MANNO: Shoes mean more to just the feet

I stepped in a critical puddle this week.

It was the soaked sock that I’ve felt many many times before, the one that tells me my shoes have been breached. Holes in the soles – big ones, too, through two layers of rubber and a layer of fabric. I tend to walk with heavy steps, a little pigeon-toed and scraping my heels, so I guess it was only a matter of time.

This marks an important day, though. It means it’ll be about a year until I give up my kicks, determined through empirical data gathered during my previous Adidas allegiances. Sure, my shoes are overstaying their welcome – but they’re my shoes, man. I’ve broken them in and scuffed them up and everything. How am I going to let a few wet socks keep them away?

The last pair I had lasted for three years: grayish blue Adidas with black stripes. They had been with me all over the place – my first trip to Milwaukee, Cooperstown’s Baseball Hall of Fame, a Flaming Lips concert somewhere in the middle of New Jersey, a levy in New Orleans, a forest in Pennsylvania, the Lincoln Memorial. They had taken me to work, to school, back home.

I tend to get attached to things like this, and I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s out of necessity – shoes are pretty pricey these days. Maybe it’s my security blanket.

After all, shoes can be like a journal. This pair has already bent to the shape of my foot and everything, and every step has made them a little bit older. I wish I knew where all the scuffs and scrapes came from – it would be a nice little log of where I’ve been, whether it’s the day-to-day stuff or the really memorable moments that only come once in a while. I’ve been away from Milwaukee for about a month now, and the shoes are still covered in its salt. It’ll keep being a reminder of home (unless someone knows how to get that stuff out – toothpaste maybe, or something that makes no sense like that?).

So I’ll keep wearing these guys until they’re too destroyed to walk in anymore – my last pair had a big slice down the side before I stopped wearing them. Getting a new pair is like starting a new job to me. I don’t really know anyone, trying to walk just right so I don’t mess them up, laces are tied a little too tight. I’m not going to put myself through a round of interviews if I don’t have to. I guess my Adidas are in it for the long haul once again.

You know, if I had a cat or something, I probably wouldn’t be so attached to the shoes.

Tony Manno is a junior double majoring in journalism and writing-intensive English. Email him at