I’m not often one to subscribe to conspiracy theories regardless of how rational or irrational they sound. There seem to be hundreds of them floating around, usually based on a government’s action. Even if you agree with me about doubting them, you’ve got to admit they are fun to speculate on. Often wonder how they get started and who embellishes them as they are passed along.
How about you and I starting one? Ok – here goes. About four or five years ago a confidential conference was called in Geneva, Switzerland. Attending were all of the companies in the world that made shoes. It was organized by the large manufacturers who specialized in tennis shoes (sneakers if you prefer.) Now you know their names and probably can identify their trade marks. Maybe Adidas, Nike, or New Balance, to name a few. But more conventional leather goods firms such as Ecco, Birkenstock, and Nunn Bush were also attending.
The group sat down to a Power Point presentation that focused in on the fact that the world was nearly saturated with plain old white or black tennies. Something needed to be done to increase sales. The agreed-upon solution was to introduce shoes in any and all imaginative colors, a wide variety of materials, and a bunch of new shapes. It was agreed to be a joint venture where all participated, and believe me it has worked. Worked extraordinarily well!! The colors were then assigned to different countries and aimed at different ages. The new materials were introduced worldwide.
A few months ago I spent a number of weeks over in Europe. It was a pleasant, relaxing trip including France, The Low Countries, and Germany. Several times during this visit I found myself sitting alone on a bench watching people stream by. Barb was shopping, and my tolerance for wandering through stores loaded with local items (some imported from China) is very short. While sitting there on the bench I became aware of the shoes people were wearing. I’m easily entertained as you can see. Nonetheless let me share a few of my observations with you.
Older, more mature women with longer, box skirts and proper jackets wear brown medium-heeled comfortable shoes. They often carry bags with expensive store logos. A hat or kerchief may be included.
Men in business suits wear lace-up shoes of shiny leather, usually quite well polished. The younger these men are, the more pointed the shoe becomes. Either their toes are more pointed than ones I know about, or there exists a large space between foot end and shoe end.
Younger, more casually-dressed people, invariably wear tennis shoes. (I’ll get to the Uggs and boots later.) Now these shoes are extremely colorful. Orange stripes or sections are the most predominant, but an iridescent blue comes in a close second. One can be sure the brand is identified as it stands out in some bold statement or color on the side of each shoe. The actual sole may be white or black but is hardly visible. Colorful shoe laces that may or may not match are also part of the ensemble. They appear comfortable so I guess they work.
A group of Eastern Europeans paraded by following a younger lady holding an umbrella aloft. They all wore beat-up looking black oxfords which to some degree matched the dour look on their faces. I tried a smile at them, but I was dismissed out of hand –or ignored, as the case may be. The shoe revolution has not reached these countries yet.
Perhaps the happiest of all groups was a gaggle of school kids about twelve years old. They laughed, pushed, hit one another, and overall seemed to be enjoying themselves. They all wore those brightly colored tennies I mentioned earlier, so perhaps the color works.
There was one pair of clean white tennies that zoomed by. They were on the feet of an older American lady who was passing everyone else. Maybe looking for a w.c.
Another tour group, which I would judge came from Southern Germany or maybe Switzerland wore very comfortable looking hiking boots. The sole left a design on the pavement as they passed. Their determination and general robust size gave their nationality away. They all seemed comfortable – content with their lot in life.
I did notice a fair number of boots. Mostly on ladies. The height of the boot seemed comparable to the length of the skirt. The higher the boot, the shorter the skirt.
There are also those feet things that look like bowling shoes used to look. They are low to the ground with very thin soles. They have funny lacing going almost to the toes, and they too come in all the colors of the rainbow.
I can hardly wait to get back to the United States and test out my new theory. We’ll go into San Francisco and see if the conspiracy theory which matches colored shoes with the personality of the wearers is valid there as well.
Oh – here comes Barbara. Time to move on.