The trainer market has never been more vibrant, and by vibrant I mean that I am buying pairs at ridiculous prices all the time. You can’t even buy the really popular ones from the shops any more. You either buy them from someone with the necessarily ludicrous commitment to get them for way above retail price, or you enter a raffle. I think we can agree that consumerism has gone too far when your prize for winning a competition is that you get to pay for some overpriced shoes.
Nevertheless, I am completely in, and flirting dangerously with becoming a “hypebeast” (somebody who is obsessed with getting the most talked-about, rarest trainers). Rather than admiring the hypebeast in her household, my wife has suggested that my age and appearance mean that I often look like a middle-aged man who has borrowed his teenage son’s shoes – but she’s just a hater.
I even ended up accidentally buying a couple of investment pieces. Two pairs of trainers that I bought over the past six months have quintupled in market price on reseller websites. This has left me with serious doubts as to whether I can in good conscience continue to wear them, as my other problem is I can’t wear shoes for more than 10 minutes without leaving them indelibly stained. I want to turn up on Antiques Roadshow in 20 years and tell the experts: “I bought these Supreme Dunks on a whim, but when I started seeing the price go up I decided to keep them in the box.” Then they would tell me that, thanks to my foresight and prudence, they were now worth £8m. Then I would go on to waste the money by trying to restart my failed TV career, which went awry when I got cancelled for making one too many jokes about Piers Morgan.
I realise that it is quite an addictive and expensive pastime, as well as being ethically unsound. Even aside from the lottery that is trying to find shoes that are cruelty- and exploitation-free, collecting anything at all is pretty irresponsible. With that in mind, I have decided to stop buying trainers. I’m done. I might buy a pair once every two years or something. Maybe. I mean, that is what I told my wife, and she replied that she gave it a month before I was unwrapping a pair of limited-edition Converse that go with nothing I own. I was so incensed that I told her if I did, I would cook her a three-course meal as a forfeit. She pointed out that the inevitable damage to the kitchen would make it a forfeit for both of us.
Reader, I nearly made it. I had stopped looking at shoes, and the guy I bought trainers from told me to get in touch when I might want something, as I had been saying no so much. It felt great. But just as I thought I was out of the game, it dragged me right back in.
Kanye West’s range of slides was restocked recently. I didn’t know this, because I had left the game, but then I got an email saying if I wanted to I could enter the raffle. Again, a raffle where the prize is: I would be able to spend a load of money. I couldn’t help myself. I entered my details and waited to find out the results. I wasn’t back in, I told myself, I was merely having a little dabble, a toe dip.
And then I won. Again, I say won; what I mean is, I was allowed to buy the slides that I had no intention of buying before I received the email. I was absolutely elated. They were dispatched straight away. The box arrived. I looked at the shoes. And then my wife told me she would like lentil cutlets to start.