Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Unflattering Imitation

Summer was in her prime when my old black sneakers began showing signs of wear and tear. 

The pair was a pasalubong from relatives. It was hauled out of a Balikbayan Box laden with chocolates and biscuits. Mine was one of a kind: an envy of cousins who were given bars of Milky Way and Krackel chocolates as appeasement. 

This is why I let months pass before I showed up wearing my new shoes. The foot wear was so valued that I used to have second thoughts of taking it out of its box. And when I did, the sneakers only accessorized my get-up during few occasions. Usually when vanity strikes, or when my mother attends reunions with old, rich friends.

It will take a year before I would wear the shoes to work.

The problem is that I have very little regard when it comes to foot wear. Never would I run out of shoes, as the rest remain unused under my bed. But once I become comfortable with one, I would wear the pair every day; every time I go out, until the outsoles thin and the mid soles get torn from the saddle.

Such fate awaited the black sneakers, and it had to be replaced one afternoon for it has exceeded its usefulness. Not only did the air cushions got busted, a hole big enough to expose my underfoot cut through the outsole. A brief downpour would mean going to my destination with soaked socks and pruned foot.

So I went to Cartimar, an obscure spot in Pasay known for imitation shoes and pet supplies. Seldom would I look at foot wear when I am in a mall, but out there, my eyes feasted on different collections. Among my favorites were those with slender curves and symmetric lines. Shoes with earth tone colors also grabbed my attention.

But I was searching for the cheapest pair. Something that is within my half-a-thousand peso budget. After making rounds and checking dozens of stalls, it was overruled by my cheapskate-self that I get the low top with the shade of Artichoke. It was a compromise between the shoes' hip vibe and subdued function at a price lower than what I usually spend when clubbing.

"The workmanship is not that bad." I thought. "Hoping the pair lasts until the end of the year."

The acquisition of a new sneakers was my second in a decade, as I am used to receiving hand-me-downs and presents from relatives. I never thought of buying my own unless there is urgency, and choosing between a pricey original and an imitation at half the cost, my spending behavior at Cartimar spoke well of my habit.

It took days and miles of walking for my feet to adjust to the new pair. Apparently, a size 12 still doesn't snug around my feet. But the compliments were universal. On the day I slipped into my new footwear, people around me were saying they like my shoes and asking where I bought them.

"Diyan lang sa Cartimar."

And so the shoes became my intimate companion. I would walk from Luneta to Quirino Avenue, once a week for my cardio; step on pebbles and stroll over unpaved roads during my trekking; skid my feet on slippery surfaces; bounce on dance floors with my forefoot every time the beat keeps my eardrums pumping.

The pair does not only serve as my gimik footwear.

It is my working shoes as well.

I would take great pride in my shoes, and brush aside the fact that it is, but a mere imitation. Assured that it would never tear despite the abuses it gets from my feet, I would continue wearing the sneakers to the point of being overused. The result was a foreseen disappointment. In less than a month after my purchase, stress marks were already showing. I could no longer walk under the rain without getting my socks wet. A gravel trail leaves my feet sore and just a few days ago, the outsole directly above my instep had punctured revealing how wafer-thin the soles were.

Still, I would continue wearing the shoes.

But for all my beliefs that a cheap imitation can serve as my workhorse; relieving the more expensive ones the ferocity of my feet, the truth was too obvious for omission.

No wonder, I was able to bargain the pair for P450.


dario the jagged little egg said...

I can relate haha : ) Try Payless Shoe store I heard my mga originals sila dun around that price : )

Seth said...

imitation shoes, especially those for sports can cause injuries. i bought a pair and even though i only used it for walking, my knees hurt i had to give them away instead.

i usually wait for a sale and still prefer to buy the originals