A footwear-related rant

August 24, 2011

I apologize if what I’m going to say applies to you and offends you, but it’s for your own good.

Look, I read Born to Run. I know that the whole barefoot running thing works for a lot of people, so much so that every now and then I see people (let me clarify: It’s always men, for some reason) out and about running with no shoes on, which makes me feel odd. At first I feel vaguely annoyed, and then I wonder why it annoys me in the first place, and then I wonder what they do if they run on broken glass or poop or something like that. Several runner friends of mine use FiveFingers or another type of barefoot shoe and they love them and that’s great.

However.

I would like to posit, strongly, that these type of shoes should not be worn in any context other than jogging, or perhaps walking to or from a jogging-like activity. I have seen way too many people out and about this summer wearing barefoot shoes--as regular shoes.

This will not stand.

Normally I can contain my rage when it comes to questionable footwear choices. Crocs never bothered me as much as they did other people. And while I think people who wear flip-flops in non-seasonal weather look unwise and would personally never choose to wear them to the office, just...whatever. They’re inevitable. I don’t love them but I don’t hate them. (Unless they’re light-colored and you can see the dirt-foot imprint on the sole of the shoe. Or they’re “fancy flip-flops.” But I digress.)

Walking around in barefoot shoes makes you look like you’re one step away from just walking around in your socks, and since most people tend to buy the black shoes, then they look like they’re walking around in black dress socks (once again, it’s typically guys who do this, for some reason.) Black dress socks are rather inherently gross, so thinking about them walking about the city, getting all sweaty, is an abomination. Plus, the toe-articulation properties just make people look rather apelike, like they’re about to pick up a pen with their feet and start writing a screed about how their shoes are superior to everyone else’s.

Because that’s the final thing: I am probably over-analyizing, but the people who walk around in these shoes tend to give off of an air of secret-specialness. They don’t necessarily act like they’re thinking, “get a load of my rad sock-shoes,” but you can tell that there’s something slightly suspicious going in their mind. Something slightly evil made them decide to put on these weird foot-shoes instead of a more traditional shoe.

So just stop. Use your barefoot shoe for what they were made for: running. You wouldn’t like to see a businessman walking around town in a blazer and a speedo, nor would you feel right seeing your lady bus driver wearing nothing on top but a sports bra. Those shoes are made for running, not walking around, so get with the program and stop making us think about your feet.