Tuesday, April 01, 2014

LENT Photo #25 "Shoes"

  Shoes tell our stories, they have 'meaningful soles' with the imprint of our feet and the wear and tear of our stride. Shoes are our size, a style we choose for purpose, price or comfort. They can be used creatively to share our stories by taking them off, writing about some part of our story and placing that writing and the shoes together on the floor with others in a 'space'... then comes the invitation to explore the shoes and stories of others...
This is the stuff of my "Meaningful Soles" project [alongside trying to collect the stories of well known and well worn folks] you can see here
   They are also a symbol of a story of human suffering. There are stories of a lack of shoes in parts of the world causing the spread of preventable disease and things like Amnesty International reporting that asylum seekers in Nauru or on Manus Island could participate in some recreation, but for the lack of closed in shoes.
   This is why I and some people I know posted a pair of as new second hand shoes of our own to the Immigration Minister for passing on to those people here
   Perhaps the bigger drama is shoes that cost $200-500 for which the shoemakers/workers receive a subsistence wage, earnt in appalling conditions where sometimes sports stars are sponsored or receive the GDP of a small nation to appear in shoe adverts and create demand for the image the shoes projects... The problem is still there with no name shoes made the same way, where the profit stays with the large multi-national and isn't passed on to a celebrity.
   This is the dilemma with the current shoes I wear almost everyday... you see I have very flat feet and whether I am 98kg wringing wet or just under 150kgs there are times when if the 'wrong' shoes are worn consistently I develop planter facia inflamation, heel spurs or crippling pain... Nike Lunarglides have remedied the problem like New Balance 854s or Brooks Beasts before them. I have Accent black leather and Merrell hiking shoes and Brooks casual work shoes that suffice [all made in sweat shops as far as I know, some with better wage deals in place] but none of those come close to the lunarglide cushion matched with stability support that allow me to walk...
   So I wear a visible brand name associated with this problem, or I can scarcely walk at all!! At least it's not because I want people to see me in those shoes or because I think I too can slam dunk a basketball just by wearing them!!
   I at least try to get wear out of them until they are flat, slippery and worn out so they are not a luxury item. Over the years when other models and sporting equipment etc have necessitated the major brands I do write to them asking about their business practices and advocating for the factory workers. Nevertheless, those shoes are part of my story...

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