T’other day I bought myself my fourth pair of French Ranger Army Boots in ten years, after being heartily disappointed when a Dr. Marten outlet didn’t have the all-black boots I wanted. Glittery Docs? Yep. Pink and glittery Docs? Yep. All black Docs? Absolutely, definitely not. I guess it was to be, seen as though I’ve relied on Rangers for over a decade and have worn all of my pairs to the absolute DEATH.
Before Rangers came into my life, Dr. Martens were my go to’s. I learned how to tie my laces with my Mum’s pair when I was five, and I had my own by the age of ten. So I know all about the breaking in of boots. (I can’t remember where my first pair came from, they just materialized…though I do remember they were an extremely worn-in black pair with white paint stains splattered all over them and odd laces.) However, yesterday I didn’t think before I put my Rangers on to take them out for the first time. I didn’t prepare my feet for the inevitable agony. It’s like that when you have kids – you’re normally in such a rush to get out of the door, stuff like arming your feet for war slips your mind.
Ten minutes down the road, I started to feel the grinding of the leather against the soft backs of my heels…but I was too late to turn around, Saga was on the verge of having a tantrum and there was half a mile to go before we shopped. When I returned home from buying bastard milk and bastard padded envelopes, my heels were bubbling with blisters and my ego was well and truly deflated.
The very first time I fucked up my feet with boots was when I was fourteen and went on a four-day class trip to London. A pair of oxblood Docs had come into my possession…only they were a size 41 and I was a size 38. Nevertheless, I was determined to wear them.
Needless to say, my feet screamed the whole 96 hours in the capital, and for about a month afterward. There’s a picture of little goth me at the Tower of London. You can see my oxbloods peeping out from under my black velvet dress. I tried to smile for the camera, but all I could manage was a creepy grimace. By this time, we’d walked about ten miles around London, in July heat, and my socks were bloody.
When they’re worn in, Rangers are just as comfortable, long-lasting and versatile as Dr. Martens. As you can see in these pictures, there’s nothing I won’t wear them with.
There are many ways of breaking boots in, including paying a cobbler to expand them, putting them in the freezer filled with ziplock bags of water (!) and using a hairdryer to soften the leather. I’ve never tried any of these, and I’m a bit reluctant to step outside of my comfort (hah) zone of breaking them in with thick socks and blister plasters. Next time I step out though, I swear on my fucking life that my feet are going to be bandaged up and waddled in the thickest damn socks I can find.