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Clean Sneakers – Wearing White Shoes

Original 1980’s Reebok Freestyle the first athletic sneaker made for women
image from ebay

I’ve been thinking about this question since you gave me the prompt. I don’t know that anyone’s ever asked me when I first fell in love with shoes. I parse it into to two different ways of thinking about it. There is the me who loves shoes as objects who has felt that way for as long as I can remember. And I’m a maker too. I’m a very hands-on person. And my journey throughout life so far has slowly led me to become a professional boot maker. I have the love of making of footwear, which is, to me separate from loving shoes.

I have always been drawn to shoes. Everybody in our small community of footwear is, whether maker, collector, or lover of footwear. I’m a child of the 80s and the first pair of shoes that I loved, loved, loved – leather high tops with the two Velcro around the ankle, Reebok sneakers and they were white. If I wore them for two seconds outside, they got dirty. So I carried around this liquid product that you put on the side that cleaned them up. I was constantly stopping and putting my foot up on the picnic table bench in the yard to clean them. All my friends were getting annoyed with me because we were around 10 years old and we were all playing and I had to stop and keep my sneakers white.

That’s the first time I loved footwear because they took priority over all the other things I was doing was keeping them white and clean and beautiful. And I could play in them and they were just perfect. So that’s my earliest memory probably mid 80s but falling in love with shoes.

Sarah and I have common shoe experiences. I was teaching aerobics when the Reebok Freestyle debuted. I had them in pink. Turns out we also both have a Dr. Scholl’s sandal story. I’ll share that one next time. It is NOT on the podcast. You can hear our entire conversation on my podcast KindredSoles.

–Sarah, Bootmaker follow here on Instagram@saboteusebespoke