I must confess that one of my more recent (but favourite) methods of procrastination has become polishing my shoes. Whilst this may seem to be dull as dish-water, what’s better? Pretending you know something about H L A Hart’s legal theory? Or giving your daps a much needed polish? Exactly. Besides, although this may be a slippery slope leading to more eccentric past times such as bird watching (or, ‘Twitching’), it is a pragmatic response to a modern day dilemma; the luxury shoe’s shelf-life.
I seem to have an infatuation with wing tips. Dress them up, or dress them down, whatever; they go with everything from suits to sweaters, and are comfortable as hell, especially if they’re from a reputable manufacturer such as Grenson or Churchs. The simplest pairing in the world must be a white button-down, tight black jean and some nice wing tips, in any colour. However, what I came to discover whilst going through the standard motions of a student, which as you all know is not the cleanest of affairs, is that whilst shoes of this nature may look and feel great when you purchase them, once you were them out into the night a couple of times, they get completely and utterly trashed.
A combination of; spilt vodka-red bulls, other people’s grubby feet standing on you whilst you lose your shit to that new Bashmore song and walking through that puddle of liquid you would have noticed, were you not trying to neck that bird who you think sort of looks like the one in that Robin Thicke video, will turn what was once a luscious walnut, into a sooty, angry brown. And suede…. Forget about it. They will start to resemble your Grandparents’ old carpet faster than when the cashier rigged them up for you and fleeced you of your student loan.
Moving onto the point of this article, a few months ago I became so disheartened, watching my shoe-collection gradually turn into a black mess, that I invested in what I think of as the perfect student shoe; the Doc Marten. Being on the side of the fence which is quite hotly opposed to the current sneaker fashion that has infiltrated menswear, I couldn’t face just buying a pair of Nikes and pretending I can stand on a skateboard without falling over. Which, just to confirm, I cannot. As a slight tangent, I don’t care if they’re the latest Margiela’s, who on earth ever thought sneakers were the appropriate shoes to match a suit?
I digress, there’s a reason why the sturdy ‘Docs’ have been in favour with so many rebellious youth movements of the years. Whilst they’re not the most flattering of shoe, in my humble opinion your foot ends up resembling a hammer (incidentally, they can be used in this way), they do the job and they do it rather well. You can subject them to all manner of elements that would leave a Grenson wing-tip in the bin; wade through mud, get puked on, miss the urinal… you get the picture.
Secondly, Docs, whilst far from being the cheapest shoe on the market, are competitively priced. This is especially true when you consider how many pairs from Topman you’d be buying in their place over the course of a Doc’s lifetime.
Thirdly, the unisex nature of the shoe, means that you and your other half can match. Always a bonus for couples who start to spend so much time with one another that they may as well be a single body.
As a final plus, the extra inch will help the height-conscious individual meet the bartender’s eye at the bar. This will help to ensure that the Hollister wearing twat next to you doesn’t beat you to the last Red Stripe.
So there we have it, arguably the perfect student shoe. I also heard they’re quite trendy at the moment. This will make that transition to ‘East-London hipster’ which all your friends from home think you’ve become, all the easier, and with far more (T.W) Grace than pretending you actually ‘get’ creepers.