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Opinion

Useless footwear functions increase

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April 9, 2009

In the new comedy “I Love You, Man,” Jason Segel plays an eccentric named Sydney Fife. This dude’s idea of a good time is meandering down the Venice Beach boardwalk in shorts and Ugg Boots, letting his gastrically-overactive terrier lay turds directly in the path of oncoming rollerbladers and strolling romantic couples.

Now my interest in this particular scene does not arise from the dog’s hilariously-timed sphincteral discharges but rather from the chosen footwear of its owner. While I think it’s hilarious that Sydney wears Uggs around town, it invariably brings me to the thought of shoes, the concept of footwear. The year is now 2009 and shoes have gone far beyond their originally intended purpose.

In the beginning, humans struggled mightily to overcome the curse of calluses, corns and howling red blisters. Shoes, probably invented by Thomas Edison (just a guess, I’m going by the odds), helped early cavemen and homo erectuses heal their screaming feet and get on with the business of evolving. Originally just pieces of leather or fabric insecurely tied to the foot, shoes have made the ascent to the category of “fashion essentials” As a society, we’re now obsessed.

To illustrate our obsession with footwear, take a look at the last few decades. These past years, shoes have gone through several fashion phases of extreme uselessness. For instance, I have no idea who invented disco-era platform heels; while they accomplish their supposed goal of looking freaky as hell, they supply no other observable function and that annoys me. Hypocritically enough, I have a pair of really “tall” retro swing shoes, known as creepers, and they serve hardly any other purpose besides looking frickin’ sweet. But my Creepers are exempt from my harsh judgments because if you lift up the insole of either shoe you will find a coffin-shaped secret compartment, inside which I store my roll of fifties.

Back to my point: shoes are a fashion essential, aren’t they? I have heard of others my age spending extraordinary amounts of money on shoesÑ$80, $90, upwards of $150 or more; something is wrong with that. I don’t care if they’re for your prom, your birthday, your wedding, your new rap album or whatever. The real crappy thing about spending that much money on footwear is that generally, the more you spend, the less functional the shoes are. I know those fancy, expensive heels from the mall may look spicy hot, but all I hear is complaints about how painful it is to wear that kind of shoes. Good thing guys aren’t really allowed to wear heels, I guess.

I urge you all to reconsider the purposes of footwear. We’ve perverted shoes from their original principle by adding wheels, blades, metal spikes, six-inch heels, secret compartments, ridiculous amounts of rubber tread and even animal hair in the case of Uggs, the BOOTS with da FUR. But people: the shoe fetish must end.

Joe Hager is a student at UW-River Falls.