Is it me?

By Anita Jaynes on 6 August, 2021

Over the years, John Davies’ Is it me? has become a favourite of The Business Exchange for its wit and camaraderie. Last time out, John shared his disappointment in recent TV output. This time he’s talking about what’s on his feet…

Until very recently I thought I was alone. I knew I had a problem but I didn’t want to talk about it. It was my guilty secret. It involved hiding things, covert internet searches and undercover spending. I did my best to keep my problem from my family. I tried to intercept certain deliveries and squirrel away the contents on arrival. 

So what is it that I’m sharing with you? What is my problem, my little secret? 

The answer, believe it or not, is footwear. Particularly trainers. We’ve all got our vices and mine comes in the form of sneakers (or daps as I called them when I was young).

I’ve got clear memories of being 11 or 12 years old and taking my mum to the sports shop window to look at trainers over and over again. We eventually made a deal: I could have any trainers I wanted as long as I saved up for them. Birthday money. Christmas money. Money instead of Easter eggs. Money for chores. Pocket money. It all went into my little savings box which I would count at least once a day, tallying up how close I was to buying my next pair of trainers. 

There was no internet back then so when I was out shopping in Cardiff or Pontypridd I’d be looking in those windows and imagining a new pair winging their way back home to go under the bed with my growing collection. 

My group of friends were the same. We all loved our trainers and would boast about getting the latest pair of Nike Air Pegasus, (I had two pairs: one grey with a blue swish, the other with a maroon swish). I guess there was something cool about moving from generic shoes from Woolworths to a recognised brand. Was I really wearing the same shoes as John McEnroe or Daley Thompson?

Roll on almost 40 years and my addiction hasn’t been easy to break. I look at trainers online in the same way people look at houses or cars. And if it’s late at night when no one is looking the credit card will often make an appearance. I’m not brand biased – if I like the look of something it’s good enough for me. Those clever marketing people have brought back all those old shoes in their ‘classic’ ranges, pushing the nostalgia to the fore. Nike, adidas, New Balance, Onitsuka Tiger – I love them all.

Certain people in my family think I’m mad. They argue that trainers are tools, that they have a purpose and you only need a couple of pairs at most. They are very, very wrong.

One of my LinkedIn connections (you know who you are) recently posted a picture of his wall of trainers. Hundreds of them, blowing my little collection out of the water. It was an eye-opener because it made me realise that there are other folks out there of a certain age taking up storage space with Airs, 574s and Gazelles. It made me realise that perhaps I’m not as odd as my family think I am. 

I’m curious though: any other people out there with cupboards stuffed with shoes or am I part of a strange little community?

John Davies,
Senior Corporate Partner, Thrings

e: jdavies@thrings.com

t: 01793 412634