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Not your boomer’s blue-suede shoes

I bought my first pair of shoes when I was in high school. 

They weren’t the first pair of shoes I owned, just the first pair I bought with my own money. 

A pair of blue-suede mid-top Vans. They beckoned to me from the window of the Miami Beach Vans store. I had perfectly good skate shoes on my feet, but these Vans were different, and I liked that. 

I dragged my family into the store to make the big purchase. I tried them on. They felt amazing. I took them to the counter. I pulled out my wallet. I only had 20 bucks. I looked back at my mom.

“Can you cover me?” I asked her, with love in my eyes. “I’ll pay you back at home, I swear.”

She covered me. 

So, I guess I really didn’t buy them with my own money, but you get the point. 

My shoes are a symbol of freedom and individuality. Being able to dress myself was a huge step toward becoming my own person, and as my ability to dress developed, so did my taste in sneakers.

I love the way sneakers can influence an outfit. A dress shirt and chinos with dress shoes looks like you’re giving a high school presentation. But untuck the shirt, cuff the pants, throw on some skate shoes, and you’re sharp but casual. 

As I’ve grown into the sneaker-head I am today, I wear Vans less often, but don’t think I don’t still love them. 

Those first blue-suede vans became my feet. I wore them into the ground.

I’m talking holes in the soles, holes in the toes and holes in my soul for having to retire them because they let the snow in during Michigan winters.

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Little did I know — wearing out your shoes is a blessing in disguise. Wearing out your shoes is the best reason to get new ones, after all. 

I took to the internet this time to find my replacements. I tried Nike and Adidas, but I kept finding myself back on Tillys.com, drooling over another pair of blue-suede Vans.

I know. I know. Blue-suede Vans? Again? 

Hell yes. 

This time they were Sk8-His, fitting for a blossoming skater-boy in his last year of high school. 

I tried to save them until I got to college, but the feeling of walking down high school hallways in fresh kicks is irresistable. 

Turns out I do a lot of walking at Miami, too. And with more direction to my style, and more money in my bank account, I’ve got Air-Max and Air-Jordan, React runners and trail runners and, of course, my latest blue-suede Vans. 

The third pair, if you were wondering. 

I love my shoes: the new sneakers and the old beaters. They offer me different styles and different outfit combinations that make getting dressed in the morning a little more bearable. 

But more than just making me look good, my shoes make me feel good about myself. 

A lot of people are sneaker-heads, but nobody else can wear the shoes I have on my feet. 

brueckro@miamioh.edu

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