Monday, 7 May 2018

My boots. The end of an era?

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.

These 2 pairs of boots have seen me at my worst, from pre-diagnosis right through my journey towards understanding my body and how to live well with it improved.

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. 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?


  1. Defenitly get new walking boots. Even slightly rough terrain can do a number on a weak ankle. Look for pairs that are on sale due to them being end of line to get the best quality for the price. As for decorative boots like your pink Doc Martins it's up to you but just because you don't need the support doesn't mean you shouldn't wear them if you like them and enjoy the style. also bear in mind the extra support may still help if you come a cropper on some stairs or a curb

  2. Prior to expressing my opinion, I ought to mention that I'm not in your situation as my disability has somewhat different consequences, but I'd definitely agree with the poster above. You may regret abandoning practicality and safety for 'following the crowd'. That might not be what you want to hear, but I don't think you can assume that your improvement will necessarily be linear without bad days or injuries. If you have nothing suitable when/if this happens, you'll probably regret your cecision. I also wonder whether this is something you genuinely want to do or whether societal pressures regarding how "femininity" is defined might be entering into your thought process. I apologise if you feel offended by this, but such pressures and expectations can influence even the most self-confident of people without them realising. Anyway, best wishes for your decision.

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  4. While I appreciate that people care, there seems to be some misunderstanding about this post, so I'll try to clarify things: For 10 years I have literally been restricted to one style of boot, by one brand, available in 2 or three colours each year, costing over £100 a pair. There are lots of factors that made these boots the only suitable ones I'd found (fastening type, foot shape, level of support needed, weight, type of sole etc). But none of these boots can be replaced with the same/similar ones as they wear out because they were all only available for a season or two. It is, therefore, really exciting and fun that when my favourite pair breaks, and another 3 of the remaining 4 pairs are getting very tatty, I am actually able to look for new footwear outside of this extremely limited range (which currently isn't stocking anything I like). Who knows what I will find that I like and also works for me practically for the scenarios I want to wear them in? I suddenly have a choice of footwear for random, everyday use far far beyond what I've had for years. This doesn't mean I have lost all common sense or individuality. Of course I won't be going out and buying shoes dangerous for my usage. Nor does it mean I'm throwing out all my boots that are still good to wear. It means that after 10 years of having almost no choice, I suddenly have the prospect of looking in a standard shop with a decent chance of finding something I like and which is practical and wearable and might well cost less than half of what my boots cost! This is marvelous. And in the light of this, if I find something that I love, that works for me, that also just happens to be uber-girly, cheap and fashionable, of course I'm buying it :D

  5. Apologies if you felt my comment was unwarranted or insulting; it certainly wasn't intended that way, but I can understand that's how it might have appeared. I'm not trying to make excuses but I'm currently struggling with anxiety and depression and, therefore I'm perhaps failing to explain myself as clearly as I should. What I should have done was to avoid commenting as I should have known that I would be liable to make an idiot of myself. I suppose I tend to be very practically-minded and am often either amused, or, depending on the circumstances, saddened, when I see people (of both sexes and, presumably, multiple gender identities) wearing utterly unsuitable clothes for the situation or weather conditions in which they find themselves.

    My recent history with my Brittle Bone Disease (Osteogenesis imperfecta) is that, unbeknownst to me, my bone mineral density had been dropping for some time, leading to a succession of fractures the other year. As a result, I'm all-too aware that our bodies can cause us problems unexpectedly and was concerned that you might end up without a back-up plan in terms of something you can use in bad weather or if you find that things aren't doing as well on a temporary basis. As a DM fan myself, I'd vaguely noticed that the type of boots you mention in your posts were no longer available. I realised this as my disability affects my stature, which means that, with thick winter socks, I often need to buy the smallest women's size of a unisex boot rather than a larger kid's size, which I prefer to do as kid's DMs nowadays aren't welted as they used to be, and unisex snowboots are often more appropriate for a man in his late '30s than the kid's version, presuming that there is a male-suitable colour scheme available.

    Anyway, what I'm trying to say is that I was concerned that you might find the newly-increases range of possibilities somewhat disorientating (not in a patronising way) and that, momentarily, planning for occasions when circumstances might be more limiting might have been forgotten.

  6. Hannah, tell me that you havent thrown away your hot pink boots yet! You can fix them with a blend of pink and red Sugru. See


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