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Sneakered – The good old-fashioned takkies

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Hunting down old-fashioned takkies is as impossible as researching for the lesser-spotted dodo…

Seldom have I felt as ill-equipped to deal with the modern world in all its complexity as id did last Saturday. Little knowing the impossibility of the task, I innocently set out to purchase a new pair of takkies. Right there, that sentence gives me away. For, as those of you in the know will realize, there is no longer any such thing as takkies. Instead, there are sports shoes in all their never-ending variety.

Description: My main criteria for the sshoes were that they cost less than my car, and, preferably, be black.

My main criteria for the shoes were that they cost less than my car, and, preferably, be black.

My main criteria for the shoes was that they cost less than my car, and, preferably, be black. Tricky customer, me. All the black shoes were either more expensive than my car, or they were men’s shoes.

Who knew that shoes have genders? Not me. I rather figured that unless a shoe has bright pink stripes, anyone with the appropriately-sized feet can wear it. Turns out not to be the case – there are men’s shoes and women’s shoes. The exception is a new range of multicolored neon shoes that look like something from a 1980s disco, and which, inexplicably, I’ve seen grown men wear.

At my particular time, I have a pair of the Shoes-Previously-Known-as-Takkies. I wear them for walking, running, spinning, that elliptical machine thingy, exercising the dogs and any activity for which stable, not very stylish footwear, is required. For swimming, I have flippers, which are now apparently called fins (you se??!!).

Description: I wear them for walking, running, spinning, that elliptical machine thingy, etc.

I wear them for walking, running, spinning, that elliptical machine thingy, etc.

Anyway, to have but one pair of sports shoes (not counting flippers) now seems to be a complete aberration. The correct approach is to have a different pair of the Shoes-Previously-Known-as-Takkies for each activity. This is what makes buying a pair of shoes well-nigh impossible.

There’s a category called cross-trainers, for the likes of me who do many different things, but the salesperson wasn’t in favor of buying them if you do a lot of running. They’re too stiff and heavy. What’s “a lot” of running? As far as I’m concerned, any running feels like a lot, but, I’m not Bruce Fordyce. I’m sure I could struggle through a few kilometers without some –high-tech super-specialised light-as-a-feather running shoe, but my helpful salesperson looked dubious and led me towards the running shoe racks.

Description: This is what makes buying a pair of shoes well-nigh impossible.

This is what makes buying a pair of shoes well-nigh impossible.

Here, one is met with a further deluge of unintelligibility. There are road running shoes and trail running shoes. (I run on the treadmill, the road and the trail. Sometimes the beach. Help!) There are shoes for walking. There are shoes for people whose feet turn out.

The manufacturers have missed a few niches: shoes for protest marches, which involve lots of standing around, punctuated by enthusiastic bouts of toy-toying, both of which are hard on the feet. Shoes for hard-core shoppers. Shoes for fly-fishermen or skateboarders or surgeons. I mean, what are they meant to wear?

Description: what are they meant to wear?

Fast losing my will to continue, I grabbed a pair of cross-trainers – not black,sadly, and only slightly less costly than my car. On impulse, I thought to pick up a pair of socks to go with my smart new – not-takkies. You guessed it: socks for pronated feet, socks for squash, extra-cushioning socks…Aaargh!

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