By Kevin Wilson: Freedom Newspapers
I work with a lot of women in my office, and I’m pretty sure that nearly half of the people I know are women. They always tell me the lesson Cinderella teaches is the right pair of shoes can change your life.
But what if the opposite is true, and life doesn’t change your pair of shoes? For that, you’d have to ask former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
In a recent interview, Blair talked about a pair of Church’s brand shoes that became a Sunday tradition.
“I know it’s ridiculous, but I’ve worn them for every PMQs (Prime Minister’s Questions),” Blair told France 24, a television network. “I’ve actually had them for 18 years.”
I thought I’d forever associate Blair’s tenure with his support for the Iraq war, but now I see him as the Brit who furthered questions of my masculinity.
I’ve only had the same shoe size for about 12 years, so I obviously don’t have any shoes that stand up to Blair’s standards. His shoe habits, however, only reinforce beliefs men simply don’t need many pair.
Whenever I buy a new pair of shoes — and I’m in double digits on shoe ownership — the conversation starts. Coworker Tonya will say good for me because there’s no reason any man, woman or child cannot own plenty of shoes. Another coworker will just mark it as another step toward irreversible metrosexuality.
“A man only needs three pairs of shoes — dress shoes, work shoes and athletic shoes,” as coworker after coworker argues to me.
I’ll agree those are the only types of shoes a man needs, but I’m not going to stop at just one of each. Any shoe store clerk will tell you enough shoes, worn with proper rotation, can keep all of your pairs appearing new. Real estate agents say, “Location, location, location,” and Foot Locker managers say, “Rotation, rotation, rotation.”
Along with good rotation, I have one other rule. I don’t pay more than $100 for shoes, because they won’t get worn often enough to justify the price, and the $15 Starbury shoe line endorsed by New York Knicks guard Stephon Marbury show those huge prices are only fueling greed for larger companies.
Regarding the $100 rule, I’ll note that doesn’t apply to dress shoes. The shoes Blair wore every Sunday for 18 years ran him $300 back then and would probably be about $500 today.
As Blair also told France 24, “cheap shoes are a false economy.”
I agree. And social limits on shoes represent a false democracy. I think that’s something on which every man, woman and metrosexual should agree.
Kevin Wilson is a columnist for Freedom Newspapers of New Mexico. He can be contacted at 763-3431, ext. 313, or by e-mail: