I've always thought there was something cool about a used and abused pair of skate shoes, the shape moulded to the skaters foot by the miles on tarmac and griptape, the sole worn in a way as individual as the skater's style itself, each scratch, abrasion or hole in the upper telling a tale of triumph and defeat, tricks learnt, gaps made, shins & hips bruised.
When i started skating, skate shoes were all really expensive, i spent ages gazing at pairs of Van's and Airwalks in RAD magazine, dreaming of owning whichever pair was "in" this month and, just like we had to with skateboards themselves, we tried to eke every last session out them. I have very distinct memories of ripped up converse all stars with cardboard covering the hole in the sole over the ball of my foot, buying replacement soles to glue on from Woolworths (always way too slippy compared to Vans waffle sole!)and going through several tubes of shoe goo trying to rehabilitate wrecked pairs of Airwalks.
Back then a friend getting a new pair of skate shoes was as much an event as someone getting a new deck or the latest Powell video coming out. I remember a friend getting the first ever model of Etnies, back when they were based in France, seeing the first Van's Cab shoe for the first time, back then the first ever signature model shoe and something that seemed a weird idea at the time!
Skateboarding is very different now, it's everywhere, the brands are well known, the fashion is integrated with the mainstream, it's an accepted sport not the fringe activity it was for us, populated with the kids your mum would rather you didn't hang out with.
ps i know those shoes don't look properly griptape abused but I haven't been out for more than a cruise around for ages so they'll have to do like that!