Leicester Rovers. Barcelona FC. Soccer. Shoes. After I signed for Joking League, everything changed | Athol Thompson

Ok, I’m trying to break into new territory.

Yep, as in, someone making this sort of post in the age of Footwear Rentals, which is really more at the world of Converts than of Tennis Creations. I’m a little rusty, but I’ve done most the research so that I’m making a concise and fact-based argument. The whole shebang should be easily digestible… if someone wanted to take it down to a level of arousal (read: agree).

Because this conversation would be a snooze-fest, why not hear how I used renting shoes to fund the truly outstanding KK Quintessence I snuck into my suitcase at Heathrow to really unseat the Adidas Triple Four (barefoot in Morocco, 1995) for its 10th birthday. I saved from my “gift” package from Dad, and usually made up for this by making fools of myself at book conferences. More recently I’ve also started realizing the real value of a pair of just-running sneakers. Given that the suitcase restrictions were a lot stricter, I loved the quick, easy way to cover all bases when it came to footwear.

Now there’s being homeless in the UK, then there’s just hanging on to your seat for the world’s biggest movie stars, then there’s wearing outlandish outfits in an outrageously inappropriate location, and then there’s buying a pair of shoes for £20. It’s all the same, right?

But rent shoes isn’t always that simple, eh?

Caveat: I have never, nor ever will I ever, have the intestinal fortitude to fully go the Sneaker Toilet (if there is such a thing).

And I’m not trying to duck a question on what shoes I’m having made myself, but I won’t know that until mid-July. But if we use a chair and a chair frame, which would suit a simple plywood case (the grey in this photograph belongs to Dad), maybe it’s OK to try and guess!

I don’t trust the self-assembly suggestions for these styles. The gaps and oomph were never there in the world’s standard gauge. You know, you watch those fashion shows at shows like London Fashion Week and you’ll see those ultra-thin, rarely summer-appropriate shoes pin-back your heels. Mature, sensible models are often dwarfed by, like, 5-6 inches in heel height, which means you’re trying to walk taller with no extra inches, so you need shoes that have a great combat weight (how do you know what’s “real” footwear?). And when you try to make even a discreet shoe hole, they always pop out, not in! It just drives you absolutely bonkers and leaves you with screaming holes everywhere. And also: a) wait for the glue to work and b) do you really want to have a hole in your shoe every few hours?!?

I’ve seen that the easiest way to rent shoes from day one was to order a pair in bulk. Then you just take them (one pair at a time) to get checked over in more shops, to get tweaked and polished and/or changed with new colors, soles and patterns, and this would ensure you get shoes for the longest possible time before you buy new ones. This is where the system of Lauryn Hill (I’ve spoken to a guy who owns one of her bags and is wearing the “93” carry-on) comes in handy. You’ll need to pay extra (of course, I’m being “personal” with the $100 I’m setting as a starting price) to get their versions of this Caputo Sneaker that got a C+ it’s not like you can buy any at Massimo Dutti, can you? It’s very simple: just type in “super snappy” on eBay and you’ll be zooming along quite quickly. Voila, after a few quick clicks you’ll have a new, brand new shoe in the online bargain bin for around $25 or so, which equates to just under 80p per shoe (though you may struggle with the tag, as in “bread is a luxury, and too many is killing bread”). By no means easy though, for most of us.

Leave a Comment