To most “normal “people replacing footwear is a relatively regular occurrence, whether it be for practical, fashion or “just because I can” reasons. This week I find myself in new territory. I am actually getting sentimental over the necessity to dispose of my well-loved but even more well worn out walking boots.
Around three times in the last 5 years of JWalking I have actually worn a pair of heels, each time being for a fabulous family wedding and I loved it each time, even though I tottered around like I had visited the bar a few too many times. It was great to feel a little more lady-like, be a just a smidge closer to Jonno’s height and that of our sons and daughter-in-laws and cast off the endearing hobbit references for a day or two.
Our daughter-in-law, Tabitha, is a successful freelance footwear designer and author (Tabitha 50M). Her designs are innovative and inspiring and I secretly like to think that our philosophies on sustainability and longevity are not a million miles apart albeit a different market area. I invariably have what can only be called shoe shame whenever we meet up but I have learnt to cope with this slightly irrational feeling. I would look even odder in jeans, a waterproof jacket and stilettos. (I hope Jonno doesn’t get any ideas!)
We are so proud that Tabitha has recently featured at London Fashion Week as a part of Positive Fashion which is an initiative to encourage positive change in the fashion industry with a regard for the environment, people, community and craftsmanship. The emphasis being on repurposing materials and sustainably crafting the footwear of the future.
Some of these things we unwittingly uphold through the lifestyle we have. Adopting these principles in the world of fashion must be much more challenging but things are changing and Tabitha is at the forefront. I always say that when the day comes to take off our JWalking boots for the final time I will hijack Tabitha to be my personal footwear designer/shopper. What a day that would be!!
If these soon to be discarded but wonderful boots (Karrimor Mount Mid) had a tracker, what would it have recorded since their inaugural outing in June 2017?
- A total of 6 months walking and working in the Scottish Highlands
- Over 25 house sit locations and dog walking duties
- Exploring Snowdonia, the Northumberland coast and two trips to the beaches of Devon
- Overseas trips to Normandy, Holland, Norway and Ireland
- Winter trips to Krakow and Munich
- Dodging falling trees and floods of storms, most recently Ciara, Dennis and Jorge
- Countless train journeys
It would be interesting to see how many happy steps this equates to over 3 years. These boots have carried me safely and comfortably on many a journey but what adventures will their replacement bring? Although the boots are split and ready for the bin, I shall keep the laces – upcycling or an excuse for memento? You decide.
We keep being told that we should be sponsored by Karrimor !
Tabitha recently wrote an article for Sacre Bleu! a quarterly art and fashion magazine. It was a thought provoking piece about material possessions, in this case footwear, being “an emotional and intellectual companion – capable of anchoring memories.” How true is this? I am sure if I asked anyone of my friends what a particular pair of shoes, dress or item of jewellery reminded them of they would have a memory to share.
Another sentence that jumps off the page to me is that footwear can remind us of “people and environments visited and remembered” and this is certainly the case for me. Even though we do not have many possessions to trial this on – these simple old boots prove the point.
Hooray New Boots!
New boot shopping will begin in earnest in a few weeks or so in readiness for a few hiking trips in the summer. I am sorely tempted to purchase the same brand and style to “Karri” on the story. At £31 in 2017 they were a great value for money and I am looking forward to the new ones carrying me on some new adventures and, until that first off road experience, there being slightly less shoe shame. The bench has been set quite high by my soul mates. (Not to be confused with my sole mate, Jonno!!)