Have you heard about the collaboration between Nintendo and shoes manufacturer Vans? Nintendo has licensed their 8-bit artwork and themes to Vans to inspire a new line of shoes, backpacks, and vomiting women.
|I hope the plumber goes into that warp pipe!|
...Okay, I edited the vomit in. But I don't know why Vans had that original image at all. (It's not there anymore, but it WAS a placeholder. Notice she's wearing the shoes.)
These shoes are massively overpriced, by the way. They don't even look all that good. But many people seem to love them. They were selling quite a tad, and I hear all sorts of people talking about how they want them. Weird, right? Now even athletes are wearing Nintendo-themed cleats on the field.
So, why shoes? Well, it turns out that footwear has a long history with Nintendo, and shoes are actually integral to their games. I'll go over examples how, and then my thoughts about...shoes. Yup. At the end.
Shoes for Style — Splatoon and Animal Crossing
I believe shoes for style is what the Vans customers are going for. Of course, you don't look stylish wearing a Mario face on your feet — or your New Nintendo 3DS, for that matter. You look like a nerd at best, and a terrible, ugly person on average. (Both on the outside AND the inside.) I don't quite understand why people use shoes as a prominent expression of themselves. Don't you want people to look at you eye-to-eye? Why are they looking down at your boots?
|My boots are only a small part of my overall fascist dictator look in the Animal Crossing: New Leaf town of KoopaTV.|
Still, games with customisable outfits pay close attention to footwear as a way of expression, though I believe this is to emulate people's existing preferences, rather than create new attention to shoes that didn't exist before. Animal Crossing: New Leaf has an entire store, Kicks, dedicated to shoes. The 3DS is so low-res that you can't even make out my Hero's Boots in the screenshot above, yet there they are.
|Crusty Sean sliding in. By the way, I'm still supporting Team Callie.|
A similarly-named store, Shrimp Kicks, also exists in Splatoon. These shoes are a lot more distinctive than the ones in Animal Crossing, coming in all sorts of colourful shapes, sizes, and designs. The shoes in Splatoon do have some function beyond just looking good — each shoe has a primary ability (in the case of the Moto Boots I'm wearing, Quick Respawn) and up to three secondary abilities. However, the ability the shoe provides has no relation to the actual shoe itself. You can't look at a shoe and know by its design that it provides Run Speed Up, or Bomb Sniffer.
Whether an Inkling focuses on fashion or some degree of function is up to that Inkling, but due to the lack of relationship between fashion and function for Splatoon shoes, I'm putting them as a stylistic choice more than anything.
Shoes for Function — The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess
The Legend of Zelda is a series famous for having shoes play a large role! Whether they're Zora Flippers allowing Link to swim, Hover Boots allowing Link to float over gaps ('cause he sucks at jumping), or Pegasus Boots allowing him to dash super-fast, Link uses footwear for functional purposes. The footwear itself all have unique designs that communicate their function to Link and anyone else, which is good, because when he gets them from a dusty treasure chest they don't come with an instruction manual.
|I'm not so fond of these boots being used so Link can cheat against Gorons in wrestling, instead of him working hard and working out.|
And, in the case of the Iron Boots, Link has worn these rather unwieldy things to step on really sturdy switches or withstand heavy winds. He has also used them to cheat in Goron wrestling matches because he's too impatient to pump iron. He'd rather just expedite the process and wear it! It's to save the kingdom, he claims. Well, he never went back after the kingdom was saved and to have a fair wrestling match with those Gorons!
Still, Link has mostly used his boots for legitimate puzzle-solving functionality. That is, unlike the last category of footwear and my example for it...
Shoes for Evil — Mario & Luigi: Paper Jam
...The last prominent usage of shoes in Nintendo games are for VIOLENT ACTIVITY. I have experience with this usage on a personal level... as a victim!
I'm talking about those jerk Mario Brothers! They're always jumping on people! With their boots!
|Mario's boots are an accomplice to him playing the Knockout Game.|
Sometimes, Mario has his own pair of iron boots: The Iron Jump! Using these, he can jump on even spiky enemies, such as myself when I'm trying to hide for dear life inside my cozy, spiky shell. Unlike Link, Mario will never find a constructive purpose for any of his shoes. It's exclusively to destroy other people. Tens of thousands have perished from Mario's leather-covered feet, including the poor cows at his segregated, oppressive Moo Moo Meadows horror show.
Toads open stores around the Mushroom Kingdom just to sell this weaponry to Mario. Who else is buying this stuff? Other Toads? The shoes are a snug fit for Mario's feet, and his feet only! ...Oh, and sometimes Luigi's. It's a sickening industry, and it's even more sickening that all of these establishments are able to even stay in business. Does Mario buy that many boots? Are they subsidised by Princess Peach herself? This is pretty much a bigger scandal than Nintendo using conflict minerals.
The Best Footwear is No Footwear
I'm barefoot. Not all Koopas go this route — Kamek wears shoes, as do most Koopa Troopas. Even Dry Bones wear them. Wendy O. Koopa wears heels, and Rawk Hawk also wears shoes. I'm not really sure how to describe Vortexica, but his feet seem shoe-like.
I'm therefore the only KoopaTV staff member to not wear shoes. Sure, I play some videogames where my characters wear shoes, but I personally do not. I'm proud of this distinction, and would like others to join with me. The downsides for shoes CLEARLY outweigh the positives, at least in my world and likely yours as well, so we should just do away with footwear as a whole. Be especially weary of “socially-responsible” footwear organisations such as TOMS Shoes, which donate a pair of shoes to some needy country for every pair someone actually purchases. It's a front for widespread footwear proliferation!
Stop these weapons of mass stompstruction!
This is the footer for this article on footwear. Notice how there is no shoe around this text. Shoes are for scrubs! Ludwig is clearly against shoes, and would like to know your experiences with shoes... in general... and particularly negative experiences.
This isn't the only thing that Nintendo has done lately to appeal to nostalgia. How about re-releasing the NES?
Rawk believes that Ludwig's anti-foot stance is very Miyamoto-like, and therefore bad, with the slippery slope being a loss of feet entirely.