I was blessed to meet, fall in love with and get the chance to spend the rest of my life with a beautiful, smart, savvy small town Midwestern girl who grew up in a modest home with a family who would eventually take me in as their very own flesh and blood. She became my life, but before she even came into my life, I only had one true boo thang that I cherished beyond belief: my sneakers.
Fuck, did I love my sneakers. And I still do. Sometimes, it still gives me chills at night thinking about which pair I’m going to flex in the next day. Not even caring if it will make an impact on those around me (it doesn’t) or if they will somehow put me onto another level that is unreachable by plebs (it did...OK, maybe it didn’t). But, sometimes, this euphoric balloon is deflated by that very person I gave the driver seat in my vehicle of true love, placing sneakers in the back (Safe in their boxes, of course).
I have a feeling that many men and women who have an obsession with sneakers would do the same if they found that one perfect, warm-bodied human significant other. Even if that significant other would never ask you to give up on that other love of your life. But there are always those undeniable, undeterrable moments when your better half just doesn’t understand. You can try to explain it to them, but it just doesn’t resonate with them like it does with you. So, instead of trying to tell you what I think she thinks, I’ve let my wife tell all of what she thinks of my sneaker habit. She has some choice words, some burning questions and downright says some shit that really pisses me off. All things I’m sure any sneakerhead with a significant other can relate to.
"Why do they all have to be so expensive?"
She got a bad taste of this right from the jump and I blame myself for introducing her to this too soon. When we first got together in college and I was spending all of my extra cash on sneakers, I'm pretty sure she questioned what she was getting into.
Knowing damn well I didn't have a job, except for basketball camps in the summer, and a small allowance from my parents, considering they weren't paying for my college education, almost every dollar outside of McDonald's double cheeseburgers was spent on Dunk SB's, Co.Jps and rare Jordans. But it wasn't her money, so she learned to live with it.
Now, it's a real fluctuating scale she is basing this on, considering I've purchased many pairs of Vans that have been $75 and less. But, when she sees the pricetag for my Rick Owens or adidas x Raf Simons, her mind blows out of her butt.
"It will never be something I get used to," she says. "I get that nice things cost money, but sometimes you don’t even hesitate at the price tag on a pair of shoes and unfortunately we don’t have unlimited cash.”
I'm pretty sure she thinks I'm a label whore without saying it to my face. But, had it not been for my sneakers, I am not 100 percent sure she would have even noticed me.
“Your sneakers were part of what drew me to you – the matching sneakers, jerseys and hats. You were unique, at least to this girl from Des Moines, Iowa”
Sneakers are a way for us with this so-called “habit” to showcase a part of our personality. Many people claim a smile or a clean haircut will be the first thing someone notices about you. But, in more cases than not, your footwear speaks volumes.
Coming from the D.C. area, it wasn’t as easy to stick out. Even if you had on some rare shit. The “plus up” game was and will forever be heavy out there. So even though I had to go 1,000+ miles to be “unique,” I’d say it paid off quite nicely. And the same thing that grabbed her attention ended up being the main thing that funded the engagement ring I used to ask for her hand in marriage.
So we got married, bought a place together and both earned a decent living with our jobs. We paid rent. Utilities. Groceries. You know, the normal shit. Well, and I needed to replenish my sneaker stock. It started off slowly, but as I was willing to sacrifice my food intake to add to the pot going toward new shoes, my now wife was slowly starting to realize this habit of mine was insatiable. It wasn’t just the amount of money spent on them. It was the sheer volume. But, in turn, I taught her a very valuable economics lesson.
“I know if you have a good pair you can potentially sell them for more than what you purchased them at.”
She learned this fairly early on considering they basically fully-funded an engagement ring. She was dumbfounded by the amount of money I was able to procure through selling my sneakers. Most of which – while near and dear to my heart – weren’t in the top 10 of “untouchables” in my collection. We aren’t always going to think the next pair of sneakers we buy is going to be the best pair of sneakers, so some of them don’t make it through the gauntlet and need to be set free.
Luckily, I feel like I’ve been given the gift of knowing when to hold them and knowing when to fold them, thus I am able to let some go and pick some up without it interfering with other “necessary” payments in our household. You know like “diapers” or “food for your child.” It’s like, whatever dude, I get it; we have another human being to support. Ugh.
So, while I am able to avoid altercations by never showing her what I sold a pair of shoes for and thus supplementing them with a pair of shoes she’ll never know what I paid for, there is just one teeny, tiny – OK, size 12 – issue that we will never see eye to eye on.
“The numerous empty shoe boxes you insist on keeping that just take up space.”
The fact that I have to continually have this conversation with her infuriates me. First off, 99% of my shoe boxes are in the basement out of sight, out of mind. There is the occasional box from a newer pair that hasn't made its way down there lying on the floor in our room. So she always asks, "Can we throw this one away?" knowing god damn well what the answer is. She knows there is always the possibility that I will want to sell the shoes when I'm done with them. And she knows that the original box is pivotal to that sale for most buyers. “I really don’t get why it’s necessary to keep empty boxes that hold shoes that are on your feet! Why does a box make shoes worth more than without a box? If the shoes are legit then why does someone need an original box?”
Basically, when she's asking me that question, she isn't insulting me; she's insulting you buyers out there whose first question is "Does it come with the OG box?"
The way she tosses boxes (tee hee) is ridiculous. Like they have absolutely zero meaning! She's a monster. But as we grow old together, our common interests grow and grow.
“We share a love of shoes – although I’ve become much more realistic in my habits than you have.”
While I can’t take full credit for it, I’d like to think that I’ve made my wife an honorary sneakerhead, showing her the world beyond the Saturday morning Foot Locker releases of the world. I love that I am now able to show her a pair of shoes I desire, which occurs approximately every 37.8 seconds and when she replies “Ooooh, I like those” or “Ew, do not” then I have to consider that from the perspective of someone with ridiculously good taste in men and sneakers.
I’m always down to do the same for her, but she just doesn’t have the same drive as me. And that’s OK. In fact, that’s good, or we would be in a heap of debt.
“The fact that we'll be trying to walk out of the door and that's when you decide you need to clean your sneakers.”
If there is one thing I am OCD about, it’s about the way my shoes look when I walk out of the house. Some shoes I could give two shits if they’re dirty, but I’ll get all antsy about how they’re laced. Like, is the lace on the third loop twisted? FUUUUUU gotta re-lace ‘em. And some shoes, especially my light or white ones, can’t have smudges, nicks, scuzz, crud or filth of any kind. “I get it. You have nice shoes, you want to keep them looking good, but why must you clean them as we are trying to walk out the door, especially when I already complain how slow you are? And let’s be honest, half the time we are going somewhere unimportant where no one is even going to notice your shoes, let alone if they are dirty or not.”
No one is going to notice my shoes? NO ONE IS GOING TO NOTICE MY SHOES? How dare she speak of my footwear in this way. This is the type of shit that has been making me comteplate some things, man. Like, would anyone notice if she was missing for, like, ever? Yea, probably...you’re right. I’ll just buy more shoes to heighten her infuriation. That’ll show her.
“Maybe the root of it all? I think it’s envy.”
My wife is very proud of me and what I’ve accomplished in life, though she may not always let me know. Well, at least not as much as I would like to hear it. I always feel like I’m looking at her in amazement. I am the envious one. So for her to admit this – albeit, about something as trivial as sneaker collecting – is more than you may know. It takes a lot for that pride-filled woman to say something like that. “I wish I could have a sneaker addiction, or at the minimum I wish we wore the same size so I could wear them too. Except for your moon boots that you call sneakers. I have no desire to wear those.”
Oh you know what? Go to Hell. Rick Owens never deserved that.