Opinion

These boots are made for walking, so put your best foot forward

By Liam Nash

LIAM NASH KNOWS GOOD SHOES CAN TAKE YOU GOOD PLACES

Ever since Father Time first set his watch, one constant variable has carried the world through life’s trials and tribulations — footwear.

Yes, they may only be patches of material glued to a base, but they make a statement like no other.

Delve into any aspect of culture and you are met with a shoe to match the occasion.

Take sport for example.

A size-15 James Smith Match boot, specked with blood and sweat, bounces around the canvas while the wearer delivers blow after blow to fell the most feared men. Hitting millions of screens across continents, Mike Tyson’s career was essentially supported by breathable nylon.

Talk about iconic.

What about the dyed red, white and black leather high-tops, leaping off the hardwood of United Centre, seeming unlikely to ever touch back down on the ground, worn by who else but His Airness, Michael Jordan.

Equally powerful.

Peering outside the sporting realm and into the musical domain drags up similarly supreme instances.

Picture a shin-high, frayed pair of Doc Martens thrashing and stamping the vinyl surface of Phoenix Festival 1996. Deafening punk liberates a frenzied audience, the source a man with streaks of lurid orange and yellow hair glowing incandescent in the amber stage light. The owner, Sex Pistols lead Johnny Rotten.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, two thick-heeled, clog-like imitations clack and stamp the halls of an African American dance hall circa 1960 — worn with a purpose, a contract to dance perpetually. Forcing the wearer to exhaustion, but forever entertaining, these were debuted by none other than James Brown, the godfather of soul.

Fixate your gaze on the silver screen, again, plenty springs to mind.

Ruby red slippers glinting in the land of Oz, tapping three times as Judy Garland utters the unforgettable phrase.

Offensively loud, lit-up grey Nikes bound to Marty McFly’s hoverboard, inconceivable at the time.

The list goes on and on, but the point is: shoes, in whatever shape or form, were there to endure history’s most famed moments.

It begs the question — what items of footwear have marked significant moments throughout my own existence?

Naturally, it would be best to start at the beginning.

Now, considering the fact I thrived on the cool touch of morning dew between my toes while running amok on the school grounds, it was quite some time until my feet became imprisoned by choice.

My first, proper pair I can visibly remember picking off the shelf and calling my own were a set of black lace-less Vans, embellished with green ghosts. I was absolutely stoked.

Licking my lips at the prospect of emanating an infinitely cool aura as a skater such as my older brother did, the next step was to beg Mum for a brand-new board with gleaming bearings and trucks.

Adopting a fashion trend only describable as neo-kook, it (thankfully) didn’t take me long to realise skating wasn’t for me, saving spine transfers and ramps for retirement.

Scroll down the timeline and a more sombre memory remains tied to the next pair. Black formals, stepping in unison to the haka, the traditional New Zealand Maori war dance. Watching my grandfather sink into the earth while reciting the native incantation left them stained with grief, leaving no choice but to exile them to the depths of the closet.

Progressing to years later, two frazzled trainers with threads sprouting from every orifice cross a finish line, soaked with sweat from the previous 21.1km. Despite serving no purpose, they remain in my possession due to the lasting sense of pride associated with them.

I AM LISTENING TO...

Caravelle. While I’ve never truly gravitated to other European flavours, something about melodies from La Patrie have always ticked plenty of boxes for me.

This, suave, bouncy electronic assemblage is the sole studio album to emerge from French DJ duo Polo and Pan and boy does it pack a punch.

Exotic instruments take the driving seat in this number, pleasantly accompanied by messages locked away behind that decadent accent.

Considering I’m far from a savant in the French tongue, those lavish licks of paroles entwined with new-age electro make for a totally soothing journey aboard the Caravelle.

I AM EATING...

Well all right, yes I have, for too long, shunned breakfast, skimped on lunch and barely savoured dinner.

So, lately I have committed to putting a balanced, nutritious diet at the very forefront my being — in attempt to give my own a gastric system a chance to breathe.

Now the morning usually equates to playing devil’s advocado (please excuse), lunch extends to a wholesome assembly of greens while supper’s vegetable content switches from moot to root.

Pies and pasties have been given up for Lent, but still occupy a small portion of the freezer (for emergencies only).

I AM TILTING MY HEAD...

Sideways. Accompanied by the awkward silent head-bang, I might add.

Why, you may ask? Because it seems like the only appropriate measure to rid myself of the recurring swimmer’s ear.

One particular benefit of living a minute's walk from the office is around-the-clock access to the company pool, a commodity I have been taking advantage of heavily before the climate descends into darkness.

With post-gym stiffness a real thorn in the side when it comes to water cooler visits, I have taken to the water as a means of muscle and mind relaxation.

All is well, aside from colleagues’ heckles and accusations of being a serial sunbather.

I AM WATCHING...

Unabomber: In His Own Words. While wary at first, this Netflix documentary kept me holding on, white-knuckled, until the very end.

I’ll admit I was a bit wet behind the ears in regard to Ted Kaczynski’s reign of terror during the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s — but diving into the series left few questions to be answered upon completion.

Shedding light on the psychological beating he took at the hands of a Harvard professor during his formative years, the nationwide dread he produced was sincerely conveyed throughout the four parts.

Nowadays, such an act would likely hold the world at a standstill, making the implications of his horrific tenure all the more gut-churning.