I need a recommendation for athletic shoes. Years ago, when I moved to Laguna I started exercising in earnest, running along Coast Highway, up and down stairs and on the beach. My exercise regimen changes. It waxes and wanes as I get older, fatter and lazier, or healthier, more determined, whatever. But I have feet like a tree frog. I wear a size 12EEEE. The only firm I found that made tennies in such extreme widths was New Balance. They cost up to $160 a pair, but they were well-made, they looked good, and they fit great. I bought a pair each year for 20 years. My heart was a little broken last November though. I woke up to learn that Donald J. Trump was about to move into the oval office. Almost daily since, Trump has added shame and insult to that office, a pattern that continues.
Soon after the election, the New Balance corporation embraced the yeasty foot of Trump and the “alt-right.” As a Boston-based American shoe manufacturer, New Balance opposed the TPP. They said so publicly while our trade partners howled. Predictably, right wing fanatics ebulliently asserted their love for New Balance. Apparently, New Balance loves them, too. Even while resistors burned their New Balance shoes on Youtube, Trump supporters declared new fealty to the brand. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Forbes picked up the story, giving space to Daily Stormer bloggers like Andrew Anglin, “It’s time to get onboard with New Balance now. Their brave act has just made them the official brand of the Trump Revolution.” Apparently New Balance shoes are part of the uniform of the “alt-right.” I don’t use that term. I’m old school. I saw documentaries of the death camps. I call them Nazis. They’re the same Nazis who contrived “alt-left” recently, hoping it would induce people to forget about Nazis and start calling them “alt-right” instead.
New Balance PR has since stated that we have it all wrong. New Balance loves every living thing, they say. I can’t even. New Balance made a stupid mistake. That firm will never get another dollar. But I have a problem. I can’t burn my shoes as many other #resisters have done. That would leave me without shoes. I hear Nike makes EEEEs now. I’ll try them soon. But I won’t forget.
Jim Rue, Laguna Beach