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.
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
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??!!).
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
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?
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,