I bought these Adidas sneakers earlier this year. Maybe in February. I ddn’t really need a pair of sneakers back then – my old Nikes were just fine, but I thought some retail therapy might help cure my NED, and hence the new sneakers. The therapy’s effects were short-lived. I got back to my then-ground state of NED the following day. NED meant unwillingness to wear my new sneakers to the gym, or to work, or anywhere else. So they lay, in a box, until I brought them to Gurgaon three months back. The old faithful pair of Nike was left behind in Bangalore.

I don’t know if my feet have grown in the last ten months. Or if in my eagerness to shop way back in February, I didn’t check properly for the size. But the sneakers are simply too tight. One theory is that my right foot is bigger than my left, and when I had tried out these sneakers in the showroom, I had put the left one on, found it perfect, and bought the pair. This reasoning is based on the observation that it’s only my right foot that hurts, and my left one does fine. The length of the shoes is perfect. It’s a problem with the width. The fourth and fifth toes of my right foot end up getting squeezed.

Having made a mistake the last time I shopped for sneakers, I don’t want to take any chances now. I don’t want to buy another 2K+ pair. I want something cheap, yet comfortable. Went shopping last weekend, checked out all the major showrooms, and whenever I found what looked like a good pair, I would chicken out, head and feet full of self-doubt. I still wear the same tight pair to the gym every morning. And the fourth and fifth toes of my right foot still hurt.

It is winter in Delhi, and gets fairly cold in the evenings, and sometimes even during the day. In Bangalore, Madras, Bombay, etc. my normal footwear (when I wasn’t required to wear formals or sneakers) was floaters. That clearly doesn’t seem to be an option here in Delhi. Which means I need a general pair of shoes. So far in my life, I’ve owned only one “general” pair of shoes. The rest have either been uniform, formals, floaters, bathroom or sneakers. That one general pair I own has been left behind in Bangalore. It’s an old faithful comfortable Liberty pair. Now, the presence of that shoe in good condition, even though it isn’t accessible, deters me from making up my mind about spending on a new pair. Last weekend, I found some really good shoes at Woodland, but again chickened out. Maybe the scars of the wrong choice of sneakers has started affecting in my other shopping decisions also.

On a different note, one thing I’ve noticed here in Gurgaon is that service providers who come home (for example, the guy who fixed the washing machine) refuse to take off their shoes when they enter your house. They even don’t think twice entering the kitchen wearing shoes. Coming from a background where shoes inside the house are a strict no-no, I find this fairly shocking. I remember reading in A Farewell to Alms about differences between Japan and Europe. Japan seems to be like South India in this regard, outlawing footwear inside homes, while Europeans had no such restrictions and is hence like Gurgaon.

7 thoughts on “Shoes”

  1. Leave alone the service provider, absolutely no one will take off their footwear in the north. Infact i got a shock when i saw people taking off their shoes/chappals first in the south !

    1. ok i might be racist here but i said “even the service providers”. i suppose you get it.

      in bangalore i’ve seen people leaving their chappals outside the gates of people whom they are going to meet. which is taking things to an extreme

  2. Seriously, even in Singapore, people leave their shoes outside- some thing super new to me when I first moved there.

    I see the merit in keeping your shoes out (they ARE dirty, you know), but I was forced to do a short pros vs. cons:

    1. House stays clean
    2. For the religious, their sentiments are respected


    1. Ugly shoes tend to make the entrance look shabby
    2. If feet are smelly (yes, an unsually large number of people have smelly feet even in their late twenties), this defeats the purpose of keeping the house clean
    3. Sex and The City on Zee Cafe last night was about Carrie Bradshaw’s Manolo Blahniks being stolen when she was asked by her friend to take them off outside the house. I won’t go to MB way, but anything over Rs 1,000 stolen- hurts!
    4. If you have more than 4-5 people over, absence of a neat shoe keeping arrangement (like a rack) makes it again a shabby entrance

    1. in most south indian houses there is a verandah, the primary purpose of which is to store shoes – of everyone in the house, and also that of the visitors. another option is to leave the chappals just outside the door – though it will end up looking ugly in apartments.

      and if you wear chappals and not shoes, your feet will never be smelly. even if you wear shoes only for limited periods of time (office, play, etc.) if you leave them open for long enough outside of that they don’t usually stink. and if it’s not cold, there’s no reason not to wear chappals.

      and i agree – that risk of chappals being stolen can sometimes be a lot. i used to dread going to the computer center at IIT because i’d invariably lose my chappals there

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