trouble. Play it safe and add a pair to the trunk of your car-even an old pair of gardening tennies will do the job.
5. Really sturdy sneakers for roughing it.
You need good treads on your shoes when you are climbing jagged rocks to get to your favorite fishing hole, or hiking to the top of Mt. Pisgah just so you can say you’ve done it, at least once.
I could probably list a dozen more places where I could use another extra pair of athletic shoes, such as for bike rides, or to have a spare pair for when I fall out of the boat at the lake, or in case I want to wade in the water to catch crawdads without slipping on the rocks, but I feel fortunate to have worked my way up to the 5 pair I now own.
I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was getting greedy.
(2) Daily News Fashion, http://www.nydailynews.com/lifestyle/fashion/2009/05/01/2009-05-01_first_lady_michelle_obama_kicks_in_own_foot_feat_for_fashionistas_lanvin.html