Mochi recently hosted a Shoebuy.com gift certificate giveaway contest, where contestants had to write a 300-500 word essay about their favorite pair of shoes. After reviewing the essay submissions among our editors, we would like to congratulate the winner of the contest, Kriti Garg, on winning a $75 gift certificate to Shoebuy.com. Our runner-up, Anne, also submitted an essay well-deserving of mention. Below are the following essay submissions from both Kriti and Anne, demonstrating how their favorite pair of shoes have formed a story of their own.
Winner Kriti Garg’s essay on her favorite pair of shoes: “Keds”
I have always been a tennis shoe person – one durable, no-nonsense, everything-goes pair of shoes each year, with which I could walk to the store, play at school and wear while jogging. The only change my style of shoes ever underwent was from Velcro to curly pull-laces, to legitimate “grown-up” shoelaces. A pair of flip flops came out once a year when I went to the beach, but only after I got tired of finding sand in my shoes all the way into October.
The summer after ninth grade, while on my yearly voyage to the shoe departments of Mervyns, Kohl’s, JCPenney and Big 5, I decided something new was in store. As a soon-to-be sophomore, mile-runs were things of the past – only lowly freshmen had to do something so tedious and god-forbid, sweaty. My feet however, were used to comfort – none of those toe-pinching ballet flats or blister-causing flip-flops would suffice. I settled on navy blue canvas Keds.
White laces laced up tight, my Keds made me feel strong. You know, that slight bounce in the step and the confident air that every high school sophomore needs on the first day of school in order to just know that he or she will survive the year? I felt invincible, walking across campus in spotless, anti-sneakers.
I wore my Keds everyday and everywhere. When the thin plastic red stripe along the sides of my left shoe peeled off, I Sharpie-d in a bright turquoise blue to match my class spirit gear for the upcoming homecoming rally. Rifling through a stack of magazines, I came upon eight new ways to lace up my shoes in my dad’s latest Runner’s World issue, and in the weeks after, my shoes became the canvas to my (amateur) lacer’s paintbrush.
It’s August now, exactly three weeks before school is set to begin. My Keds are, to put it lightly, broken in. The soles have cracked and the seam between the plastic and canvas is beginning to pull apart. The bright white laces are more of a dusty gray, colored by a year’s worth of school, extracurricular activities and fun times out with friends and family. They have gone through summer, fall, winter and spring, through hail, rain, mud and even the icy Mount Hamilton snow.
Now they must retire, not off to the landfill like its predecessors, but into its original box where maybe when I’m 20- or 30-years-old, I’ll take them out and reminisce, just remembering the memories these shoes hold. After all, all I have to do is take a walk in my shoes.
I’m hardly a connoisseur of shoes. I don’t have the money or the occasion (to say nothing of the coordination) to wear high heels. But these shoes, while they’ve hardly changed my life, have witnessed a disproportionate amount of it.
My favorite pair of shoes are a brown, suede cross between loafers and ballet flats. I bought them last fall, on sale, then clipped and retied the large grosgrain bows into small ribbon knots. An attractive compromise between trendy and traditional, I wore them nearly every day with shirtdresses and t-shirts alike. My feet became deeply tanned while my toes remained laughably pale. I started to only buy colors that coordinated best with that soft dark brown.
I’ve worn these shoes to great parties with old friends, and horrible ordeals with cold, congealed pizza and no one to talk to. I saw countless movies, walked and talked for countless hours. I even ran a few miles in gym class. I made friends and lost them. I stepped on people’s feet and had mine painfully squashed by others. I performed hyperactive, impromptu tap dances that ended with me on the ground laughing. Spiders died rubbery deaths beneath the balls of my feet. I sat at the bookstore studying for Advanced Placement exams with my brown shoes swinging off the high chairs at the Coffee Bean, and threw on the same shoes every day at the beginning of July to check the mailbox for my score. I’ve laid idly around the house for much too long and paired the shoes with shorts on mid-morning runs to the grocery store for gum and caffeine.
When Southern California temperatures blasted past 90 degrees in late April and suede became an unjustifiably silly material to walk around in, they gradually ceased to leave my house. I got the paper, repainted the bathrooms, and climbed onto the roof. They’re now even more well-worn and paint-spattered, with only an illegible gold smear left on the green patterned insteps where “American Eagle 7 1/2” used to be clear. I should throw them away now, I really should, but I keep convincing myself that there just might be another use for these worn-out pair of shoes.