I wear the fuck out of shoes. The pair I came to America in have walked from Silver Lake to South Central, from Hollywood to Los Feliz and back again. They have walked from North Beach to Hashbury and returned in time for dinner and they have circled horrendous tacky Fisherman's Wharf several times in a never-ending search for the good bits (there are none). They have walked from Alphabet to Hawthorne three times in as many days.
They have also made people say, "wow, those are really good shoes". They were my wingtip sneakers. Class on the top, party on the street. The Mullet Of Shoes!
The pair before that had two of my favourite people in the world, on separate occasions, gushing at length as to their prowess. They were red checkerboard Vanses. I bought them after a long and prosperous dalliance with the Chuck Taylor, ended when I discovered that Converse was now owned by Phil Knight. A friend, impressed at this, asked me, "do you have many principles like that?"
"No, just that one", I replied, caught out. Turns out I'll eat McDonald's and drink Starbuck's and watch Fox but I won't wear Nike.
I needed new shoes for Seattle. My Mullets Of Shoes were giving up the ghost. There was still a little people-impressing in them, but damn if there was any hill-scaling. The Mullets of Shoes would complain heartily to my feet if they had to climb Cap Hill, and the feet would complain to the Boss, and the Boss would complain to everyone in his vicinity, which would not make him popular.
When I put on a shoe, it knows it's not getting out alive. I need a shoe that will compliment and augment my identity. I need a shoe that will make people I have a very high regard for say, "That is a very good shoe".
You don't have to love any given shoe I am wearing. But someone has to.
When I buy a new shoe it has to say, "shit man, you need to wear this shoe". It then has to feel like it will swaddle my feet in comfort and it will do it for a long time. And then the price tag has to say that it will not just allow me to walk to food, it will allow me to purchase said food also.
Flirting with a heavy-duty replacement for The Mullet Of Shoes, I considered a more canvas-based wingtip solution. The Timberland Company nearly won me over with a bizarre kung-fu-esque slip-on heavy-duty walker. Mr. Marc Ecko presented me with an array of interesting suggestions, each more appealingly outlandish than the last. I was at the point of purchasing a tooled-leather artwork-for-the-foot by Etnies, until I discovered that not only had no animals died for this shoe, but the tooling provided an intricate tableaux of characters from popular nerdtertainment revue, The Adult Swim.
In the end I am a little embarrassed to say I bought shoes that would walk hard down life's rocky road, and would be not demure while doing so; but would look somewhat plain and retiring along the glittered byways of a San Francisco or the starred boulevards of Hollywood. I bought shoes that don't fuck about, but neither do they play around. But at least they'll preserve my Mullets a while longer.