Wednesday, September 2, 2009

What do you look for in a shoe?

When I buy shoes I might ask the assistant questions like, “Will these keep my feet dry?” or “Are you sure these are for men?”

What I feel I shouldn’t have to ask the shop assistant is “Does the sole grip the floor?”

For me, that should be a given.

Imagine my surprise, then, when I stepped out in a snazzy new pair of trainers and found myself Bambi-on-ice-ing down the pavement. It was basically unsafe to wear them if it had rained in the last 24 hours.

These are some everyday surfaces they did not grip.


Like gripping a greased eel with soapy hands

Guaranteed neck-breaker

I had chosen these particular shoes because they’re made by ethical company Vegetarian Shoes (I think these particular soles were made of Quorn).

As I tip-toed gingerly down the road (literally, I had to walk on the road as tarmac was the only surface I could stand on) I would find myself yearning to have bits of dead cow on my feet, stitched together by children working in terrible conditions, getting paid three buttons a week.

The moral to this tale is that it’s good to be ethical and use that as a selling point. But even in these days of organic-this and responsibly-produced-that, you still need to pay at least some attention to the quality of your product. In this case, if you’re making shoes, make sure people can walk in them.

(In the interests of fairness, I should report that I just got some new trainers from the same company and they grip the floor very convincingly. Well done guys, you’ve cracked it!)


  1. Are you sure you didn't ask for a pair of slippers?

  2. When’s your birthday again dear uncle? Might get you a pair.
    The thought of your Peter-Crouch-like limbs flailing as you skid along some ‘northern’ cobblestones fills me with glee.

  3. This is because although God went to the trouble of making animals out of leather to provide us with footwear, you chose some made out of compressed potato peelings.

  4. On the other hand Ryanair is quite happy to rape the planet, yet when I showed up at the airport they refused to honour my booking. Evil AND ineffective.

  5. A true vegetarian would have lacked the energy to vehemently step out into the world in such a bold way as to experience said lack of purchase from your purchase. So this problem wouldn't have been spotted in testing.

    A sturdy pair of Vibrams is what you need.