So shoe me

My winter walkers.

My winter walkers.

I made a decision in life that will affect me down to my sole.

After a half-century of crossing, pulling, looping, crossing again and pulling tight, I’ve taken the stance that I’ve tied enough shoes in my life.

Double knots in the time of need included, I figure that I’ve come to closure with, say, oh, wait, carry the four, one million shoes in my life.

From now on, I’m only buying loafers.

It’s not that I can’t still get down there and complete the bow, mind you.

I’ve seen those people, and I am not yet one of them. I can still bring my arms down low or one foot at a time up high. My belly has not gotten in the way. My joints can still rotate.

It’s just that I don’t want to tie one and then two on anymore.

My new summer walkers.

My new summer walkers.

Not when the world has cooperated so wonderfully by concluding that men these days can follow form and function by wearing a shoe and then another that slip right onto the foot and then another.

I get up in the morning and slip on my slippers.

I get ready to walk Ellie B aka Dogamous Pyle and I slip on my sturdy walking shoes.

The slip-on world has taken me so far as to become a man of two seasons when it comes to everyday foot wear.

I started out with those sturdy moccasins that seemed just right for fall and winter. You’ve seen my type of harsh-weather loafer. It’s the pair with the brushed-look on the exterior, tough-appearing songs of guns that’ll get me through any and every mud pile and snow slushie.

My casual business shoes.

My casual business shoes.

The first pair was purchased at a K-Mart a dozen years ago, twenty-buck knock-arounds that looked tougher than they wore.

So I dabbled at Sears, with Lands End. I did not like the ones with the little zippers running up the middle like a stripe. It ruined the look and the fit. They ended up hiding in the closet.

I moved up to Bass, the Roscoe, in particular.

This was a shoe that was as comfortable as it was expensive.

I felt like my feet were swaddled in luxurious shoe comfort. But I looked like one tough hiker.

To lessen the financial blow, I’d buy my yearly pair of Roscoes during a trip to the Waterloo Premium Outlets, directly at the Bass store. They seemed to whack a twenty or so off the prices I saw around here.

When I got the new Roscoe, I’d move the old pair into the hallowed position of yard-work shoe.

My big boy dress up shoes.

My big boy dress up shoes.

Yes, I wore these shoes year-round. With shorts, even. At the back of my mind nibbled the thought they were perhaps summer inappropriate. I did not listen to that voice.

I always bought the same brown-beige color.

And then the Roscoe was no longer to be found.

Discontinued, I tell you. Gone. Vanished. Vamoose.

None of the replacement models at the Bass outlet seemed to fit my foot. Yes, sometimes the left felt OK but the right was a little off. Pull another size out of the rack and the right felt fine but the left felt a little off.

Maybe it was me pouting about the removal of my beloved Roscoe, you think?

In any case, I found at Off Broadway Shoes at Destiny USA, Syracuse’s mega shopping, dining and entertainment complex, a fine pair of Merrell slip-on shoes that fit like gloves. They are brown, a shade darker than my old Roscoes.

They’ve lasted the first winter.

Last week in Waterloo, my dear wife Karen bought me a pair of blue Margaritaville loafers at the Famous Footwear outlet.

I love the brand. Jimmy Buffett has provided me now with several pair of business casual brown loafers.

Margaritaville also served up a few summers ago a tan summer slip-on that’s OK for casual wear — you know, a trip to the movies or a happy hour — but not sturdy enough for the long walk.

These new blue babies will take me far. I wore them yesterday to the Syracuse spring football game, and the trip from the parking lot to the Carrier Dome was like walking on a cloud.

Last in need, first in my closet, is my black dress loafer. I purchased this pair six years ago to wear with my new charcoal wedding suit. I do not remember the brand.

But I’ve been wearing both the suit and the shoes at job interviews. They make me feel sharp. One of these days, I may wear them back to some office or another, alternating with my brown Jimmy Buffetts.

Which brings me to sports.

It’s my last bastion for tie shoes.

My white New Balance are ready for a trip to the gym, but we’ve given up the Gold’s membership for awhile now.

My black Dexter bowling shoes have lasted six seasons.

My brown-and-white Nike golf shoes are moving onto season two.

When these need to be replaced, I may have to break my vow and buy another laced pair.

Unless, of course, Big Shoe comes up with a loafer for gym, alley or course.

No velcro, please.

What is your favorite shoe? Do you prefer laces or loafers?

48 thoughts on “So shoe me

  1. As Kerbey said, “Socks!” I’m not going to harp on it.

    I went to Onondaga Parkway with one of my eHarmony dates, and I wore a pair of my new boat shoes to break them in. It was a rough go, let me tell you. By the time we walked a few miles, the lunch that we had–especially the sitting down aspect–was highly anticipated. In retrospect: it was worth it, and the shoes wore comfortably after.


  2. Pingback: You really socked it to me | markbialczak

  3. Mark!
    I take a little break from blogging – haven’t been up to posting or commenting for a bit – and I come back to an entire post chronicling your shoe journey?

    I feel like I’m having an acid flashback. It’s all good. It’s hilarious, in fact. Informative. I like the accompanying pictures.

    It’s just seems so out of character for you. I feel like I stepped into a men’s haberdashery. Is that a word? I’m so disoriented by this post, it sounded more like a sneeze than a word.

    You’re not going to get away without tying laces with kicks, Mark! Surrender!


    • God bless you, Samara. That was quite a sneeze there!

      Yeah, a whole post about shoes … it seemed like a good idea when I started writing it at 7 on Easter morning.

      Glad you found it amusing. And informative. I was two-for-two in reaching my mission!

      I’ve missed your posts and comments. I’m glad you are back up for it! Welcome back, my friend.


  4. I had to give my 4 inch stilettos up in 1995 when I broke my foot Mark. And after all those years of wearing them, held on by a few tiny straps, I’m having toe problems now, so Kerbey, get off those things. They were invented by men to torture women!!!!! I like your shoes Mark. I had to start wearing them as a young age, because, well, first Gina got in the way, followed by Don, Mike, then Jennifer, so loafers just seemed to make more sense than following a belly around with untied laces that I constantly stepped on. I don’t mow lawns, so my tennys just hang around until they fall apart. And right now I’m learning how to knit socks, so I’ll have something cute to cover my big feet when I put them in the shoes.


  5. I love ALL shoes! No shoe prejudice here. I have about a bajillion pairs of shoes and love all of them equally. In a shoe store, I am in heaven. That said, I wear only flip-flops everyday, and the others only sometimes. And for the same reason as you – I don’t feel like taking the time to time them for a quick trip out, and as soon as I get home, they come off. You see, while I love OWNING shoes, I hate WEARING shoes. 😉 I do like your new shoes and I love this quirky post! 😀


  6. I can’t even fathom what a comfortable shoe would feel like. I own none. Of all the stores and all the prices, I just can’t find a comfy shoe. So I just accept it and toddled about in 3 inch stilettos today (including the new car parking lot). Your three pics look presentable, so I won’t tell you that you’ve given up entirely on looking presentable, and I won’t say that you should be in “Cocoon III,” or remind you to take calcium chews, nor that you have to be 60 to stop tying laces. So I will just say enjoy this new laceless chapter in your life. Freedom! BTW, I also move my old pairs of tennies into my “lawnmowing” shoe corner.


  7. What an appropriate day to write about laceless shoes. Merrells are fabulous shoes and you can get them online at severely reduced prices. But back to the day. How long before you move to Lord Boards? No white socks please. And flip flops??? None in your collection? Wayne is right Keen makes a nice shoe but I prefer Merrell. Just don’t go to the bone colored Rockports. Happy Easter my friend.


    • Happy Easter, MC. I am a white sock guy, though I go for the lower ones come warmer weather. Original black Crocs, no flip-flops. I tend to bang up my feet too much in flip-flops and have to be careful because of the diabetes thing.


  8. Man…I did the Velcro sneakers many years ago….easy on easy off. Felt like I beat the world…till my dear wife made so much fun of me she shamed them to the donation bin. Cruel world. Clarks loafers I tell ya. 100% leather and will last a lifetime…almost. Just have to take a loan out to buy them though. Hoppy Easter!


  9. I switched to Keens which do the same thing and also walk in (not on,since it is Easter!) water. Also the added benefit of giving up on socks. The only drawback is the deep snow months.


  10. My favourite shoe – no shoes at all! Otherwise my birkenstocks for summer and i’m looking for a good pair of waterproof walking boots at a reasonable price. Really waterproof, not just claiming to be and then falling short after a few months.


  11. Your winter walkers crack me up, maybe I should have woken up a little bit more before clicking on the post ….but then I saw the white socks with your loafers. Haha needed the chuckle!


      • No…..I wear shoes for hiking. Sandals for biking, at least that way I get air on my feet. And the sandals are biking sandals so safety always first!

        Happy Easter Mark to you and your dear wife from me and all of mine (I wonder if they know I call them blog heads???).



  12. I have a pair of Converses that look like they should have laces in them but they are not supposed to. They are my “throw on” shoes.

    I have ankle issues, so lace-up is probably best, but sometimes lazy just wins the battle.


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