Before this, I ran the FB group for a few years. That job was/is an exercise in a few things – the hardest of which was to pick the right level of snark with those who disagreed with me. I wanted to be funny, but also get the point across, but maintain dignity. Right? So I would pick my battles in terms of feedback (Joe Rogan says he never reads the comments, Eddie Murphy says he never reads the reviews, and Beethoven couldn’t hear if there was applause or not anyway) and look for opportunities where I wouldn’t hurt someone’s feelings but could still flex a little.
Then the worst possible thing happened.
Somebody posted a picture of themselves in those brown sneakers (shoes?) with the white soles, and I saw it. Patience, I counseled myself. Let someone else go first. No one wants a monologue, they want a dialogue. I leaned back, laced my fingers behind my head. And stared. It would have been a better look if I was sitting in one of those gaming chairs they sell at Staples (do grown men buy those – gaming chairs are the brown sneakers (shoes?) of the office furniture world). My desk chair is frigging awesome, I am not as wide as I used to be but even when my sides ran over the yellow line in the middle of the road, this chair was big. You want comfortable shoes, and you want a comfortable desk chair.
So I lean back and am staring, and somebody goes first. “Those shoes look like you stepped in bird poop with cheap sneakers,” they wrote. Or something like that. I just made that up, but it was something like that. Then another. And before I could even get my snark out there, the derby was over, hundreds of comments about those sneakers (I will stop with the shoes? thing) had poured in and even the OP (original poster) wrote and said, “You all are probably right, I gotta ditch these,” or something to that effect. All while I was trying to craft my first line.
Well consensus ain’t funny. Rare yes, funny no. But we have it anyway, here. On this issue.
The research on this post made me a little sad. Here:
The next shot is from a company that I don’t think you all are gonna like but that I love. The company is OluKai, and for serious surfers with jobs (serious surfers break into two equal categories, employed and otherwise) for the longest time these were the go to flip flops. I wear flip flops on weekends if it gets over 90 or I am at the beach. If for some reason you are in the market for flip flops (I know you won’t, but you could admit it in the comments and we could have a family discussion) you gotta treat yourself. Anyway, OluKai sells these monstrosities, because they are a tacky surf company, duh. But they are smart enough to camouflage it .
And here, this is the ugliest pair I found. These look like somebody gave leprosy to the already ugliest shoes possible. Go ahead, look, then click on that image and browse around at some beautiful things as a form of eye rinse.
One more, just because you need to see these pictures of the ocean:
So why do we hate these so much? It’s easy. They violate one of the fundamentals. They are inauthentic. They are not sneakers because even if they get the materials right they get the intention wrong. They are not shoes, and it isn’t the white soles that disqualify them. Boat shoes have white soles. It is that, unless you are L.L. Bean, they are marketed as sneakers. Instead, they are throwing footwear on the wall to see what sticks. You want sneakers, we can be sneakers, you want shoes, we can be shoes. You want to love your dog but eat her, of course you can do both!
We know better. Pick your favorite Ivy piece that you own. It is a firm statement. Even if it is a firm statement about testing firm statements, it is a firm statement. These things, there is no message other than…