I've been a boot-wearer for well over 10 years now. For almost as long as I've been disabled.
My Doc Marten's (with zips) stabilise my ankles enough to help my ankle stability without restricting the joint. And they are comfortable.
But they are also beautiful. And I have a wardrobe full of clothes chosen to look good with my boots.
They've become part of my style. They get comments when I'm out and about taking the focus off my wheels and on to fashion.
Many of my boots are starting to look a bit tired - despite my polishing them sometimes. Yes, I genuinely, old-fashionedly, polish my boots.
Then, a few days ago, my hot pink boots died. The zip broke, and the patent leather is much cracked too. It's sad, but they'd had a good life. They even went to the House of Commons! But an era has ended. I will no longer be Hannah-of-the-pink-boots.
But I haven't only had Doc Martens (with zips - look, the zips are important to me, ok? It's like a skirt with pockets. Any boot related compliment is responded to with a variation of "And look, they have zips!")
I also had a great pair of walking boots - bought a year or two pre-disability. Sturdy, insulated, grippy. They made a huge difference to the stability of my walking when outside - meaning I could walk a short, assisted walk in snow. Trust me, that's an amazing feeling for someone as wobbly as me! And they kept my toes warm when off-road wheelchair-ing in the snow.
Another thing these walking boots did was protect my ankles and feet when I'm kneeling. I tend to do gardening sitting or kneeling on the ground. Usually sitting on the sides of my feet in some way. My walking boots meant that instead of squashing my feet and causing more ligament problems, I sat on the boot - and all was well.
Today my walking boots disintegrated.
I was doing my 'sit on side of boot' thing while removing some leaves from my patio when the sole peeled half off. Less than a minute later, the other sole did the same.
They are no more.
But here's the thing:
Due to all the exercises I've been doing, I think my ankles are actually slightly more stable now. Not hugely, but enough that when I'm sat with my feet unsupported my ankles don't subluxate as much. And so I can walk in actual shoes some days. Previously I'd have to wear my boots to drive to the location (for example) then walk (in my boots - with zips) from the front seat to the boot of my car, get my wheelchair out, get into my chair and then change into posh shoes/summer shoes/sandals - and hope that the accessible loo was well enough set out for me not to fall between it and my chair! Now I can just wear those shoes or sandals right from home, and it's rather nice.
So....is this the end of an era? I'll still use boots where I need to maximise standing capacity, and I suspect I'll need to buy new walking boots, but it's also tantalising to think that I can go out and buy cheap shoes and actually be able to wear them!
Who knows what footwear I might use in the future?