Our possessions, over time, tell others our story. And my 993’s are no exception. Founded from the 99X series running shoe, the New Balance 993 developed a cult following amongst fraternity men during my college years. But I was originally unimpressed by the shoes geriatric appearance. Raised to worship the colorful, sleek, and uncomfortable foreground brands, the thick grey shoe was unappealing. But I eventually gave way to the trend, bought a pair, and became enamoured with its simple charms.
Today, it would be hard for eyes other than my own to see anything redeemable past their now scraggly condition. After nearly eight years since walking them out of the store, the once clean grey shoe is no more. The top of the heel, which rests against my achilles, is ripped, with foam material peaking out. An unfortunate wound sustained from the hazards of raising a puppy. The laces are still original, but are stained and frayed from a cocktail of car wash chemicals and booze. Everywhere else on the shoe seems to be discolored from years of exposure to the elements. The Texas sun in August is all but forgiving when hand picking a driving range.
It is, however, in my mind certain that another shoe would be unable to withstand the abuse I asked my 993’s to endure. I source this statement to the thousands of hands responsible for making these shoes here in the United States. The quality of work that New Balance puts into their shoes is evident. And while these days I might be obsessed with how art is hand printed on a pocket square, or discovering a new world pinot noir that rivals its French counterpart, the 993 stands as my maiden voyage of quality craftsmanship.
As I’ve grown older, the demand for loafers and oxfords have outgrown the demand of my 993’s. They sit in the garage on a shelf, semi-retired–deemed too uncivilized for the indoors by the future Mrs.– relegated to mostly yard work. But when they happen to catch my eye, they speak. They tell my story. Serving as a reminder of where I’ve been, what I’ve done, and the people along the way.