I recently turned 40…11 years ago. I’m now properly middle aged: I drink responsibly, to appreciate the taste and not to get blotto. Ten O’clock is the new midnight, Sunday night drama on BBC1 as opposed to Saturday night out at the movies. I eagerly look out for the next series of “Grand Designs” with Kevin Macleod. It’s the ultimate middle-age, middle class, middle England show. Macleod is who we, of a certain age, aspire to be; intelligent, educated, has taste and the confidence that comes from a life lived on a certain way. You just know you would enjoy finishing a decent bottle of red with him in a nice restaurant. He looks good too, always looking appropriate, yet slightly edgy for a man of his age. He was on last night, wandering round a very modernist house being built in rural Cornwall. Open necked shirt, casual jacket, slim-fit jeans..and navy blue and silver trainers with fluorescent orange laces. For once I thought, is this right for a fifty-something?
All my life, trainers have been the currency of street credibility. I remember proudly my mum getting me my first ever pair of trainers from Woolworths on the high street. Black with a white stripe and a white plastic sole. I had arrived. That is until the cool kids took the mickey out of them because they weren’t Adidas. And so began a ridiculous pursuit of the latest and coolest sporting footwear for the next twenty-odd years. Nike, Reebok, Hi-Tec, Asics, they all came along with ever more bouncy, lighter, brighter styles to keep you going back to Footlocker time and again. But as you hit thirty you really must give up the madness. Trainers are really great to wear; comfortable and they do make you walk faster, which is a good thing, but if you are going to wear them in middle age, you must stick to the old styles from Adidas, New Balance and Nike from the 70s and 80s. You won’t impress anyone by turning up in a pair of all weather mesh wheels with foam soles, air inserts and neon laces. Not even you, Kevin Macleod.