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The Annexe

The Annexe

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Crap Shoe Shuffle

In my life, I have worn a lot of shoes. Good shoes, average shoes, bad shoes. Usually, I bought what I could afford. Occasionally, and only when I was young, something fashionable. In the summer, sandshoes (plimsoles, gym shoes, or gutties, if you like). In the winter, wellies or leather shoes if your mum could get you something from the catalogue. Bizarrely, cheap plastic beach sandals were highly desirable when it was icy. Chilblains and incipient frostbite were acceptable – the slide performance on an ice-covered street was phenomenal!
Baseball boots were a brief fad, until your friends could no longer tolerate your smelly, sweaty feet. Dreadful!
Later in life, I could afford better shoes, but I would still buy the occasional pair of cheap ones. The soil around here is full of clay, and the local paths are muddy. Big, clunky boots or wellies, are useless. The clay clings to the chunky tread on the soles, and are almost impossible to clean. Smooth soles are better – no grip, but all those youthful winters spent sliding around in plastic sandals meant that I could cope with walking on very slippery surfaces. No sense in wasting good quality leather shoes, taking the dog for his twice-daily walks. Cheap shoes with man-made uppers are fine. Plastic is waterproof.

A good, practical, working theory. Until I bought my most recent pair of cheap shoes, about 6 months ago. I don’t expect cheap shoes to last forever – but these shoes were really something else. ‘US Brass’ was the make. Made in China, as I discovered. No problem, I thought. Many of my childhood shoes were ‘Empire Made’ (Hong Kong). ‘US Brass’ is China’s reply to Donald Trump. Within a month, the shoes proved to be useless. Letting in water. Falling apart. Absolute rubbish. When the wife complained that I was dropping bits of black material on the floor, it was time to examine the offending footwear more closely. ‘US Brass?’ More like ‘Useless Brass!’ I know cheap shoes, and, even by the standard of the Hong Kong Baseball Boot, these are dreadful! Don’t take my word for it. Just look at the picture. This is a 6 month old shoe that has never experienced anything rougher than dew-covered grass, smooth pavements, and the pedals in a climate-controlled car. Judge for yourself.

No shoe should wear out before the laces. The bin man collected them yesterday.

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