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Kick me in my middle age


You are looking at a photo of me wearing my shoes while I write a column about wearing my shoes. Your meta-moment of the day. Would I accept a sponsorship deal from Adidas? Yes. Photo: Mitch Teich

Some people have the beach house, some have the convertible, others have the cliché of marital status change. And yet, I’m starting to think that my midlife crisis is it: the shoes.

As I sit down to write this column, my teenage daughter texts me from a store in Munich, consulting me on my shoe size. She is a good child. (This is EU size 43.)

One of the great ironies of the pandemic is the number of pairs of shoes I have acquired over the past year and a half. It’s ironic, because most of the time I could have easily got by with nothing more than my slippers.

I don’t know when I became the Imelda Marcos of the house (minus the dictatorship). There have been decades where I got by with four pairs of shoes: my sneakers, my snow boots, hiking boots, and a pair of dress shoes. OK, five – a pair of old scabby sneakers for mowing the lawn.

At some point in the past two years, the idea struck me that shoes might be a way to do something about my “look”. I’m a middle-aged man, and in general, I’m happy with the wardrobe choices that have defined me for almost half a century: sweatshirts, flannel, jeans, t-shirts with obscure logos in them. ‘sports teams.

But one day I was browsing the internet, looking for pens, and I saw an ad for a pair of white Adidas sneakers, shoes that I hadn’t thought of since, probably, 1980, when my friends and I went. on the tennis courts and pretend we were Bjorn Borg and Jimmy Connors. Eleven-year-old Mitch thought they would be pretty good, but never had them, maybe never asked for them. Mitch, fifty-two, had a gift card that burned a hole in his pocket. (Does the internet know me? That’s a story for another column.)

I mentioned my order for shoes to my aforementioned daughter, who heaved an exasperated sigh. “I can’t believe you ordered these shoes,” she hissed. “I’ve been watching them for weeks. That’s when I knew I was on to something – my eleven year old tastes are somehow all the rage in 2021. I recently wore them. shoes in a bookstore and I was surprised when someone approached me and in greeting said :. “It was a phrase I hadn’t heard since I was eleven and played pee-wee football, either.

So I know what you are thinking. Maybe I’m thinking about it too. That it’s a dose of materialism, and that I should admit that my life was going very well with my sneakers and my dog ​​walking shoes and my dress shoes and my top-siders and my hiking shoes and my shoes that I wear to the beach and my mowing shoes and my snow boots. That I will never be eleven again, and that I will never be Bjorn Borg again, no matter how many Swedish lessons I take on Duolingo.

But maybe my cute kicks are functional and a surprising, tiny and minor way to rage against the death of the light, to remember a time when I was in the target population for something other than user-friendly cell phones and catheters. I do not know. I like to wear them, anyway.

Anyway, I wish I could report that I have been done buying shoes for a while. But I just checked and dang, if these slippers don’t start to wear out.