You tell yourself that they're tough to clean, and that nothing could ever be worth the effort of scrubbing them after every wear. You tell yourself that, despite the cotton candy softness of those soles, you'd feel as if you were walking on shards of glass all the time, because you'd have to keep dodging every drip of sauce, every splash of Metro Manila canal water, and every potential scuff. How often could you wear these, and where could you go in them without incurring unsavory stains and blemishes? There are just too many unfortunate scenarios that could befall an all-white Nike Epic React, you think, staring for a moment too long at the pair right in front of you at the store. The staff asks if you'd like to fit po, mamsir.
You hesitate first. But then, even as you've acknowledged all the challenges, all the risks, all the potential for disaster—you decide to try them on. Of course you do. Look at them. Once again, your baser sneakerhead instincts have taken over. Size ten point five, please.
They fit just right. The Flyknit upper is a little snug, but you tell yourself that it will eventually conform to your feet, as Flyknit does. You look down at the mirror and picture yourself wearing these shoes with tailored chino shorts. Clean. You picture yourself wearing them with cut-off denim. So clean. You picture yourself wearing them with lightweight wool trousers in a warm shade of gray, pleated and hemmed so they show just the right amount of sock. So, so very clean. It is useless to resist.
At the counter, you're charged PHP7,645 for them, plus however much that liquid sneaker cleaner costs. You tell yourself it isn't an impulse purchase, because...you've been wanting a pair of Epic Reacts since they first released last January, right? It's an investment, because these can double as your workout shoes...right? Plus, all-white sneakers are timeless, and you can wear these with so many outfits. You can dress them down, you can dress them up, and if you can keep them clean enough, you might even be able to get away with wearing them with a suit...right? Right.
At home, you take your new shoes out of their box. You find a corner and gauge the light so you can take a nice photo of them. For the 'gram, of course. A little bit of VSCO, a little bit of Snapseed, a trite pun for your caption, then it's good to go. Your photo racks up dozens of likes and customary fire emojis from your friends in the comments. Life is good.
When you first decide to wear your new all-whites out, it's to dinner with this girl you met a few weeks ago. She seemed nice, so you asked her out for coffee. You were wearing Chucks then, so it didn't matter that she accidentally spilled some of her tall Americano on your feet. "Clumsy me," she said. "This happens all the time." You told her it was alright, no problem. She told you that you were sweet, and that the guy she dated previously would throw a fit every time she spilled something on his precious sneakers. She then proceeded to talk about that guy for about an hour, before you interrupted to say that you needed to go, but that you'd love to grab dinner with her next week.
Next week is tonight, and she asks you to take her to this hole-in-the-wall Asian restaurant. You look down at your new shoes and your brows furrow. You think, for just a second, of recommending something else—pizza, maybe? But then you remember how cute she was that time at the cafe, when she struggled to rank all her favorite films; how and her eyes widened when she insisted that The Little Mermaid was better than Blade Runner. You agreed to disagree about that, but you didn't want to have to disagree about where you would go tonight. So you take her to that restaurant, and she orders the Hainanese chicken with extra soy sauce on the side. And that's when you knew it wasn't going to work out.
The Nike Epic React is available in the Philippines, at Nike Park stores and select Nike retailers for the full retail price of Php7,645.