Published May 8, 2014
By Matthew Girard, Associate Editor
I have a problem attaching too much sentimental value to shoes.
Don’t worry, there’s no need to call “Hoarders” because I have shoes overflowing out of my house or anything like that.
My six-month-old daughter already has more pairs of shoes in her closet than I do, but when it comes to a pair of shoes, I have a hard time letting go even when it’s clearly time for them to be tossed out.
Since I began buying my own shoes in the seventh grade, when I saved for months to get Reebok’s ground-breaking “Preseason Scrimmage” shoes, I have held onto my footwear way past its prime because buying a pair of shoes is like buying a car or a house for anyone else.
It’s an investment.
Not only am I looking at price, how they look and what purpose they will serve, a pair of shoes must also stand up to their predecessor sitting in my closet.
As you can imagine, when it’s finally time to say goodbye to a pair of shoes, it’s not an easy process.
Although I might not have worn a pair of shoes for some time, even years at times, the memories of what we have been through together keep me from unceremoniously tossing them into the garbage can.
Last Saturday, I broke that cycle as I gladly threw one of my favorite pairs of shoes into a garbage bag at the 2014 Central Texas Tough Mudder event outside of Rockdale without a second thought.
Despite being a part of my shoe rotation for less than a year, my New Balance running shoes quickly became my go-to shoes for doing nearly everything.
Not only were they comfortable, they were built to last.
A few months later, I learned that I would be participating in this year’s Tough Mudder, which is a 10-mile run that includes obstacles with names like “Electroshock therapy,” “Arctic Enema” and of course the “Mud Mile,” for the first time.
Instantly, I knew which shoes I would be wearing to compete in the grueling four-hour run.
On the day of the race, I tied my New Balances as tight as I could and then wrapped them in horse tape to keep them on my feet because I knew that if I wanted to finish the race, I would need the best from both of my shoes.
During the next four hours, my shoes and I crawled through mud, climbed over walls, failed to make it across the “Monkey Bars,” got shocked with thousands of volts of electricity and took a dip in a giant pool filled with ice.
Never once did my shoes fail me.
After the race, volunteers made their way through the mass of muddy and bruised bodies in the “shower” area collecting wet, dirty and even torn apart shoes for charity.
After cleaning up, I was approached by a volunteer with a bag and for the first time in my life, I gave up a pair of shoes without any hesitation.
So why was there no hesitation from the person who just admitted to getting “attached” to shoes?
Simply put, there will never be another pair of shoes that will mean as much to me.
They were there when I pushed myself beyond my limits, faced my fears head on and finished a race that more than a few people thought I wouldn’t survive. I couldn’t imagine a better ending to our relationship than ending it with us being on top.
Needless to say, the New Balance replacements will have mighty big shoes to fill.