Babyfoot is a Japanese beauty product that claims to reveal the sparkling fresh infant skin beneath one’s callouses. Opening the package reveals two plastic booties filled with acid. I slip them on, tape them shut and read/smoke/pick at my cuticles for half an hour. About a week after removing the booties and washing away the chemical soak, I get my reward. Strips of skin begin to fall away from my feet. Removing my socks leaves a pile of skin on the floor. My yoga mat is covered with human confetti. Later, my feet are smooth (never shining or sparkling), but the end is not the point.
Because it’d be any MarniGrrl’s dream to snag a bird’s eye view of Consuelo Castiglioni & Slavoj Žižek having a teatime dialectic on the TGV.
@MITpress @marniofficial @yalebookstore (Julia Frakes)
Because it had just dawned on me—here, in my (now-not-so) secret study nook on campus: perched underneath a certain tree by Bass Library—that I would tell the next extremely gullible person/six-year-old I chanced upon that these trainers came about after Sylvia Whitman and some bookish sneakerheads played hide-and-seek in Liberty, with Corduroy’s lesser-known bear cousin, Raffia, winning the department store sport (viz., the laces). Then I decided that would be quite cruel. Anyhoo this spot has been the locus of much book reading, trouser grass staining, and Podcast procrastinating*. I distinctly recall snapping this on my iPhone, upside-down and feet dangling precariously, just as the legendary Prof. Steven Smith meandered by… which was even more awkward, as I was only just gathering myself from a coffee-spilling episode in plain sight of him at Blue State Coffee a few minutes prior. I’d rather not talk about it. It’s not even endearing, really. (Why’d I bring this up again? Right: The footgram.) He doesn’t remember. (I hope.)
*OMG, as an aside, can someone just give/award all the prizes in the world to the geniuses of Podcastland: Terry Gross, Diane Rehm, Krista Tippett, Pamela Paul, Brooke Gladstone, Laurie Taylor, Melvyn Bragg, Francine Stock, John Dickerson, Alexander Heffner, Dahlia Lithwick, Edmonds & Warburton (Social Science Bites, et al.), Alec Baldwin (WNYC’s Here’s the Thing), Peter Adamson, The Partially Examined Life crew, Tom Ashbrook, John Hodgman, Dan Carlin, Andrew Leland, Tom Sutcliffe, Amy Bloom, Stephen West… who else am I missing?
@nikelab @LibertyLondon @yale (Julia Frakes)
Because bi-color blue saddle shoes, a strong cup of coffee and a fresh Charles M. Blow New York Times column to peruse, a garden-side scene behind Saturdays Surf NYC by the exquisite Nimue Smit… I’m tempted to quote Big Sean here. Or Simon & Garfunkel. Same dif.: #Blessed
(For what it’s worth, the morning was bound to—and did, in fact, to a hilarious degree—drift downhill thereafter.)
@rag_bone @charlesmblow @saturdaysnyc (Julia Frakes)
My feet are pretty gross but they are useful at times. Like Orangutans, I’ve been quadrumanous since a young age – TV remotes, dirty laundry, bass drum pedals, etc. Given my foot’s many talents, I deemed it worthy of permanent awesomeness.
Geronimo, in my personal opinion, is the most badass anti-hero the West has ever seen. He was never captured, he turned himself in (multiple times, always to escape again). Once finally confined to “The Res,” he learned to write his signature and started signing rather worthless items that he sold to frontier tourists; making some serious cheddar in the process. Geronimo was sticking it to the man before people knew the man existed, he gamed the system in many other instances too.
My hero leads me everywhere I go. (Prewitt Scott-Jackson)
These shoes might look like a fancy man’s selection but they’re really the showcase of how goddamned cheap I am. For a number of years I had a massive collection of shoes. I wanted my shoes to enter the room for me, and I would lurk on the periphery as my shoes made the scene. I chose shoes in all colors and styles, ready to go for any situation. None of these situations ever came up.
I still feel that way, but now I only have four pair. These two pictured, a wet weather/high traction pair for the times I have to do something around the marina in the rain (I recommend living on a boat), and another red/blue synthetic suede pair I got on a whim because I had a pass to the adidas corporate store.
Which brings me to my other fascination with shoes: getting them cheap.
I prefer to get shoes that are at Nordstrom Rack, and further, on sale at Nordstrom Rack. Partly because I could get lucky and find quality shoes really, really cheap. But mainly because I have large, wide feet and Nordstrom caters to all kinds of shoe sizes, including my 13 wides. So I go to the Rack to get the castoffs at a discount. Which I learned my lesson on getting these shiny shoes at the Columbia Sportswear clearance sale – you can’t see it but my wide feet have blown out the sides. (Since I’m slinging brand names around – the boots are Timberlands I got at a Seattle Goodwill.)
There’s no room for a vast collection living on a boat. New shoes can only come in on dead man’s boots.
(Luscious Dick Tacoma)
These crude-oil-black blanks are my go-to work shoes (teaching). By design they have zero support and all but zero cushioning. Instead, the shoes offer a simulation of barefootedness and a lavish language of ultimate flexibility, zero drop, roomy footbeds, wide toe-boxes, and ultra-thin puncture resistant soles. They allow one’s toes to load, splay, and recoil. With or without the verbiage, the shoes won me over; they’re the most comfortable ones I’ve got.
At first the hardness of the ground under my feet felt strange and bad, and then it started to feel pretty good, and then at last I found that I only ever wanted to wear these shoes or other shoes that would allow me to feel the hardness of the ground and the weight of my body pressing into it.
The shoes forced me to adjust how I walked, yes, but they more so made me aware of all the habits and quirks in the way my body trundled (and might trundle a little differently) across the earth.
Side note: I first bought minimalist shoes like this in 2010, while right in the thick of a grossly overwrought and bloated dissertation—on “small poetry,” duh.
The ugliness of these shoes is worth mentioning. They have a terminally orthopedic, old man look about them, which is funny since they wear more like dancing flats or 1930s track spikes, sans spikes. I welcome all of these associations. I also and especially welcome the shoes’ color & general appearance, their defiant drabness—the plain, shapeless, flat, black-on-black-on-black non-style of them. They’re basic in every sense. But that’s fine because there’s sober gravity in basic, and because in my imagination my feet have been dipped in some sort of magical, viscous squid ink that bonded onto my body to become super-dark light-foot slippers which are just thing for scurrying over and through fantastic millennial wreckage, day after day.
THE SKY SEATS TWO
The shoes are a walk-in, good for lacing, tucking, shedding their outsoles, and not a lot else. For twice as much (money?) they could be leather. At the current rate, saddlesoap now and again isn’t going to save them.
But with leather, you can’t exactly walk on water, anyway.
Regardless, they are mystics. Working on conforming to the true shape of my inner feet before they blow out completely and expire. Send flowers when they do. Stuffed in their throats, they’ll make centerpieces.
Editor's Note: if you'd like to be featured in a future "feet and/or shoes" please tweet a photo at us! (cover image by FrostKittyPaw)