Only In America . . . TM

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.


The Faux Shoe, a simple rubber pad that you attach directly to the sole of your foot, is fast becoming the national footwear of choice.

This simple device was invented by Cedric Smith of Palatoonia, Iowa, when the cost of keeping his twelve children in shoes became excessive.

"When children reach a certain age, they seem to outgrow their shoes every other week," Smith said. "And you can't go out and buy them just any old shoe off the rack--they have to have DESIGNER shoes. Do you realize that a single pair of those two-tone, perforated, day-glo, athlete-endorsed, pneumatic, musical tennis shoes costs more than a major car repair?"

And, as any parent of a school-age child knows, if you don't get them the exact shoes they want, they'll scream and yell and throw a tantrum and declare that their life will be over if they have to wear "those old things" even one more second. So, rather than create irreversible psychological damage, most parents give in and take out a second mortgage on the house so they can afford to buy their kids the latest fad in shoes. Some even manage to get them paid off before the next craze begins.

Enter the Faux Shoe.

According to Cedric Smith, you can put a set of his rubber soles on your children's feet as soon as they learn how to walk and you won't have to buy another pair until they wear through to the skin. If they do happen to come loose before they are completely worn out, a piece of used chewing gum will usually fix them right on the spot. You may have some problems getting mud, paint, or chewing gum off the bottoms of the kid's feet before they come in the house, but that's a small price to pay for the convenience.

However, Faux Shoes aren't just for kids--they've also invaded the adult world. Thousands of people have found that Faux Shoes meet all their footwear needs, since they are equally suitable for business, pleasure, lunch, bath, or tennis. They don't have to rummage through closets full of shoes, sandals, boots, high heels, low heels, no heels, and Earth Shoes any longer--they just glue a pair of Faux Shoes to the soles of their feet and know that they will be in style until the rubber wears out. Some early buyers did report problems with color coordination, but Faux Shoes now come with a dozen cans of spray paint and a supply of felt tip pens so you can match your feet to your outfit.

"I was really surprised when these things took off like they did," their inventor said. "After all, they aren't anything more than a couple of hunks of rubber glued to your feet."

That may be, but what was born of necessity on an Iowa farm is fast becoming a global fad. Since the marketing firm of Snell, Goodbody, and Fastbucks convinced Mr. Smith to go public with his shoes and give them a snappy name (the Smith family originally referred to them as "Funny Feet") the Faux Shoe has been exported to more than 100 countries.

Smith is planning to come out with a new product next month called Pet Pads--tiny rubber pads that can be glued to the feet of dogs, cats, and other pets to protect their feet from hot sand, broken glass, cockleburrs, and . . . ah . . . residue . . . left by other pets.

Copyright © 2002 Frank G. Van Atta. All rights reserved.