There are three primary, infallible reasons why beat up sneakers (especially Converse) are more American than John Anthony Brooks double fisting bacon cheeseburgers while wearing Levi's and reciting the Constitution, or John Wayne bathing in a whiskey jacuzzi at the top of the Statue of Liberty being fed bacon covered bacon by a bald eagle with hot dogs for talons.
And that's because...
1. They convey durability
At the forefront of American resolve is durability, our proficiency to endure, overcome, and downright trudge through the proverbial, and literal, Group of Death and come out the other side very much alive. My shoes have been thrown up on, soaked in a variety of liquids, kissed steaming hot/frozen asphalt, rubbed on dirt, grass, & gravel and yet they continue to pound away and absorb each step for me (and YES, I’ve cleaned them). I turn to them in times of need, and although all of this may sound dramatic/overly irrational personifying of an inanimate object, think about ‘em for a second. They push through everything for you, time and time again. Without you they are nothing, and without them you are Cody Lundin
. They can not, and WILL NOT, be deterred from their mission and purpose of being the best damn pair of shoes they can be.
2. It’s a shared experience
Americans love a good ‘ol feel-good shared occurrence or event that everyone can rally/drink around. It’s not often that the farmer in Pennsylvania who grows beets with his cousin Mose has a reason to use the same hashtag as the stereotypical NYC power banker who has a fondness for striped suits and powdered substances. This circles back to the irrational personifying bit, but you and your shoes are essentially your own private form of social media, unable to escape, whether you like it or not, the experiences of one another. Every Tim Howard-esque
high, indomitable low, and that weird in between nebulous middle ground where most of life seems to reside, has begun and ended with your shoes. Follow me here: shared experiences are very American, and since your shoes are the main supporting catalyst promoting those shared experiences, then old beat up shoes, which have had a TON of beat down glory bestowed upon them, are one of the most American things out there. Connect the dots. All lines lead to freedom.
3. The shoes are an active symbol of rugged loyalty on the back of an elbow-greased work ethic
You did not carve Mount Rushmore with your bare hands whilst carbo-loading on Bud Heavy and gorging on deep-fried turkey while wearing your shoes. You did not weld the supporting arches of the Golden Gate Bridge, nor did you concoct the Big Mac sauce in those kicks. But what you did do is traverse newly formed cul-de-sacs, explore abandoned lots & airfields, and delve into the many crevices of the United States that make this nation a nation. There’s something about an old, ripped, sh*t covered shoe (literally and figuratively) that spurs a true sense of the American work ethic and the constantly evolving need for adventure. Your drive and willingness to tackle a new frontier in your shoes--whether it be a new path home or a thousand mile journey into the unknown--is one of the great choices in life that make this country, NEIGH, this gaseous, watery rock hurling through the universe, go round.
Here's to you, faithful shoe. For what you've done in the past, and what unknown adventures you'll take me to in the future. Cheers!
Happy Fourth, y'all!
Christopher DiScipio is theThread's Editorial Assistant. Come to think of it, he keeps his shoes in pristine condition. Does this make him un-American? Let him know on Twitter @ChrisDiScipio.