I have owned many, many, MANY pairs of Doc Martens. So many. I’ve owned more pairs of boots than I have fingers, possibly even toes, and there’s that ritual of breaking in a new pair that is just so damned satisfying.
When I was 13, and Docs were a fairly new thing in Canada, I somehow convinced my parents that they fit the school uniform requirement of a pair of black leather “oxfords”. My school did not agree. I rocked up to homeroom in a pair of shiny new 3-eyes with the industrial soles, and was swiftly told if I wore them again I’d be suspended. I thought I was the coolest thing ever, with my bitchin’ reinforced steel toe shoes and that hefty chunk of a sole. My dad was less than impressed that he’s just dropped over a hundred dollars on a pair of school shoes I wasn’t allowed to wear. Sorry dad.
By the time I made it to high school, rules were a bit more lax and I somehow got away with wearing a pair of the now-iconic 6-eye boots for a whole semester before I was told to get some “appropriate” footwear. Back then, the more holes you had in your boots, the cooler you were; I remember my best friend telling me she had a crush on a boy in the tenth grade who was rumoured to have a pair of *gasp* 10-eye boots. I never did find out if he actually owned these mythical things, but it was enough for him to achieve some sort of god-like status amongst us lowly eight-graders with our measly ankle high baby boots. When I got my pair, I asked my BFF if they were meant to nip at my ankles like a thousand biting snakes, leaving a ring of scars even through thick wooly school socks. A week later they were the most comfortable things I’d ever wedged my size 6 feet into.
I have the blue suede Docs with the satin laces and the original Skelly with the glow-in-the-dark bones. I own a pair with an embroidered red rose, and also the red patent babies that seem to go with everything. I have boots with an all over floral print, I have boots in baby pink. I have every conceivable pair of limited edition Doc Marten shoes, and the beautiful thing is that because I was a big-footed teenager, I have remained a size 6 since I bought my very first pair. They looked great with the wispy slip dresses I wore in the 90s, and just as awesome with jeans or leggings. I’ve even paired them with the odd vintage dress.
Yesterday I found myself in the Doc Marten shop on Princes Street for the first time since I went vegan last year, and let’s be honest here, I was a bit worried. I’d heard that the company now makes a SFV range, but I had a sinking feeling this would just include the plain black versions. I don’t do plain.
When I first laid eyes on the navy blue 8-eye velvet brocade boot, I was in love. They reminded me of Victorian drapes and my youth as a goth. They felt like the velvety soft patch of fur under my dog’s chin. As soon as I tried them on, I knew I’d be bringing them home with me. My precious.
Don’t be boring, don’t go with the flow. Even if you’re vegan, there’s the perfect pair of boots out there for you. The best thing? I don’t even need to break these babies in.