Age-Appropriate Footwear

HOFF Green Shoe

Progeny tends to be ageist. Our two sons have just bought themselves some new sneakers. One, a pair of Sketchers and the other, some Nikes.

I fancy a pair myself, but my sons are having none of it. Apparently, I’m too old to wear Sketchers or Nike. I’m too old to Swoosh or Zoom. I am too young to pilot a pair of Air Force 1’s and not rich enough for Ermerigildo Zegna Triple-Stitch Second Skins.

“You’re not young anymore, Dad” the eldest said in a way that conjured up images of heel spurs, overpronation, metatarsalgia and extra-wide toe boxes. And being confined to slippers.

“Slip-ins are not for you Dad. Slip-ons are” said the other, conjuring up an image of my dignity gradually leaking out of cheap shiny shoes with tassels.

So, what is age-appropriate footwear? For the over forties, fifties or beyond but still young at heart and the bunions notwithstanding?

When do you have to give up wearing colourful ties or socks? Before or after you give up wearing sneakers? When do you give up embracing your individuality? When do you grow out of being urban? Never! Whatever the younger generation says.

At my age, every shopping expedition is an exercise in positive ageing. Whether it’s for healthy, feel good food or medicated, feel-good footwear. You get to a certain age when chic doesn’t come into buying shoes. But orthotic does.

Happiness is a solid heel and cooling foam memory. After you are forty you go for anatomical and psychological support to a cobbler not a doctor.

The knee replacements, the hip replacements and the footbed replacements. They are all part of life. And middle, late-middle age.

Rather like drivers who wave at fellow Volkswagen owners when they pass them on the street, I wave at people with limps.

As you get older, your deportment changes. You can’t sashay anymore. You hobble instead. You develop ankle mobility issues. You don’t wear peep toes any longer because time and rheumatoid arthritis has turned your toes into twisted ginseng roots.

You reach that time of life. That certain age.

When you are ashamed of your feet and your children are ashamed of what you wear on them. Bovver boots and basketball boots don’t suit someone with grey hair.

HOFF Pink Shoe

We soon reach an age when you get your children to promise you that they won’t bury you in massage sandals or bunion separators. And you pray that you don’t die with your plastic gardening crocs on.

Once, I would have laughed at doctor-designed shoes. But I have suddenly become very interested in biomechanical orthotic technology.

I have become far more interested than I have ever been in discreet flexibility and touch-close fastenings. And having handsfree feet. I have started living a no lace lifestyle.

My wife and I now like to walk around in a HOFF.

You can Botox, go under the laser, fill up your face with fillers, peel, slap on the hydrating creams, stimulate collagen and pay large sums for zero detection work on your bust and teeth but what’s the point in having perfect skin and a lovely smile if you walk in a pitiful, creaky, haggard way and display no noticeable deportment.

You can do something about the crow’s feet. But not your feet.

We have gone Spanish. We order from Alicante.

And I answer: “Yukai Du to you too” when my kids become shoe police. And I show my never-too-old-for-acid-and-neon soles. And my new pair of The HOFF Brand and the London-based visual artist’s latest eye-catching ready-to-wear collection.

I also quote Fran Marchena at them. She founded the brand.

“Unexpected beauty is everywhere. HOFF is a celebration of uniqueness and creativity. It ignites the creative spark in each person, empowering us to express ourselves selves authentically.

“The brand transcends far beyond geographical and age boundaries.”

It puts the scoffers in their place. Especially if I say it in a way that unambiguously implies that they aren’t immune from needing arch support.

The world is our stage. Everyone’s stage. No matter your age.

National Shoe Day (15th March), National Feet Week (17th – 23rd April) and National I Love My Feet Day (17th August) are for all.

Author Bio:

Kevin Pilley is a former professional cricketer and chief staff writer of PUNCH magazine. His humour, travel, food and drink work appear worldwide, and he has been published in over 800 titles.

Photographs courtesy of The HOFF Brand

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