There is only one article of clothing that serves as the foundation for our body, mind and soles all at once. It grants us the power to walk toward goals, run from harm and dance with joy. It serves as a symbol of status, wealth or lack thereof. It can also reveal just how smooth or beaten our path really is.
They are collected by men and women alike. At times we are forced to wear certain pairs for certain occasions or occupations. At best we are free to choose when, where and how to wear the shoes we love most.
Fortunately, our complicated relationship with the wardrobe necessity has been documented by some of our favorite musicians across time. Crooners and rhymers from the 60s to 00s equate shoes to feelings of liberation, frustration, identity and more. Here are ten songs by artists whose fondness for shoes left a lasting impression on our music libraries.
His style may be unorthodox, but Jody Highroller aka Riff Raff is not worried about naysayers. "Tip Toe Wing" recounts the Houston native's climb to success thus far. Though he may not have industry accolades (yet), he does possess the best cars, jewels, women and shoes on the market.
The late Mac Miller shines on the laid-back track from his critically acclaimed debut "KIDS." Not quite at the level of recognition, he would eventually achieve, Miller revels in his newfound ability to upgrade his shoe game and indulge in cannabis with his crew - all thanks to selling underground mixtapes right out the trunk.
"Vans" triggered a pivotal change in hip-hop - from coveting high-end luxury designers and sportswear to embracing punk-rock and skate culture. The self-produced track by the Oakland, Calif. trio consisting of Lil B, Young L and Stunna had urban youth trading in their traditional sneakers for the Southern California surf staple at rapid speeds.
There is no better feeling than walking into a packed party with a fresh set of nails, hair, makeup and high-heeled shoes. However, the ladies of Crime Mob (Diamond, Princess, M.I.G., Cyco Black, Lil' Jay and Killa C) are quick to remind us that stepping to them is still a bad idea - pump or no pump.
An extension of the mood of Crime Mob's cut, but with a twist. Amy walks us through the possibilities of what happens when our shoes lead us down dark alleys and into shady dives. Sometimes our sartorial choices are a reflection of our self-esteem. Is fitting in really worth the discomfort?
Run DMC showed the world how important it is for an MC to have a creative bond with his DJ. They also taught us how to land a major contract. The mania surrounding the single led to the first endorsement deal between a musical act and an athletic company.
Vince Staples takes us to North Long Beach, where choosing a color means pledging allegiance to one side of a war without winners. On one hand he covets a particular pair of sneakers, on the other hand, that same shoe could be his death sentence.
Before social media apps, hashtags and 15 second Vine videos, there was The Liam Show. Liam Sullivan explored early millennial culture through Kelly, an angst-ridden, shopaholic, boy-crazy teen. "I'm going to get what I want," Kelly declares before the skit segues into a minimal techno ode to foot ornaments. Yes, she will.
Accompanied by a video that features what might possibly be the best go-go dancing ever, Nancy Sinatra lays down the law on a lying, cheating, loser whose made one empty promise too many. Not only does Sinatra stomp on his heart, but she also walks out the door, in a pair of fashionable boots of course.
See it. Want it. Buy it. Nelly, Kyjuan, Ali and Murphy Lee (who would later form the group St. Lunatics) are unapologetic about their desires for the freshest, most exclusive kicks. Buy them full price, choose from pure white to rare colorways, pair with a chain (or two) and a sweat suit to match. Today, Nike Air Force Ones are back bigger than ever and can be found on the feet of influencers across the globe. Now that's culture.