How 'Damn Daniel' Helped Me Enjoy Wearing Sneakers Again
Over the years, I’ve come to realise that the longer I spend being into sneakers, the more irrational I become. For ages, I’ve been incapable of wearing the same pair of shoes two days in a row, resulting in a headache picking what to wear each morning. That was until this summer, when an internet meme from 2016 randomly came back into my consciousness, and somehow helped me overcome this mental hurdle.
The meme in question is ‘Damn Daniel’, a viral Twitter video narrated by high school student Josh Holz repeatedly saying ‘Daaaamn Daniel’ in increasingly dumb voices as he documents his classmate’s daily outfit. Pretty lowbrow stuff, but a pivotal moment arrives when Holz exclaims ‘back at it again with the white Vans’. This doesn’t require that much psychoanalysis, but it means Daniel wore the same shoes more than once – something I wasn’t yet capable of.
There was a strict uniform policy at the high school I attended – think blue button-up shirts, navy slacks, and, worst of all, black leather lace up shoes. The only reprieve I had was PE, where I could wear sneakers. Those 80 minutes every Tuesday during my formative adolescent years resulted in me yearning for self expression through my footwear, whereby I was able to wear something different each week. Naturally, I resented having to wear the same thing day in, day out; as soon as I left high school I revelled in having a proper sneaker rotation.
It’s been over a decade since then. Now with hundreds of pairs, choosing what to wear is a downright burden. Downsizing the collection has helped make the decision easier, as has buying general releases, but having too much choice is still the ultimate chore. All because I refused to wear the same pair two or more days in a row.
Back to Daniel. Over this past summer, I returned to my hometown to visit my parents. Coming home always brings back an intense feeling of nostalgia for simpler times. Some of that involved watching inane meme videos from yesteryear, which somehow had me tuning back into ‘Damn Daniel’. For some reason, this stupid Twitter video had me inspired to buy a pair.
It was a convenient premise for this story. I only had the shoes I flew in with, and they were not suited to the hot and humid conditions I returned to. Needing something fresh to get me by, I went down to the local shopping centre and picked up a pair of white Vans Authentics. That in itself was refreshing, simply being able to buy and wear something available in perpetuity.
The shoes magically suited every outfit and scenario I found myself in during that visit home. Ironically, they have became a uniform staple for me – something I had tried desperately to avoid all those years ago. I’ve now worn them for a few weeks on most days. It’s been so simple just throwing them on in the morning and heading out the door, without all of that cognitive load on my brain.
They’ve only just starting picking up some grime, plus a sweet oil stain from when I kicked my bicycle chain. With a bit of dust starting to stick to the soles and the canvas getting creamy, they’re starting to actually look like they’ve lived a life. Something that I sadly can’t say about the rest of my collection at the moment, but this experiment has me feeling less precious about beating up my other shoes.,
This specific model might not the panacea for all sneakerheads suffering footwear fatigue, but the moral of the story remains the same. Sometimes, simple is best and resetting the rotation to just one pair may just help with seeing shoes in a different light. Damn, Daniel was right for being back at it again with the white Vans.