“L.A. Gear? Really?”

The $25 L.A. Gears (left) and the $50 Nikes (right).
The $25 L.A. Gears (left) and the $50 Nikes (right).

So a couple of months ago my daughter needed new sneakers. He old pair had worn down, and her feet—as is the case with 10-year-old kids—were getting longer and longer. I came home one day to catch the wife and kid skimming through some online show shop, where the average kicks sold for $70.

“That’s crazy,” I said. “Seventy bucks for a child’s sneakers. No way.”

The daughter looked at me. Not happily.

The wife looked at me. Irked.

I was on a roll. “Marshall’s sells great sneakers,” I said. “Why don’t we go there? It’s a lot cheaper than $70.”

The wife was skeptical. “Marshall’s has great sneakers?” she said. “Really?”

“Yeah,” I said.

“Great?” she said.

“Yeah,” I said.

Two days later, intent on proving my point, I took the kids to the nearby Marshall’s. And, indeed, they had sneakers. Lots of sneakers. Not lots and lots—merely lots. And, eh, they were sorta, uh, not, mmm, so, eh, hot. No Nikes or Adidas to be found. Well, maybe a couple—from 1986. There was, however, one pair that Casey didn’t completely mind. They were neon pink and neon blue, and—best of all—only $25. “What do you think?” I asked her.

“They’re … OK,” she said.

“Great! Try them on!”

The sneakers fit perfectly. Casey agreed to buy them. I felt happy. I felt vindicated. If only, well, they weren’t L.A. Gears.

“L.A. Gear?” the wife said. “That company still exists?”

“L.A. Gear?” someone else said to me. “Really?”

“I think they’re coming back,” I said—lying. “I really do.”

Some suggested Casey would be mocked by classmates. To my surprise, she wasn’t. However, the sneakers suck. They started physically deteriorating after about three weeks, and now look floppy and aged. The material is separating, the binding is a tad weak.

Yesterday, I took Casey to Modell’s. I plunked down $50 on some Nikes, and felt surprisingly good in doing so.