These were actually the first pair of Doc Martens I ever owned.
Considering how absolutely awful they were it’s a wonder that I would even consider buying another pair. Look, don’t get me wrong. I loved these shoes. I wore them whenever my RAW AND BLISTERED feet would let me. The shoes just took a tithe in blood in return for being the closest thing to office appropriate shoes I was willing, and able, to don.
This was, very probably, not the shoes fault really. I have EXTREMELY TENDER feet that blister at the least provocation (remind me sometime to tell you how that resulted in my discovery I’m allergic to surgical tape). I once walked around a museum in Washington DC in my bare feet because I had a blister that ran from the heel to the toe on both feet.
Seriously! I am a very delicate flower, you would not think it to look at me. I’m a clumsy galumph of a woman, but I have the skin and fragile constitution of a Victorian maiden with TB.
Back to these shoes! I got them when I was in Sixth Lower and despite the horrors they carried out on my feet I kept them through University and my first two jobs. I finally admitted defeat with them on a wet, winter night in Belfast. I had just finished work and gone to my car, only to discover that the ‘something sometime’ had finally given up hope entirely and entirely died on me. No driving for Tam!
So I had to walk all the way into town in the rain. It wasn’t that far from Queen’s University to Victoria Station, but it was fair enough as the rain soaked through my trousers and socks and my laptop bag (this was long ago! We didn’t even have a Starbucks in Belfast yet! Laptops were heavy!’ wore a hole in my shoulder.
Got the bus home. Walked home from the bus station (not FAR, but uphill the whole way). Finally got in, tossed my laptop in a corner, and limped upstairs to take a bath. Yes! This was a night so miserable that only an entire bath could soothe my grump. So there I am, bath full of Matey pirate bubbles and about ready to take my damp clothes off. I start with my shoes, which I think is a fair decision, and genuinely made what could only be described as a small shriek.
The shoes were FULL OF BLOOD. Like actually ‘pour out the blood into the sink’ full. I had managed to debride the skin off my heels, it was just raw flesh and translucent shreds of skin flaps. I had blisters on all my toes. The straps had cut the bony tops of my feet. Basically my feet were a mess!
(I hadn’t actually bled as much as it looked on first glance. I’d pretty much soaked the insole at the back, but most of the ’empty it out’ element was from the fact I’d gotten so wet and stepped in some dirty puddles.
Oddly enough the second time in that job that I poured blood out of my shoe, though!*
Anyhow, for as much as I loved those shoes I felt that had to be it. I had bled enough for them.
….I think I actually sold them to someone? Which is a testament to how much people love Doc Martens since these things were blood-stained to hell and back by this point.
*First time I’d work slip-ons for summer, someone had smashed some vodka bottles outside the office, and I somehow got a chunk of glass in my shoe. I was in a hurry to deliver something, thought it was just a bit of grit, and only realised when I got back to the office that I’d cut the bejeezus out of my sole. Now that was a mess.
I also cut the top off my big toe once when I jumped into a pool as a child and stood on a broken glass. I have a lot of bad foot luck now that I think about it.