What happened to the tennis shoe
I used to wear in school
In simple, plain , white canvas
with soles so paper thin.
They’ve morphed into an industry
for different kinds of sport,
for biking, walking, trekking, cross training and hitch hiking.
For tennis, gymming, running
and simply just for wearing.
Non marking shoes for indoor courts
And sturdy ones for out door sports
They’re sneakers, trainers, high tops
and athletic foot wear too.
With uppers, inners, laces
in leather, fabrics, texures
that breathe and match your mood
In colours that are vibrant
no more just boring white
In styles and shapes and
make a statement
that finally you’ve arrived
Like the Shoe !
The tennis shoe as I knew it was a plain canvas lace up shoe with a rubber sole so thin that after two wears you could begin to feel the ground beneath your feet.
This shoe which was available at Bata shoe shops all over the country was the staple foot wear of all children athletic or otherwise. A few years later, this evolved into a shoe with a thin green line on the side and a slightly thicker sole . This meant that it was after six months or when the shoe tore ( whichever came earlier) before you felt the ground beneath your feet.
Keeping this shoe clean was quite a ritual. For those of us who were really particular, the shoe had to be scrubbed clean with soap and waer, semi dried before applying a thick white polish called Blanco. Applying the polish was an art in itself : a thicker layer meant that it would cake on drying which would flake on wearing. So it had to be applied just right.
For those who forgot to polish the shoes overnight, a quick fix was a wet white chalk hastily scrubbed on which would last for the five minute inspection in the Assembly line.
What a change it was then to find tennis shoes which looked nothing like its ancestor! Modern day shoes have solesas thick as 2 inches sometimes and in colours as lurid as can be. With high tops and air pumps and all weather soles and inners and uppers of different fabric and textures manufactured from high end to low end in all countries of he globe, gone are the days when one walked into a Bata and picked up a tennis shoe.