Buckling Down.

I have a specific brand and model of shoe that fits me really well. Certain variants of this particular model within a certain range of model years fit me best. I periodically scan eBay and the interwebs for this shoe, and buy any new old stock or lightly used that I can find. When something works, I generally stick with it.
Eventually shoes wear out. Too many rides in the rain. Too many crashes. Too much walking across parking lots or down roads when mechanical issues leave it as the only viable option. Repeated stresses to all of the bits and parts that make them shoes in the first place.
I have a few grades of shoes. The really shiny ones are designated as my race-day shoes. Their cleats are new and they're stored in luxurious bags until I need them to ride in circles really slowly until the randomly-selected finish line, at which point I stand around in them and make excuses for not riding around in circles faster. 

After a few scuffs, a few too many rainy races, or the taint of too many shattered dreams lingering about their buckles, they are downgraded to training shoes. Since failure is my middle name, most of my shoes fit in this category. To fail at my high level of competence, you have to train, and you need designated shoes to fail in. They're still probably newer and shinier than most people's cycling shoes, probably because most people don't have multiple grades of road cycling shoes. 
The bottom rung, right before they are turned over to the local Hazardous Waste Department for incineration, is the lowly trainer shoe. Most of the shoes in this category are not the prettiest things. The carbon fiber (because, performance) soles are delaminating. The Velcro is starting to fray. The stitching is slowly rotting. Each and every component is a hair's-breadth away from a spectacular failure, but it's going to happen in my garage so the collateral damage will be mitigated somewhat.
My current pair of trainer shoes have a lot of miles on them. Recently the springs on the buckles finally rusted away, leaving the ratchet (and I do mean ratchet) levers to flop up and down with every pedal stroke. Flap-click flap-click flap-click... It got old really quickly, so I procured a replacement set from a local bike store. Felt kinda weird to put shiny new buckles on such a grotesque pile of synthetic garbage, but I guess I can swap them onto the next set of trainer shoes when these finally evaporate off of my feet.
After all, I have training to do.


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