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Really, it's a mid-life crisis.

Coffee Cowgirl
For some people, it will always be Doc Marten's. For others, it's Converse hi-tops. I'm referring, of course, to the iconic footgear of one's rock-n-roll, live-fast, heart-on-your-sleeve youth. (Some of you are in the midst of it right now. If so, shield your eyes, move along, nothing to see, old people are so embarrassing.)

My equivalent kicks were a pair of canvas lace-up boots I found in the Sportsman's Guide catalog. SG called them "Israeli Commando Boots." They only sold them in men's sizes, but the laces made up for some of the extra width. I figured if they were good enough for Entebbe, they were good enough for First Avenue. I wore out two pairs.

And then they were gone. SG didn't have them. The ecological shoe-niche they'd occupied in catalogs and stores was now filled with paramilitary leather hiking boots. I mourned and moved on, but I never stopped longing for my boots/youth.

Then last fall I saw a woman in line at the bank...wearing them. They were made by Palladium, she told me (while she tried to hide her conviction that I was a middle-aged weirdo who was about to hit her up for beer money); if I Googled, I could find them on line.

In black canvas. In women's sizes.

The boots I'd loved and danced in were knock-offs of a boot that had been made for years by a company I'd never heard of and didn't know to search for. I could buy my youth back.

I waited for a sale (the real things were considerably more expensive than my old knock-offs). I made my move. While I waited, the doubts arrived: they wouldn't fit. They would be uncomfortable. They wouldn't be the wonderful gothpunkstompygrrrl boots I remembered.

Yesterday this box arrived:

Two of these were inside:

They're even better than I remembered. Maybe it's time I pinned my heart back on my sleeve.


( 47 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 20th, 2013 04:09 pm (UTC)
We wear the same shoe size!

I love Palladium boots. I have a pair of their garden boots. Which I've practically worn out.
Apr. 20th, 2013 05:00 pm (UTC)
Identification truly! My husband and I long for the original Banana Republic clothing. Unless you experienced the magic of the original can you explain it to youth...
Apr. 20th, 2013 05:08 pm (UTC)
Ah, yes--the real Banana Republic. When the catalog came, you'd sit down with a cup of coffee and spend an hour enjoying the writing and the art. Then you could order something made with lots of generous pockets and double-stitched seams, sturdy and versatile and designed for a month lived out of a suitcase. We may never see its like again...
Apr. 21st, 2013 01:29 am (UTC)
kaustin is still surprisingly bitter about the demise of the old Banana Republic, I gather it was one of the few stores out there that he liked (well, at least of those that carry men's clothing).
Apr. 20th, 2013 05:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, the original Banana Republic, when they had surplus plus stuff they'd had made--and Jeeps in the store! I LOVED them!
Apr. 21st, 2013 02:35 pm (UTC)
YES. Banana Republic used to be an amazing thing. I used to read their catalogues word for word.
Apr. 20th, 2013 05:17 pm (UTC)
===oh wow...must see about obtaining some, as those look far more breathable than my army boots about the farm...
Apr. 20th, 2013 05:59 pm (UTC)
Those look awesome, and now I want some too.
Apr. 20th, 2013 06:23 pm (UTC)
go and order more on the next sale...
Apr. 20th, 2013 06:28 pm (UTC)
Hooray for boots!
Apr. 20th, 2013 06:31 pm (UTC)
Emma! I remember your knockoff boots! Wow!

There go my exclamation points for the week.

Apr. 20th, 2013 07:59 pm (UTC)
You only get three a week? Oh, wait, that's just what was left. I hope. Well, don't worry--tomorrow you can start over!
Apr. 20th, 2013 06:52 pm (UTC)
Those are wonderful.

I still have the Capezio lace-up dance shoes that I bought ::mumblemumble:: years ago. I rarely wear them because they provide no support at all for normal walking, but I still love them.
Apr. 20th, 2013 07:24 pm (UTC)
I may need a pair of those. They are aweeesome.

Edited at 2013-04-20 07:24 pm (UTC)
Apr. 20th, 2013 07:37 pm (UTC)
You have the best midlife crises. :)
Apr. 20th, 2013 08:02 pm (UTC)
For me, it was Earth Shoes, like walking around with pumpkin feet. 1978. When they went out of business, my feet were in various stages of pain until I got my current style of orthopedic stompers along with a pair of UCB inserts.
Apr. 21st, 2013 12:18 am (UTC)
Earth Shoes were revived comparatively recently. I remember finding a Web site where they offered, to order, all the shoes that they had ever sold. If only I'd had the money, I'd have bought my favorite sandals ever, which died in IIRC 1980.

Alas, now I can only find Kalso Earth Shoes, which seem to claim ownership of the whole history without the historic offerings. (Yeah, not too surprised that the recession killed off that niche.)

Favorite shoes rock -- especially when they can be worn again! All our feet should be so lucky.
Apr. 20th, 2013 08:06 pm (UTC)
I love me my Docs! But you knew that. *vbg*

And your boots are awesome. Congratulations on the find!
Apr. 20th, 2013 08:24 pm (UTC)
Apr. 20th, 2013 08:54 pm (UTC)
For me it was Minnetonka moccasins, the kind with the thunderbird in beadwork. Now, you are probably almost old enough to grasp how totally uncool this was in the mid to late 1960s; younger folks will just have to take my word for it. But they were what I loved and what I wore for years. I haven't had a pair for a long time, but there's no reason I couldn't get some now, is there? (Of course, in Minnesota one can wear them out of the house for only a few months a year. Maybe that's why I stopped buying them?--I moved to Minnesota.)
Apr. 20th, 2013 09:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes, I had a pair, beadwork and all, in elementary school from a family vacation in the Wisconsin Dells. By the time I got to high school, the beaded mocs were out...but Minnetonka Moccasins thrived, because we all switched to the fringed suede ankle boots. *g*
Apr. 20th, 2013 10:23 pm (UTC)
Those were still in when I was in Junior High. Of course, there was a factory outlet at Exit 1 in Brattleboro, so maybe that's not surprising... :)
Apr. 21st, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
Pretty sure I wore black fringed suede ankle boots from Minnetonka Moccasins to some of my first Minicons and trips to Renfest back in the day.

I ogled these boots Emma now has when she first put them on her wishlist at Amazon and I confess I was watching their price drop with interest myself. Since I also take size 9 (or sometimes 8.5), I'm glad I didn't swoop in and inadvertently snatch the last pair (or last pair in the right size at the discount). Mighty fine boots & I'm so glad they worked out.

I had some nifty black suede boots, I don't recall what brand, that had a silver metal piece on them much like the canvas flap with buckles on these. Wore them 'til I had to have them re-soled and heeled. Not sure where they are now, I think I wore them out again, but I can't imagine I got rid of them-- maybe I'll find them one day and revive them again.
Apr. 21st, 2013 01:01 am (UTC)
Oh, man, I feel kinda guilty now! But they do still have them in 9 at the Palladium website, also on sale.
Apr. 21st, 2013 01:25 am (UTC)
Nah, don't feel guilty! I decided I need to wear the boots I have first (or get rid of 'em if I'm not gonna actually wear them). I'm surprised that I've now accumulated as many shoes and pairs of boots as I have given I've never thought of myself as a shoe gal, tending to just wear the heck out of a pair or two. But there are Docs and Birkenstocks and Ariats and Converse All-Stars here now (my younger self would be So Very Impressed).

I think they had these on 6pm on sale too for a while (after they were on Zappos, maybe). Good To Know in case I change my mind or in case others are on the hunt. Amazon still has our size in stock on some other nice looking boots from Palladium too.
Apr. 20th, 2013 10:15 pm (UTC)
My grandmother lived in those during the 1970's. Those and calf length snap front flowered "muu muu" housedresses. They might be uncool, but I have to grant they ARE comfortable.
Apr. 21st, 2013 12:19 am (UTC)
You can still buy Minnetonka mocs in Madison; surely you can buy them up by you!
Apr. 21st, 2013 12:58 am (UTC)
Every year they have a big booth in the Coliseum at the MN State Fair. *g*
Apr. 20th, 2013 09:46 pm (UTC)
Noooo! They do not come in size 11! BRB, must throw myself upon the ground and beat my fists, because those are really awesome, goddamn.
Apr. 20th, 2013 10:22 pm (UTC)
Those are the awesome!
I will have to see if Andrea wants a pair. Congratulations on being reunited with your long-lost footwear!
Apr. 23rd, 2013 02:10 pm (UTC)
Re: Those are the awesome!
Apr. 23rd, 2013 03:08 pm (UTC)
Re: Those are the awesome!
Apr. 24th, 2013 03:41 pm (UTC)
Re: Those are the awesome!
The monochrome ones crack me up with love. *g*
Apr. 20th, 2013 11:59 pm (UTC)
So happy for you! For me, so many years ago, it was a pair of knee-high leather boots....
Apr. 21st, 2013 01:36 am (UTC)
Stompy Em is stompy.
Apr. 21st, 2013 01:58 am (UTC)
Ooo! I think my spouse would love these and I could buy myself a pair of Converse high tops at the same time/
Apr. 21st, 2013 02:55 am (UTC)
Ordering my pair stat.
Apr. 21st, 2013 02:39 pm (UTC)
Oooo. I am getting me some.

What with all your friends and fans, Emma, you're gonna start a run on these boots. :)
Apr. 21st, 2013 04:08 pm (UTC)
I just hope we'll get spring here someday, so I can wear mine outdoors. They're not meant for all this snow!
Apr. 21st, 2013 02:50 pm (UTC)
They look EXCELLENT. I am so pleased for you!
Apr. 21st, 2013 09:30 pm (UTC)
You got two left boots?

I looked at the mens boots, because canvas and ankle support would be nice. But most of the reviews on Amazon say they are made on a fairly narrow last, so they are right out for my wide feet. Oh well.

Enjoy! It is nice to find something you liked is available again (or still).
Apr. 22nd, 2013 12:50 am (UTC)
This seems like a good place to mention that Fluevog's is having a contest:
Closing date 14 May 2013.

From which I discover that they have bags ... oh dear. :)
Apr. 22nd, 2013 09:20 am (UTC)
Thank you for leading us all down the memory lane!
I had totally forgotten about these light brown ankle boots, made of suede, which I used to wear in the 80s for years and years - with everything, even with a Bavarian Dirndl dress and wool stockings! Oh, the gentle madness of youth!

Love your black boots - they look great!
Apr. 22nd, 2013 10:32 am (UTC)
Desert boots. We called them dingboots. Loved mine. And wooden soled clogs with leather uppers. Ka-tock, ka-tock, ka-tock . . .
Apr. 22nd, 2013 06:45 pm (UTC)
i love the sportsmans guide! where else can you get a case of vegetarian MRE's and a parachute?!
Apr. 22nd, 2013 07:37 pm (UTC)
And their entertaining warehouse-y retail store is in South St. Paul!
Apr. 23rd, 2013 02:09 am (UTC)
Sweetie, if this crisis is only "mid-life", you've retained your youthful optimism.
But, yeah. I used to buy a pair of sneakers in the spring and they'd be worn out by fall and get tossed. Repeat following year.

Now if anyone finds a reincarnation of "chi pants" with the gusset, put me down for half a dozen pair.

( 47 comments — Leave a comment )


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Emma Bull

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