Welcome to the first issue of Shoe News!, our semi-weekly look at the world of shoes in the news.
We’re kicking things off with a swing down to Tampa, Florida where four years ago, as a high school freshman, Ben Hedblom made a bet with Spanish teacher Adrian Antonini that he would wear the same pair of sneakers until he graduated. If he made it through getting his diploma in the same pair of kicks, the teacher would have to shave his head and eyebrows. If Ben broke down and worn new shoes, he’d had to shake his own head and ‘brows.
Graduation is fast approaching and so far Hedblom is on track for a win. His feet have busted out of the toes and he has to wrap plastic bags over the top to keep the rain out, but he’s still wearing them every day. His shoes flap with each step.
He has incorporated his experience into a senior class project that examines the psychology behind people’s social perceptions and has kept up the sneaker streak despite his teacher Mr. Antonini leaving the school. When told about the bet, Antonini said he didn’t remember making it but that it was something he could easily see himself doing.
I’d suggest giving Hedblom a free resole, but I think those shoes may be just a little too far gone even for the crafty resolers at Resole.com to save. I could be wrong, but at this point it looks like those things are being held together by love and optimism.
Kudos to Hedblom. He’s become something of a legend at his school, has a great topic for his college application essays, and he even got a mention on NPR’s Morning Edition. If he started a blog about the whole thing I have no doubt he could score free shoes for the rest of his life.
I wonder which new shoes he’ll wear first?
Photo: KERI WIGINTON/Times