Augustana’s next top model: Religion professor doubles as shoe connoisseur

As the second week of online classes comes to a close, you may find yourself missing your professors and the impeccable styles they sport. Never fear, as The Augustana Mirror is back with part two of Augustana’s Next Top Model.

This week’s fashion spotlight is Richard Bowman and the religion department.

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Religion professor Richard Bowman may not wear baseball cleats around the office, but he does wear shoes that resemble baseballs. Photo by Beau Bordewyk.

Richard Bowman, religion professor

Known for: Red shoes, baseball shoes and coordinating ties

If his mother would have had her way, Bowman would have taken over his grandfather’s shoe business. 

Bowman’s grandfather owned what is now Arthur Johnson Shoes here in Sioux Falls. He sold the store in the 1960s before Bowman had a chance to follow in his footsteps. Bowman, however, is relieved.

“I’m better off doing what I’m doing,” Bowman said. “I’m glad it didn’t work out that way; I’m very happy doing what I’m doing now.” 

This didn’t stop Bowman, though, from inheriting his grandfather’s love of shoes. He owns around 30 pairs of shoes — 10 of which are red. 

With such a collection, Bowman started wearing red shoes on Fridays simply to entertain himself, he said. However, others started to catch on and follow suit. 

Ann Pederson, another religion professor, said she started to wear red shoes on Fridays to “imitate” Bowman. She now has six pairs. 

The rest of the religion department then hopped on the bandwagon and often participates in “Red Shoe Friday.”

While Bowman (left) may have started the trend of “Red shoe Friday,” other religion faculty, like professor Ann Pederson (right), quickly took note and hopped on the train. Photo by Beau Bordewyk.

“It’s just silly,” Pederson said. “I don’t know why we do it except that it’s fun.”

Bowman said that, oftentimes, students will join in on the fun. 

“I had a student who went into parish ministry and for his ordination he wore red shoes, much to the chagrin of his mother,” Bowman said. “He still wears red shoes on Fridays.”

However, red shoes are not the ones that stick out the most in Bowman’s collection. He also owns three pairs of baseball shoes.

No, not cleats. Shoes that look like baseballs. 

For around 20 years, Bowman has taught a class on the history of baseball. This class procured him his first pair of baseball shoes.

“One of my students in the baseball class, probably 20 years ago now, said, ‘Dr. Bowman, I saw this advertisement for baseball shoes. You gotta get them!’” Bowman said. “I think it was something she’d seen online. I said, ‘oh you’re right, I do have to get them.’”

The shoes are tan, soft leather and have red baseball stitches on them.

 Bowman got his second pair 10 years ago as a birthday gift from his wife. These, he said, are white Allen Edmonds top siders that have the New York Yankees logo on the heel. 

Bowman’s third pair, a traditional white canvas tennis shoe with baseball stitching, came along a few years ago when he was looking through shoe advertisements.

But Bowman’s fashion trends don’t end there. 

“Bowman is the fashion point for the department as far as shoes go,” Pederson said. 

This includes wearing Keens in the fall, which he always matches to his ties. 

Bowman continues to step up his fashion game by continuously searching for new red shoes and new baseball shoes because as he says, “There’s no such thing as too many shoes.”

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