Thursday, March 14, 2013

My Collection: City Sneaks Canvas Sneakers

One of my ultimate quests is to find a terribly trashed and abused pair of Keds to add to my collection.  The thing is, pairs like that don't become available very often and when they do, the bidding spirals out of control faster than a drunk on an icy curve.  I had a few pairs in the past that I foolishly disposed of when I got rid of my previous collections, and I have a feeling I'll live to regret those decisions for a very long time.  However, this pair of black City Sneaks wasn't a bad find, and I certainly didn't pay for them as if they were actual Keds.

Keds were very popular in the late 80's and early 90's, although I'm sure they were popular way before I began paying attention when I was in junior high.  The fad seemed to lead to an endless number of companies selling Keds-style sneakers.  Some were obviously cheap knock-offs while others were very close to the real things.  An ex girlfriend of mine had a pair made by Hanes and asides from the iconic blue Keds rectangle having been replaced by a pink Hanes one, I'd have never known the difference.  These City Sneaks aren't Keds doppelgangers but they're close enough for me, especially in their condition.

Surprisingly, there isn't much to see inside, although the lack of visual candy is helped by an overabundance of canvas sneaker odor.  Some of you will surely know what I'm talking about, and those that don't will just have to find out for themselves because it can't be put into words.  The lining that covers the rigid plastic counters is usually ripped, torn and worn away on sneakers exhibiting this much trashing and abuse but is perfectly intact on both of these shoes.  At least the insole is faded and stained, almost to the point where it's difficult to read the City Sneaks name in small, lowercase font.

Fortunately, a little treasure-hunting reveals a hidden gem.  By lifting up the loose insole of the right sneaker, a hole on the outsole is revealed (yes, I could have shown you photographs of the bottoms of the City Sneaks instead, but how would that have been any fun?)  As is almost always the case, the right shoe is a lot more worn than the left, which has outsoles worn dangerously thin but without any holes.

The canvas uppers display every kind of wear you could ever hope to find.  The black material is faded and stained and, on the right sneaker, is ripped where the foot flexes.  Right now the lining is hanging on just enough to keep this from being a full-fledged hole, but I'm sure another few weeks of hard use would cause it to give way.

The eyelets for the laces on the left shoe are just beginning to separate from the canvas uppers...

...but they'll have to speed things up if they want to catch the ones on the right shoe because a few are completely gone.  In fact, they appear to have been gone a while since they're nowhere to be found.  The laces definitely aren't original so the loose eyelets likely got tossed along with the original laces, and new ones were put on using the now-naked holes.

The bottoms of the shoes show City Sneaks' most obvious departure from Keds convention.  Instead of a gum rubber outsole, these sneakers have ones with a few shallow grooves and appear to have been covered in a fuzzy material that's barely visible only near the centers where the least amount of the wearer's weight was pounding them into the ground.

The hole on the heel area of the right shoe is the result of them being worn so much that the once-robust outsoles were worn paper-thin.  These sneakers weren't far away from being worn to the point where they would have been completely useless.  In fact, I'm not sure how the wearer got by with using them in this condition.  A hole this large would surely make it impossible to wear these in any kind of wet weather so either they were planned to be used only on dry days or it didn't matter if the wearer's feet got an accidental bath.

Even the fronts of the outsoles are starting to grow small holes, as this area has been worn paper-thin as well.  Women seem to be reckless with these kinds of canvas shoes, which is a blessing and a curse.  Trashed and abused examples are wonderful to have, but women don't often give up sneakers like these and when they do, they're usually under the impression they're so far gone that the only place for them is the trash.  If they only knew what guys like me would pay to get them.  Ladies, are you listening?

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