EVERYDAY SUPERHEROES

In Charlie Jane Anders' award-winning novel, All The Birds In The Sky, Lawrence, a teenage technology savant, builds a time machine that only works in two-second increments. A wonder of modern civilization, sure, but also, at the same time... kind of not that useful? Such a device would have limited practical applications - you couldn't rob a bank or save an old lady from falling down her steps - but it gets you about halfway to being an everyday superhero. 

The ability to skip lines at the grocery store, the gift of immediately finding an open parking spot at a big box store, or the power to only make cash purchases that round to the nearest dollar - these are the hallmarks of everyday superheroes. But the most valuable everyday superpower, the one that was too rare to be featured on the NBC show Heroes? The ability to outrun, outmaneuver, or outright avoid people on the street with clipboards.

Clipboard people are the absolute worst. If you've been in a major metropolitan area for more than six hours since the Clinton administration, you know who these people are: the unfailingly upbeat, idealistic, youth of America who have somehow been convinced that the best way to favor curry for their cause of choice is to harass busy passersby with inescapable questions, like, "Do you hate gay people?" or "How are you going to tell your children once there were beautiful creatures called whales, but now they're all gone?" Every sane person's thought process when confronted with this madness is the same:

"Jesus, for god's sake, no, I don't hate gay people, and that's a conversation I'd very much like to avoid with my potential offspring. At the same time, the only reason I'm walking down this street right now is because I can't afford a private driver and I had to transverse Earth to get from Point A to Point B, so please just let me complete the mundanity my life requires in relative peace and quiet!"

When you do see someone who has stopped and engaged with a clipboard person, it's ok to feel a momentary pang of empathy for the clipboardee because the only type of person who is going to willingly give up his time to a stranger on the street is probably saying, "Well, I don't have any money today to fight for gender equality but do these dead birds that have run in to glass skyscrapers I've been collecting have any value to your organization?" Soliciting others to support worthy, underfunded causes is usually a trait to be admired; it's just almost impossible that the added value of standing on a freezing street corner yelling at commuters is higher than having people man phone banks or apply their workmanlike attitudes towards evaluating the effectiveness of past advertising campaigns.

If you're a city-dweller with a sixth sense for your surroundings, you know the intersections by heart at which you'll be forced to complete the clipboard gauntlet. And if you know your travel on a given day will take you through one of these time suck wormholes, you also know that the most important thing you can do before you leave the house is lace up a pair of shoes that are, like Benny "The Jet" Rodriguez's P.F. Flyers in The Sandlot, "guaranteed to make a kid run faster and jump higher" - and also spin, swim, or jog past a line of clipboard people on your way to the train. Visvim's Light Yellow Deer FBT won't make you invisible, but as you parry away requests for your time from all angles like an Olympic fencer, you might just achieve Everyday Superhero status.

 

Price:  $909

Brand:  Visvim

Store:  END. Clothing

Why: The best part about Visvim's leather FBT's is that they're so nontraditional you can wear them anywhere because, by throwing off  the general public with an initial reaction of confusion, you can convince them that the FBT is whatever it needs to be at that exact moment. Cases in point: at a stuffy restaurant you can highlight the fact that they're handmade from deer leather ("They're nicer than your host's pleather loafers"), or hanging out casually at a bar with friends you can boast about how comfortable the moccasin construction and Vibram outsole are. It's a steep price for shoes, to be sure, but the combination of a hand-stitched upper and outside the box styling - plus the unique yellow coloring of this pair, which hasn't been seen in years make these a risk work taking. Think about it this way: if something is never in style, it can never go out of style either. Boom.