Endowed in perpetuity by the Glenna Luschei Fund for Excellence

In Your Shoes

In Your Shoes

By Edward Echwalu Soyinka

  • What if shoes felt what we felt - 1
  • What if shoes felt what we felt - 3
  • What if shoes felt what we felt - 4
  • What if shoes felt what we felt - 5
  • What if shoes felt what we felt - 6
  • What if shoes felt what we felt - 7
  • What if shoes felt what we felt - 8

I am tired. I am really tired. Look at me. It's 11:00pm on a Saturday night.  I ran, I walked. I sweated my pores out. My face was so dry that I could feel grainy crystals of dry sweat on my forehead.

My shoe, for most of the day, was loyal. It never complained like my body, my breath, my feet, and my back did.

When my mind reached its limits, when I called it a day, when I was so fatigued that I could hardly think, my shoe went an extra mile to ensure I reached home, took a cold glass of water, and finally stretched my legs.

I flopped onto my couch, and a rush of calm overcame me. I unlaced and threw my shoes by the front door.

After a few minutes of rest, I took a glance at my shoes. The right side of one was pointed upward, facing the exit, like it was ready for another journey. The left side was upside down, looking just as exhausted as I was.

Then my mind was suddenly lit up with so many vague questions for my shoe. Are you tired as well? Did you feel the pressure I felt for the most part of today? Were you scared of blowing today's deal? Do you have feelings? Do you fall in love?

I did not get the answers I needed. In fact, I thought that it was just the fatigue compelling me to ask these questions.  What if I got the answers? What would my relationship with shoes be like? Perhaps, an apology would have been the first word out of my mouth for the thoughtless treatment I'd offered my numerous pairs of shoes.

I realized I wanted to be closer to my shoes, to treat my shoes with respect.

I took up this project well aware that documenting shoes to the point of them breathing, to the point of them feeling, was going to be anything but an unbelievably exciting investment of my energy and creative thought. 

Shoes are important to humans. When was the last time you walked on foot by choice and never felt a shade of a missing link? There is this inseparable connection humans have with shoes that takes them even to the grave.

Having realized that most of my thirty-year relationship with my shoes has been, at best, abusive, I wanted to journey through some of those incidences, through my own personal reflection but also through the general human experience.

What if shoes felt what we felt?


Edward Echwalu Soyinka

Edward Echwalu Soyinka has been working in the media as a photojournalist, writer, and blogger for nearly a decade. In that time, he has documented and lived through the lives of both the delighted and the saddest. He has had presidents smile back at him but has also inhaled toxic teargas. While his work is versatile enough to cover a range of news genres, social issues have been closer to his heart—perhaps a reason he was twice nominated for the CNN African Journalist of the Year Awards 2012 and 2013- Photographic Award. He currently works with Thomson Reuters.

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