👟👟👟This post is about TRAINER TRAUMA. If anyone has ever made fun of your choice of footwear, this post may resonate with you.
I have noticed a thing.
I have noticed I cannot stop looking at people’s trainers. It’s as if I am gathering data, conducting some sort of survey on trainer-brand popularity. I am trying to figure out where I fit in. Am I an Adidas person? A Nike gal? Dare I try and squeeze my feet into a pair of Converses? Or perhaps I grow my collection naturally over time and go for a Pic N Mix of them all?
If you are wearing trainers, I WILL look down and quietly observe what brand, what style and what colour. (Nike Air Force 1s seem to be a favourite. My friend Berlyn came over the other day and the first thing I said was “YOU’VE GOT THEM TOO!”. She was confused.)
Let me take you back to where it all began. The seeds of my trainer-doubt were planted long long ago, at the age of 11, when I first began secondary school.I was there, happily going about my day as a wee Year 7, when a girl in my year started making comments about my -apparently ugly- trainers.
“I like your trainers Angela..” she said sarcastically, sniggering with her friends. They all stood, making hushed comments to one another, staring and laughing. Mean things were said. They very much did not like my trainers. (Up until that point having “cool” trainers wasn’t really a thing, I just chose whatever trainers I liked..Primary school was so much simpler.) These were just your average comfy trainers, I can’t recall the brand, they did the job, nothing particularly hideous about them. Or so I thought.
I went home and cried, declaring to my Mum that we must go shopping ASAP and purchase NEW COOL TRAINERS. So we did, and I returned Monday morning confident that my new cool trainers would fit in nicely. I’d draw no attention to my feet, and the mean girl would respect my new footwear choices and walk on by. This did not happen.
“Are those new trainers Angela? I like your new trainers…” More sarcasm. More sneering. MORE SNIGGERING…What now?! What was wrong with THESE ones? These were cool! They were from Dorothy Perkins?! (😑)
She laughed more with her friends and I decided in that moment to give up on trying to have the “right” trainers. I had other more important things to focus on. And maybe she was just a bit of a twat? (Soz Helen.)
After that initial blow to my trainer-esteem, I thought I’d moved on and gotten over it. It was never even about my footwear, I knew that. I was clearly just an easy-target, someone to pick on for the hell of it. No further comments were made throughout my teenage years and I felt free to put whatever I wanted on my feet.
Then came adulthood. It became clear as I embarked on my twenties as a young Mum, that I was not into trainers. I didn’t care about brands or being cool. I was never going to spend £100 on a pair of Nikes. I liked clothes and good sturdy expensive winter boots. Trainers weren’t on my radar. Mean eleven year olds were a thing of the past.
But then came the other adults. As the years went by, I noticed the odd comment once again about my choice of trainers. (All comments made by men interestingly.)
How was I to know that Karrimor was more for outdoors/hiking and not casual-wear?
What was so wrong with Hi-Tecs? (Gloriously comfy.)
“Are you actually wearing those to France?” A previous boyfriend once said about some cheap trainers I’d bought for a trip. “Yes..what’s wrong with them?”..
(Shortly after this relationship ended I discovered New Balance, and my trainer-journey changed forever. I found my go-to brand. They’re delightfully comfortable and the only brand that can withstand my fat feet..)
Thankfully I have learnt my lesson:
OTHER PEOPLE’S OPINIONS DON’T MATTER.
They are my feet and they deserve to be happy and live authentically.
I will put them in whatever the hell I want to.
So no more trying to squish them into hideously uncomfortable VEJAs just because they look cool. (They were fun to try on but I swear not designed for human feet.)
No more of the same with the Nike Dunk Lows (Gorgeous design but again my toes were in tears.)
There are no rules when it comes to dressing yourself as an adult. We’re all free to express ourselves however we wish.
So I will continue to buy the shoes that bring me joy, the trainers that make me happy. They might be the gimpiest, goofiest, most garish ones on the shelf. They might be a brand no one has heard of. They might be..UNCOOL. But no one really cares.
I used to feel slightly haunted by the idea that everyone was at some cool-trainer party and there I was, standing by the door in my Dorothy Perkins, too nervous to go in. Now I don’t even want to go in. Because no one I care about is actually at the party.
There is absolutely NO need to fit in when it comes to footwear! Who’d have thought?
As for noticing everyone else’s footwear. This is a habit I will have to slowly shake.
One step at a time. In my gloriously uncool trainers.
Great post! 🙂 Well, I gotta agree with you — what matters is if you’re comfortable in the pair of trainers you’re wearing, not if the pair on your feet is trendy. I’m not exactly a fan of the modern-looking trainers — e.g. Yeezys and all that. I, for one, would prefer the classic adidas models (Samba, Gazelle, etc.)
And I also second you on New Balance! My shoe size is US 12, which makes shopping for trainers difficult. Most Filipinos have smaller feet, and large sizes are few and far in between. Thankfully, New Balance — alongside adidas — has large sizes. Given that, clearance sales for New Balance here in the Philippines are a joy to visit!