Monday, December 2, 2013

The Truth About Ugly Shoes

It is a truth universally acknowledged that an ugly shoe must be comfortable. No one is sure how this lie came to be an accepted fact. It only is. It seems that any shoe that is unattractive or just plain ugly is probably comfortable. No one seems to take under consideration that some shoes are both ugly and uncomfortable.

The first brand to successfully capitalize on this was Crocs. Crocs came on the scene in the early 2000s, and loudly proclaimed that since rubber is naturally springy and, well, rubbery, of course it would feel good on your feet, right? Wrong. If this was correct we would always wear rubber boots all the time. Obviously, we don't.

Crocs are hideous, and try as you might to bedeck them out in various baubles and insanely unnatural colors, no one in their right mind would privately admit Crocs to be cute shoes. So the company's lie that their shoes were the most comfortable invention in footwear since the invention of shearling slippers was swallowed easily by the American people. And now the vast majority of un self-respecting American human beings hold tight to the false hope that Crocs will somehow assuage their aches and pains. We all lie to ourselves and each other, loudly referencing their comfort as if it were true, clinging to a lie that promises relief.

Then the lie of ugly shoes deepened. Tom, whoever he is, had been watching. Tom thought it would be a great marketing decision to make one pair of cheap shoes and then say with every pair bought, another pair of shoes would be donated to some unfortunate on the other side of the globe. The other side of the globe, because you, the buyer of the first pair, would never see the evidence of your act of kindness. And you would be pleased because you had just bought something for yourself, the mere act of fulfilling your want also giving some poor person who was lucky to own a goat a pair of extravagant shoes. Easy peasy, right?

Right. Toms Shoes took off like an indie musician at Coachella, the kind whose hair is so matted that you know he hasn't seen a shampoo bottle in weeks, but whatever, his music is good. And Toms began multiplying like rabbits, in every color of the rainbow, and then some which don't occur naturally for obvious reasons. They came in patterns and glitter and primary colors. They looked like shoes a yogi would steal from a mummy, but hey, everyone was wearing them, and it caught fire and spread from hipster paradise to hipster paradise. Everyone was happy, and somewhere a tribe of savages only recently discovered by explorers were also dancing the two step in their very own Toms shoes.

In terms of hideousness, Toms shoes are a step above Crocs, which everyone already know (or should know) are the most offensive slap in the face of fashion to ever hit the planet. In terms of charity, well, it only stands to reason that it would probably be better to send shoes that would actually be useful for people running around in jungles and Saharan deserts, but hey. It's a gratifying way to be charitable, and so no one asks too many questions about whether the barefoot poor people of the world appreciate their canvas shoes or not.

And so the lies about ugly shoes continue to thrive, until someday the people wake up and realize that ugly, doesn't mean comfort, and sometimes charity doesn't mean that it's okay to spread the lie.

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