Sneakers: Listeners' Stories Laced With Love People are passionate about their sneakers, running shoes, tennis shoes — whatever you want to call them. NPR asked listeners to share their favorite sneaker stories and photographs of their shoes — and the stories span miles and decades.
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Sneakers: Listeners' Stories Laced With Love

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Sneakers: Listeners' Stories Laced With Love

Sneakers: Listeners' Stories Laced With Love

Sneakers: Listeners' Stories Laced With Love

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/113434640/113451591" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
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Last week, All Things Considered reported about the 60-year-old feud between sporting giants Adidas and Puma being put on hold for a day for a soccer match to celebrate International Peace Day.

Adidas and Puma make some of the most iconic shoes. And people are passionate about their sneakers, running shoes, tennis shoes — whatever you want to call them. So, NPR asked listeners to share their favorite sneaker stories and photographs of their shoes.

Rick Gardner of Houston submitted the following story about sneakers and "the Law." (See the gallery above for more shoe tales.)

"I am a professional photographer. In 1979, I was hired to photograph 12 pairs of athletic shoes. The shoes were salesman samples and had the colors and logos of 12 different universities. When I finished and called to deliver the pictures, the client told me his deal had fallen through, but he would pick up the shoes and pay me. [He never did.]

"Several years, several moves of my studio and many calls later, I finally decided to throw the 12 boxes of shoes away. But I discovered I could wear the shoes if, as I told my wife, I kept my toenails clipped. I gave away several pairs and continued to wear the others (as I remember: Rice, Texas, Texas A&M, University of Houston, LSU, Arkansas, Georgia, Penn State, UCLA, USC).

"Sometime later, I was 'selected' to sit on a jury for a murder trial. The trial dragged on for seven days of tedium, objections and deliberations. Each day I wore a different pair of shoes.

"The day after the trial ended, the prosecutor called. We discussed my opinion of the evidence, the presentation and the reactions of the jury. At last he said he had noticed I wore a Rice University ring but had shoes from many different schools, which he accurately listed. He asked if I had really attended all those universities. I told him the story and he sounded relieved. The next day, the defense attorney called and asked the same thing, again listing all the schools.

"Those lawyers are paying attention.

"We found the defendant guilty, and in 2009 I still have one pair of shoes [Penn State, in the gallery above]."