Sneakers have become a million dollar business. It is not just the big companies, such as Nike and Under Armour that are making money. Kids are making money by reselling their sneakers and even adding drawings and other items to sneakers to make them stand out in the crowd. I was recently introduced to Stock X, a sneaker website where you can buy or auction your sneakers. It is amazing when you realize that sneakers have separated themselves from shoes in the footwear industry. There are all types of people that wear sneakers, from the great-grandmother to the sports star. There are all kinds of sneakers for different needs, such as cross trainers, walking, sneakers that can track your steps and calories and Ecco. There are some sneakers that can cost a bundle of hundreds. That’s insane. Sneakers have seemed to replaced shoes for dressing up an outfit for occasions. People wear sneakers to weddings, funerals and anywhere else they might go. There is a certain comfort to sneakers that you just can’t get from shoes. Shoes, whatever happened to shoes? I think the most famous person was Imelda Marcos, who was the First Lady of the Philippines. When she fled her country, over a thousand pairs of shoes were allegedly found in her closet. That’s a lot of shoes! If you grew up in the 60s or 70s, you wore shoes to occasions such as Christmas, church and Easter. These shoes were usually patent leather. There were stores like Pay Less that sold shoes off a rack. Pay Less was very reasonable when you were poor. There were a lot of shoe stores that used the Pay Less model of sales to get people into the stores. It was less formal and more customer open. This model let people come in and get their shoes off a rack and try them on at their leisure. I think that’s when the realization arose that the shoe industry was in trouble. Sneakers were making their move slowly into being a force in the footwear industry. I grew up loving sneakers. When I was being shipped overseas to Germany in the late 70s, I took a suitcase with just sneakers in it. The airline consequently lost my suitcase and I was never to see those sneakers again. Now, there are all sorts of sports figures that endorse sneakers that sell for big money. There is a connection between a sports figure and his/her sneaker in that we, the customers, reason that by buying a certain sneaker we are all for that figure. Sneakers represent a style of cool relaxation. I’m a senior now, but I still love my sneakers; maybe not for the cool and relaxed effect, but just for comfort. I very seldom wear shoes now that I’m not working, but even to go to work I wore my sneakers and changed into shoes when I got to work. Shoes still serve a purpose, such as when you want to go on a date. There is something about sneakers that doesn’t seem right on a first date, but that too I feel is changing. It takes a lot of work to keep sneakers in pristine condition. When I washed my white Nike Air Max, I took the shoe laces out of the sneaker and put them in an old pillowcase. I washed them with borax and detergent and turned on the washing machine and hoped for the best. I was quite surprised at the end of the cycle, when I took them out of the pillowcase, they were white, like new white. My grandson told me to use an old toothbrush to clean them with, but I thought that was too much work. That’s when I decided to try the pillowcase method, and for me it worked. You can take away my shoes, but please leave my sneakers alone!