If you don’t want the novel version, skip down to “START HERE“.
Generally i’m pretty picky about what I wear on my feet. When i was growing up i little recourse but basketball shoes, usually Converse, because i have big (13), wide (4E), feet. A lot of pictures of me as a little kid look really silly because i wasn’t, and am still not, tall enough to counterbalance the size of my feet.
When i was a sophomore in high school I joined the wrestling team and in doing so, discovered the wonderful world of wrestling shoes. I loved the low profile and tight fit. The super thin, split sole, felt great, like i really had my feet on the ground. Even though i left the team after one year (undefeated!) I still wore the shoes, full time. Combined with cannon-leg jeans (they were in style once, I swear!), they essentially made my feet disappear. I got especially used to driving in them, to the point where it was difficult to drive in shoes with thicker soles.
When i moved to New York after high school I brought my wrestlers with me. They turned out to be fantastic for cycling and since i was a courier (amoung other things) when i first moved here, they were great. Of course, here in NYC i didn’t have a car and that meant walking in the winter, which wrestlers are just no good for. Coincidentally i ended up being run over quite violently at the intersection of 8th St. and Broadway which ended my courier career quite quickly. With that job prospect off the table, i fell back on my retail job at Funhouse Clothing and my nights as a Goth/Industrial club DJ. My aesthetic had already started to change by that time and not being a courier anymore threw me full on into the g/i club culture. It was during this time that i bought my first pair of NEW ROCK boots.
New Rocks became my signature. I always had the biggest, blackest, more badass boots of anyone in the scene (not counting those fucking crazy club-kid home-made ones). New Rocks are awesome for walking in, can take endless punishment, and make people think you’re going to stomp the shit out of them at a moments notice. Oh those were the days…
In the fall of 2001 i moved back to Boston to take care of my mother who was recovering from a full hysterectomy as a result of cancerous ovarian cysts. I discovered very quickly that New Rock’s are not the most practical footwear for driving in. It was during this time that i bought my first pair of SKETCHERS. They were a casual, quasi-slip on (velcro) style that they don’t make any more… which is a shame, because i loved them. They were light enough to not make me feel like i had lead on my feet, but protective enough to work in, and by work i mean what became my current profession of tour production management.
On my first tour ever, i brought a pair of New Rocks. Yeah, that didn’t work out so well. I never got to wear them and the impracticality of transporting them became pretty damn obvious when one of them ended up with a split sole. Split like, in half. Not cool. My Sketchers became pretty much fulltime footwear.
They were my only pair of shoes i wore. Everyday, 3 years of touring, and when they eventually wore down so much that you could see my socks though the bottom of them, i bought a new pair. The exact same pair, and wore them the exact same way. They lasted me until last year.
I’ve sort of been lost in terms of footwear since then. Sketchers stopped making my favorite style and nothing else they make really caught my fancy. I randomly found this weird pair of PUMAs at a DSW. They were on clearance for like $15. Super-lightweight, some kind of breathable, mesh, material. They’re almost like rock-climbing shoes. I can find no evidence of their existence on Puma or DSW’s websites. Given that they were on clearance at DSW, they’re probably some ancient style. Anyway, i love them, they’ve almost brought me back to my wrester’s days. They also look good with shorts, which i pretty much wear exclusively now, even in the winter. Because of the material they’re made of and the abuse i’ve put them through they’re getting close to the end of their life and, of course, i’ll never find another pair.
Now that we’re all caught up, i was reading through Men’s Fitness today (the subscription was a Christmas gift from my brother) and they had a small feature on VIBRAM (Go ahead and click that, it’ll open in a new window) and their “shoes”. I took one look and knew i had to try them on. I headed out to City Sports and took a look.
I tried on the KSO’S in two sizes (since they size differently from regular shoes) and holy crap. I won’t say “amazing” because i haven’t had time to break them in (i’m wearing them right now) but man, they feel totally different from anything i’ve ever worn. It’s like someone wrapped my feet in polyamide and let me go run willy-nilly. I can’t wait to get them on some grass and rocks and i’m definitely taking them on tour with me.
I can’t upload images to IAM that i don’t own, but for the time being i’ll hot-link an image with a link-back for those of you reading that don’t feel like following links.