A pair of shoes can determine whether you’re strutting down the street feeling like the whole world is on your side or wobbling down avenues trying hard not to fall on concrete. A good pair of shoes should make one feel comfortable, in fit and style; because with comfort comes confidence.

Many would go far to pick out the right pair of shoes, just so it could carry them far in their journeys, whether in an evening’s time or through a lifetime.

To my luck, I came upon a pair of blue canvas sneakers in Tokyo that was initially supposed to be an instant relief to my sore exhausted feet (and nothing more), but which grew on me over the years. It was in August of 2009; I had been traveling through Japan with my dear mother on thin flats and flip-flops which pained me for weeks. I had bugged her constantly during our time there to buy me a pair of shoes suitable for walking, and was finally granted attention to this need near the end of our trip there.

I came across this pair of seemingly plain, sky blue colored sneaker which looked a lot like a product of Keds. It was, however, handmade in Japan and sold locally within the area. To my surprise, this pair of shoes was equivalent to only one U.S. dollar! The item’s price tag made it a quick buy, but its quality made it a lasting companion. I soon discovered that it went well with much of my wardrobe, and its modest fit made it a staple to my travels. I have worn this pair of shoes from Tokyo to Toronto, Shanghai, Beijing, Taiwan, New York, Chicago, Boston, London, Nice, Prague, Phucket, Cancun, Belgium, and in many places of Scotland, Germany, Italy and Kenya. It was through these journeys, in particular the experience of stepping in flamingo feces in Kenya, that I realized my loyalty to these shoes. After stepping in luscious exotic dung, I did not follow the advice of others of simply throwing the shoes out, especially since it had little monetary value. Instead, I took it back and thoroughly cleaned it inside and out because I didn’t want to give up on it. I still clean it on a periodic basis.

Meaning, to me, is built through experience. This is an item that increased in significance through use/wear. These shoes may serve as clues to how my personality may be; when people see me wear this pair of shoes, their impression of me might be that I have an easygoing and laid back personality. This is accurate to the extent that at least for that day I wear it, I will come across as this (because experience may affect behavior). It is a simple pair of shoes commonly associated with leisure, and it reflects the simplicity in me and the life I want to lead. Not many people know what a bargain I got these shoes for but whenever the story is told, it is often with secret delight and pride. The value of these shoes lies in their use rather than what they were sold for; practicality wins in the long run.