CLIQUE WEAR: Whiter than white, the power of new sneakers
If The King returned to Earth today, he wouldn’t sing “Don’t you step on my blue suede shoes”, but “Don’t you step on my new, white trainers”. (Because yeah, Elvis would be a hard-core hip hop fan).
White trainers are like crack, obsession followed by a tumbling descent:
You get them, use them, then look for a new pair to chase the emotions of the first hit. And if you’re like me, you know a new pair will never be the last because they all carry the same macabre fate. Take my advice, kids. Don’t start, and stay in school.
So yeah, maybe I’m laying it on a bit thick. New doesn’t always mean best, and in some cases beaten up leather looks like a million dollars, but it’s my main premise. Of course there are a few exceptions, but we’ll talk about those together.
We must first separate white leather trainers from white canvas trainers, as the latter are more resistant. You should wear them if you like sporting well-scuffed sneakers. At the end of their lives, Vans, Converse and Spring Court shoes have lost much of their original charm. And the Ramones will agree with me (at least the surviving members will). I would like to digress a little, if you don’t mind: white canvas (denim and sneakers) should preferably be worn a little dirty – it’s more chic. In the summer, your white-on-white 501 will always look better after 48 hours. Before that, it smacks of cheap hairdresser.
But let’s get back to business. One of the stumbling blocks in the neurotic obsession with white leather, of which I am a victim, is the tempo, the good times. Open a box of flat sneakers, let’s say a pair of Air Force Ones for the girls and a Nike Tennis Classics for the guys. Feel the emotion rise in you, the feel of the tissue paper, the smell, all that jazz. (I gave you the lowdown two weeks ago).
You step out onto the street, looking fine. Your jeans are lightly colouring the inside of the fresh new tongue, you’re in the honeymoon period, the world is your oyster. But be careful, you’re walking on eggshells. You stare daggers at anyone who dares lightly brush by your trainers, and you wash them every morning with that special sponge you keep under the sink before leaving home. As time goes on the first signs of irrevocable wear-and-tear begin to show. You don’t look at them in the same way as before. Daily life, in its ugly nakedness, ruins everything. This is the sharp descent, with its stomach aches and panic attacks that can’t be shared with anyone. So far, this is nothing new. You just need to buy a new pair and you’re off on the rollercoaster ride again. But don’t be fooled: it’s like changing cabins on the Titanic.
This is the moment the notion of tempo comes into play. After the dizziness of novelty and the agonies of falling out of love lies a grey area, difficult to define and accompanied by little bragging. But if you can muster the psychological strength needed to weather this period, and keep wearing your sneakers like and old dog you just can’t bring yourself to put down, you will be rewarded for your efforts.
One morning, you’ll discover they’re at the perfect, worn-out stage and ready to enter their second childhood. Why that day? Why not the day before? How long does it take to happen? No one knows, and these questions make up the meaning of life everyone must discover in their own time, by following their own path.
Giving you my own opinion will only give you cheap relief, but will in no way guide you towards the path of truth. Instead, I’m trying to give you the keys to discover the essence of your true self. As it is cited in the Mishneh Torah:
“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”