If curiosity so affected you, you would be forgiven for wondering why a young man in the prime of his life might continue to grace his purposeful striding legs with such tattered trainers as are pictured above. Indeed, said young man who now sits here pouring out his heart and mind can often be found wondering the very same.
This particular pair of trainers, though, is special. Not because they have withstood significant trials, tribulations, etc; nor have they saved me from that devilish embarrassment felt by those not equipped for spontaneous tennis tourneys; no, they are special for some altogether harder-to-express-in-a-blog-post reason.
As a matter of fact, it behooves me to here mention the shoes’ wanting fulfilment of their original design as humble tennis sneak. An unforgiving rubber sole (absent of moreish air bubble familiar to Nike aficionados), twinned with a crisp leather upper, make the Stan Smith seem outdated in this department, if not downright treacherous. And yet their appeal persists, as the good men and women at Wikipedia confirm: ‘Although the Adidas Stan Smith shoe is not recommended for modern tennis players, the shoes continue to be an iconic and stylish brand for retro tennis shoe fans’.
No longer fit for athletic purposes, Stan Smiths have become a vestige of simpler times, when sports shoes were leather and you could maybe get into watch Wimbledon. This, in part, might explain my attachment to them.
But the real reason is more complex (read ‘uninteresting’).
Above all, Stan Smiths are versatile, comfortable, and cut a mighty dash. Their upon-purchase unsullied leather ages as beautifully as the feet it dutifully houses, gathering vein-like memories of lives loved and lost in its pockmarked and wrinkled surface.
My perseverance with these shoes is not merely an exercise in sustainable living (important though that is), but one of joyful living – a daily reminder of my connection to mother earth and all that is good and holy. As I pound the pavements of Guildford and surrounding areas, so too does my heart pound with the vitality of youth – emboldened by a joie de vivre that I unwittingly but nonetheless irrefutably impart to passersby. ‘Yes’, I might even declare, ‘these are Stan Smith-endorsed trainers, and yes, they are available for purchase online and in stores’.