His father didn’t even turn. “Suppose you tell me why you need a new pair of sneakers. Can you do that?” “Well . . .” It was because they felt the way it feels every summer when you take off your shoes for the first time and run in the grass. [. . .] Somehow the people who made tennis shoes knew what boys needed and wanted. They put marshmallows and coiled springs in the soles and they wove the rest out of grasses bleached and fired in the wilderness. Somewhere deep in the soft loam of the shoes the thin hard sinews of the buck deer were hidden. The people that made the shoes must have watched a lot of winds blow the trees and a lot of rivers going down to lakes. Whatever it was, it was in the shoes, and it was summer. [from Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury]
Do you remember the way it used to feel in the summertime during the long evenings when you would run around outside playing hide-and-seek and tag with your friends? Just as the heat of the day was ebbing and the cool twilight was gathering, punctuated by a few fireflies, shrieks of laughter and the boundless energy of childhood? Do you remember the feeling of freedom as you ran hard across the soft grass and soft across the hard pavement, barefoot, of course, because summer is no time for the oppression of shoes? It was always my favorite to be barefoot whenever the weather permitted. It’s still my favorite. And this week I got a new pair of shoes. Totally wacky shoes that look like this:
They’re designed to protect your foot while allowing your movement to be as close as possible to how you move when you’re actually barefoot. And I love them. They feel like they were made for my feet. When I go out to walk in them, it feels like those summer days when I was a kid, and I feel energized. There’s just nothing like finding a great pair of shoes the summer!