Somewhere in Japan

Dispatch № 19: Faster Shoes

35°51’04.9″N 139°39’16.3″E

I need faster shoes. Not shoes that make me faster at running or anything like that, but shoes that are faster to put on and (especially) to take off. Living in Japan, I often have to remove my shoes, and if you’re waiting for me, I feel bad for you.

Part of the problem is that my manual dexterity goes out the window when untying shoes under pressure. It’s as if my hands turn into clumsy, Johnny Tremain fleshmittens and perfectly normal knots go all Gordian for no apparent reason.

If I enter the apartment before my girlfriend, for example, she is left to stand there watching me fumble in the entryway under duress until I give up and just pry off my still-tied shoes.

On top of that, I rarely remember to untie them after taking them off, so the awkwardness of waiting on shoelace bungling is simply delayed until departure time, often with the additional pressure of having a train to catch (for which I’m already at risk of being late).

I have one pair of slip-on shoes and some sandals, but those will only get me so far in daily life. I’ve considered replacing the laces on some shoes with elastic to affect a sort of slip-on conversion, but I’ve had this idea for years and I still haven’t done it.

Loafers are theoretically an option, or at least would be, if they weren’t clearly outside my sartorial Overton window.

Boots that zip are automatically out, as well. Much as I dislike being awkward and slow, it’s still better than accepting any shoe with a zipper, a feature no shoe should have.

I think about this intensely, but only in the moment, forgetting about it soon after entering my apartment. There are solutions, but they require going to the store, and right now I don’t feel like putting on shoes.

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Picture of David R Munson

David R Munson

Photographer, essayist, wanderer, weirdo. Everything is interesting if you give it an honest chance to be.

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