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Friday, June 4

Real Men Love Shoes

No, I'm not into Manolo Blahniks - although I do appreciate a woman in a nice pair of heels. I am talking about men's shoes; men's dress shoes, men's outdoor shoes, and men's athletic shoes. I love them all even when I have nowhere close to the money to afford or justify a new pair and anybody who knows quality shoes knows I'm talking quality price tag too!

I think it started with my dad. Although I most often saw him in work clothes (khaki pants and short sleeve shirts), they were meticulously maintained clothes. He had his pants and shirts laundered and pressed, even the ones he kept for yard work and fishing. He shined all shoes except his "working in the yard shoes". When he did get dressed up he looked crisp and clean with a just enough style elements to show you that he really knew what he was doing.

My first encounter with shoe envy came when I played football as a 6th grader. I desperately wanted a pair of off-white on white Puma cleats. Why? I don't remember. I imagine it was because one of my team mates I admired wore them. I didn't get them. I got white on black Pumas and I was sorely disappointed. Fast forward to Boy Scouts when all I wanted was the best hiking boots but boots then as now are insanely expensive. I never got the Vasque boots I wanted. And so on, into my adult years where I am still pulled between the same poles...

I don't play sports but I happen to love soccer shoes - the most shoe centric of pro sports. I am still searching for the perfect hiking boots but I have settled on good hiking shoes because I don't do much backpacking or off trail hiking where the ankle support would come in handy. Last but not least are my adult dress shoes. I never would have imagined I, like my father, would enjoy wearing and caring for dress shoes. I don't have the $800+ to drop on the ones I see in Esquire but I have no problem putting down $200 on a solid pair of locally owned Johnston and Murphy.

When it comes to shoe shopping I start with brand and then style. I know which brands are quality and I stick with them. I see quality in manufacturing process, materials and detail, I see quality in consistency of fit, and I see quality in corporate philosophy. I want to support mega-, overseas manufacturing-, possibly child abusers-, probably exploitative- companies as infrequently as possible. So, for many years I have clung tightly to Adidas and Puma (did you know they were started by brothers?). Out of the primary outfitters for soccer teams worldwide it is those two companies and Nike who dominate the market. There are plenty of other brands but they are either too small to make an impact in America or their gear is just plain boring.

So, what a surprise when I found my funkiest pair of soccer shoes yet made by Nike. I hesitated. I searched soccerpro.com over and over hoping there would be something as funky available by one of the other brands but as fortune would have it I would be "forced" to support the evil - yet improving (Listed as one of the MOST ethical corporations by Ethisphere) - empire of Nike. This is not my first pair of Nike just my first in a long time. This is not my only Nike brand item since I first heard about their overseas manufacturing plantations facilities. So, I am not perfect and I am easily tempted by any shoes that combine purple with another color.

As usual my contacts at soccerpro.com were ace customer service. I'm telling you, you need to order something from them just to see how they explain return policy...there's something in it for you. My box arrived super fast and inside was that iconic orange shoe box with a white swoosh stripe on top. I was scared to wear them outside of the house for a couple of days b/c they are really white but finally I did and I love them. They are made for playing indoor soccer or futsal but they are working just fine as a pair of "walking around town shoes". Most people are a little stunned by the neon green that, along with the white, predominates the shoe. They are the boldest pair of shoes I've worn in a long time and I am getting a kick - no pun intended - out of being noticed. I like the snug fit so really, what more can you ask?

If you can handle supporting Nike and you want to capture the eye of everyone around you. Go to soccerpro.com and check out the shoes. Not only will you find a huge selection but you will see some serious discounts. I've been quite happy dealing with these guys.

They have all sorts of World Cup gear too. It is that time, right? Support your favorite nation (I love the US but I'm going with Spain) or support South Africa's World Cup T-shirts and World Cup Balls, as well as the lower priced replicas. I got myself a T-shirt and I got Julia (ha, ha...someday) a Jobulani replica. And who doesn't like the Samba Kings, you can pick up Brazil World Cup Jerseys too.

DISCLAIMER: All specific gear mentioned in this post was gifted to me by agents representing soccerpro.com. With that in mind please understand that the words are mine, I was not guided by soccerpro.com or representatives thereof about the content of this post. My opinions are my honest opinions.

Soccer Shoes
World Cup Ball
World Cup T-shirts
Brazil World Cup Jerseys

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