If we’re talking early 1990’s and middle school fashion, Keds were the coolest shoes in the world. Scratch that, the Universe. I can still picture them. Their perfectly clean, crisp canvas. Their bold blue “I’m the real deal” logo. Their total lack of support and shock absorption. Their complete void of style. It was all too much for my preteen self. I had to have them. All the cool kids were sporting Keds. If you weren’t wearing Keds, you were deemed a poser (whatever that means).
Seeing how I was only two days past my ‘Converse stage’, I had to ask my mom for a pair of Keds at the perfectly orchestrated time. Perhaps after my sister brought her report card home or just moments after my dad announced his goal to invite our grandmother to live with us for the summer? It took awhile, but I found my opening and I boldly asked my mom for a pair of Keds. Mom shocked me when she answered “yes”. There wasn’t even an argument. I guess it made sense seeing even her friends were wearing Keds. Yes, a fashion trend that spanned multiple generations. I shutter to think . . .
The big day came and Mom and I set out to go shopping for my new fashion “must have” at an unlikely place. Not a department store, not a boutique, but Kmart. It hit me almost immediately. Mom was planning on going the generic route. There was no blue logo in my future and I started to freak out.
I tried to explain to my mom what would happen if I turned around and didn’t have that authentic blue logo on the flip side of my sneaks? I’d die. I’d cry. I’d feel like a loser. Mom stared at me totally blank and said words that echo in my brain even today, “they are exactly the same”. WHAT???? Says WHO?????!!!
I never got my real Keds and I lived to tell about it. However, the story doesn’t end there. One evening well past the “generic shopping trip” I spotted something blue in my mothers closet. To be specific, something white and blue. There they were, staring at me, perfectly new Keds . . . in size nine . . . ADULT nine. My mom bought a REAL pair of Keds for herself! But, I thought, NO ONE would know? Apparently, they will!
Decades (dear God I’m getting old) later, my five year old bashfully came to me and asked for shoes that light up. To be exact, Sketchers. The irony is rich. Sketcher’s are Keds just rebranded, bedazzled, stuffed with some cheap lights, and sold for twice as much.
Honestly, I’m not a brand snob and especially when it comes to my kiddies. I love ya J.Crew, but Target sells the same thing. Pottery Barn Kids, you are precious, but I’m not taking out a second mortgage to pay for a Halloween costume. However, I do have a soft spot for shoes. So, on the first day of school my daughter will be wearing shoes that shine. I love them and so does she. I tried to explain to her how lucky she is that I bought her Sketchers and how fads are just silly ways to get parents to spend more money. I’m not sure if she listened, but as I watched her skip off leaving a trail of flashing lights behind her, I smiled. She is just darn lucky they don’t come in my size . . .