I’m using the mobile app Facebook on my phone, something I regularly do when I can’t fall asleep. I like to connect with my friends, and see what has been going on in their lives. I was mindlessly scrolling down until I noticed one of my friends posted up a picture of a shoe he had on this Facebook group. I think it was called something such as Buying and Selling Kicks NYC, or something along the likes of those lines.

Looking in depth at the group more further, I found a couple of my friends are part of this group, and as I mindlessly scroll through pictures of shoes, and posts of shoes of people offering trades, I'm blown away. It has always been evident to me the obsession with shoes that my generation had and still has. But prior to this discovery of the group, I had no idea. There's a crazy shoe obsession out there in America, folks.

It’s not uncommon for people to scramble over shoes, I used to be an avid collector of Yu-Gi-Oh cards myself, so I know just how important it is to get the latest edition, or the limited edition, or even special promotions and deals. I’m used to paying for big bucks on cards based on rarity, the meta, or similar to how a shoe connoisseur might pay for their shoes. I’ve even seen the great lengths people go through when their is a big announcement of a shoe coming out, people would camp out for days on end just to be the first in line to get dibs. Foamposites and Jordans have been all the rage lately for what I have been seeing.

It has even struck me when I was shopping. I don't normally like to shop, and that's not because I am a boy. I like to window shop, I'll enter a store, say I want something, but never buy it, and leave the store empty handed.

The reason I say this is because growing up, my family did not have a lot of money. Truth be told, I probably have only had ten or so pairs of shoes my whole life. Some of you are probably going woah or are shocked. That’s a normal reaction for me. I am the type of person to wear one shoe until I can’t possibly wear it anymore, before I even wear another one. It was like this in grade school.

I remember many times as a young lad the week before school, we would go shoe shopping. This is something we did every year, we would buy the materials for school in advance before the first day of class. I went to a school that provided the student with a list of materials that were recommended to have in order to succeed during the school year. And so while not included, usually back to school outfits were also on sale during this time. It only made sense that while one was getting their supplies, that they receive a back to school outfit, new schoolbag, and shoes for our feet.

I remember being thirteen and in seventh grade being very jealous. I used to be very self conscious because I would look at other people and the way they dressed, especially their shoes. Checks, three parallel lines, a logo of a cat like creature, a letter N, all present on my friend's shoes. And then I look down on myself, no logo, no animal, no check. Just a plain old white shoe with holes near the front of the shoe that creases, and spots that were dirty.

So the week prior to starting my senior year of middle school, I remember just looking at the shoes in Foot Locker. I didn't enter the store, but I glanced in the window, and would see shoes with all these checks. And shoes with a guy splitting his legs and his arm in the air. And my mother, whom accompanied me on all journeys, without hesitation, would continue walking a few stores down to the cheap Payless store. And it has been this way ever since, up until my senior year in college, I had worn Payless my whole life.

The process would be the same every year; we would try on shoes, and this was usually a quick decision on my mother's part. I had never experienced the feeling of wearing a name brand shoe. For me this was my life. And I would wear that shoe everyday, for about a year, until my toes were sticking out.

This wasn't because my mother could not afford to buy me name brand shoes, but my desire in part to help out the family. I knew my mother was hard working and I did not want to put more financial stress on her then she already did.

At twenty years old, I work hourly, and I don’t have the greatest, or biggest collection of sneakers one could see, but I have bought them all myself. I still don’t have a lot of money, and I still get mighty jealous when I see checks on shoes.

Now if your thinking about me and my struggles, just think about my mother. She’s a women, and the only thing women want are high heels, shoes, sneakers, flats, you name it. One day, I’ll collect enough money to buy my mother any shoe she desires. But until then, I’ll continue to wear mostly one shoe at a time, until destroyed.

They say shoes are the most important piece of your outfit, I beg to differ.

Show your support

Clapping shows how much you appreciated JASON "hellojace" LIU’s story.