The most worn-out boots in all the land

Boots with a story…


It’s been solidly wet and muddy for the last week or so here in France – sometimes forget how the outside sounds without the rain. I have been even more grateful than usual for my twelve-year-old walking boots, bought back in 2003 before I went to  Brazil. They’ve been with me to Brazil, Mexico, Cuba, Scotland, Japan, Morocco and now in France. There aren’t many days I don’t wear them between September and May – they have become quite essential attire. At the time, they were an expensive purchase, but I reckon they have cost me less than a tenner a year. Now that is good value. And whilst they look a mess, they still do the job.

I can’t remember exactly, but the guy in the shop was trying to convince me to buy a different brand. I don’t know why I chose these in the end, but it was definitely the right choice.


That’s me in my new Brashers with my friend Nicole, having caught us a stash of piranha in the Pantanal. Well, she caught and I flung them around the boat on a line, terrified they’d eat me alive. I miss that hat I’m wearing. It was my favourite corduroy flowerpot hat and I have no idea where it went. Likewise that hoodie. The boots and the trousers I still have. II wish I knew where that little hat was – it was a real favourite.

I just wish I could remember everything I’ve done in these boots! They’ve been totally immersed in mud in Cuba, during a hurricane. They’ve been in the Amazon rainforest. They’ve been to the Japanese Alps. They’ve been to the Sahara. They climbed Chichen Itza and Ben Nevis. The past four years, they’ve not been out of the Charente department but that’s not to say they’ve not been well-used. Now they’re my dog-walking boots and have also been, as you can see from the left tongue, dog-chewing boots as well – a reminder from Heston in his early days when chewing was all the rage.

The laces need replacing. A couple of the metal hooks have broken off. The heels are rather worn. But in that time, they have never given me blisters and they’ve always kept my feet dry. No holes, no glue. In this day and age, that’s quite remarkable. Nothing seems to be built to last any more. Of all my things, they are a particular treasure. Who says you shouldn’t get attached to your stuff? Not very zen of me, I know. I love them though.

Those are my own hand-knitted socks, by the way. Hand-knitted socks are the future, I promise you. Forget wicking and modern textiles, wool socks just always seem to do the job. I’m about to start another pair, but a different pattern this time. I’ve got a hat to knit to match a scarf I’ve almost finished, then on to the socks.

I’m thinking something festive…



Mmmmm socks.


2 thoughts on “The most worn-out boots in all the land

  1. hell they are just broken in. i’ve never had much luck resoling boots. they just don’t seem to fit right. stiff and don’t break in well. usually the guts have rotted out, also.

    it looks like use a unsymmetrical lacing pattern. mine are all over the place to relieve hot spots.

    what brand are they, if you allow that.

    ice cream raz

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