Not one for Hype Beast drops, Mr Siphiwe Mpye – an aspirant minimalist – sings all the praises for the plain, versatile and high maintenance white takkie.
While I have consciously tried to shy away from excess and live with just what I deem to need, it would be pretentious to call myself a minimalist. There are still far too many areas of my life that need urgent decluttering, but I work on those actively.
One area I have been successful in, is the clothing department. With due humility, I have received private and public style plaudits (for all those receipts are worth) for years, while maintaining a minimal wardrobe of basics and accents that get rotated regularly. The simplicity extends to my feet and one of my staples is the plain white takkie (as a a kid who grew up in South Africa, I still feel strange using the strangely normative sneaker).
Bar excursions into plain black, brown or more colourful retro-styled kicks – a navy pair of Nike Cortez picked up on sale in London and treasured for years comes to mind – I have consistently deferred to the white takkie – an understated, comfortable and versatile style choice.
Worn with shorts, jeans, chinos or suit, a crisp white pair can compliment a casual outfit or tone down a more formal get up. With comfort being the order of the day, they can save your feet on a prolonged shopping day with trying to find an elusive light fitting for the spare room. The only drawback of these sartorial saviours is their high maintenance.
With comfort being the order of the day, they can save your feet on a prolonged shopping day with trying to find an elusive light fitting for the spare room.
Even under lockdown, I no longer have the time for the weekly takkie cleaning and shoe polishing of old, and have taken to a time consuming, but cathartic monthly mass attack on all shoes. Two weeks ago I went on one such hours long cleaning blitz and these two pairs – from Adidas and K Swiss respectively – that I have had and worn regularly for over 5 years, emerged reborn and ready to take their place in my summer rotation – and hopefully for a few more summers hence.
I am no sneaker head, the last time I had high tops that were not Chuck Taylors (yes, in white), it was a pair of Air Force 1s in my teens. I have never had Jordans or Yeezys or any Hype Beast favourites. When the pictured favourites die – which they are destined to, unfortunately – they will probably be replaced by similar pairs, such is my wild imagination.
I have been stalking a pair of white Common Projects Achilles Lows for years, but their price and all those YouTube videos about how uncomfortable they are, have prevented me from taking the plunge. We’ll see what happens, but for now, I will make do with what I have, as long as it is in white.