some old things are worth saving

We walk many a mile in our lives, our shoes are almost part of us. Our choice of footwear is a representation of our personalities, they are us. I used to have quite the shoe collection, mostly dominated by worn out cowboy boots, my favourite choice for many years. But they’re a bit showy and impractical in my line of work, so they’ve all gone bar one pair. What I wear now is all about hard-wearing practicality. Handmade. Leather.

Years ago, I chose to live a life with less stuff, but still with stuff…just useful stuff. Like I mentioned, I like stuff that will last because it’s hard wearing and practical. Not stuff that’s necessarily in fashion, but more so I like the ‘won’t let me down’ kind stuff. Hence my love for leather boots, in particular these old boots. I’ve been a bit slack in caring for them of late. Just too distracted with the daily jobs of life. But my lack of care withstanding, they’ve served me well. They keep me feet dry walking in long grass on a hunt. They comfort me on the coldest days of winter, and they’re often the barrier between me and mud. They give and give, and I’ve been a bad host. Leather is like a relationship, it needs love. Each time I tie those laces I tell myself I should treat them soon, but I get occupied with planting new veg, cooking, or just being busy being a dad.

The way I’ve treated my old worn out boots, is similar to how we tend to treat nature. We take and take and really give little in return. I know I go on about this but it’s the undeniable reality. It’s something visible to even the untrained eye. Our houses are filled with stuff, all made with natural resources as the base. This computer I’m typing on used natural resources. The clothes I wear, natural resources. So that makes all these things all the more precious. Instead of discarding items when they seem less useful, appropriate or out of fashion, is it not better for us to retain them, to wear them out completely before replacing them? This is what I ask myself. This is what I end up thinking about when I’m rubbing bee’s wax leather treatment over my worn out boots. I wish I didn’t think so much about this stuff, just shut up and polish the damn boots Rohan.

Over the last few months, we’ve been either selling or giving away many of the items in our house that are not necessary to us. Other people can get some use out of them, as long as they’re not discarded to trash. One thing that can’t be discarded is these old boots. With a little love they’ll serve me many a year. And as I age so too will my boots. They will scar as I do, they will tell stories as I will and eventually like me, they will outlive their purpose and be returned to nothing but mere particles in a world that is forever changing and recycling itself, towards the inevitable. But for now these old boys are now ready to face the new day.

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  • January 22, 2013 - 10:46 am

    Sondy Ward - I love your posts. Just sayin’.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 11:00 am

    RubĂ©n B - These boots. I’ve been looking a few months for a pair of boots like these and, guess what, I cannot find them. Most of them are country looking but actually made just for pretending. I’ll keep looking and meanwhile using my old hiking boots.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 11:07 am

    Andrew via Singapore - I’ve lived in Asia with my family now for 10 years and whilst its been an amazing experience the centre of our world is our beautiful farm back in Mudgee in Australia. I’m here now and an amazing thunderstorm has just passed over, magnificent. Now on this farm are a pair of old Blundstone boots, my friends, and every time I slip those boots on I feel like I have arrived home. Over the years they have molded perfectly to my feet, we are a great team. Every day I’m away I dream of slipping those boots on, my son now has his own set of boots and its made the moment even more special. Rohan you are so right, it is the simplest things that give us the greatest pleasure.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 11:49 am

    Gabe - Great post Rohan.

    I’m glad i’m not the only one who gets a wee bit philosophical when I polish my boots. I’ve always found there to be something inexplicably satisfying about the simple act of renewal (whether it be boots or otherwise), and you’ve managed to capture that in your writing.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 11:52 am

    Steve - Rohan
    Where do the boots come from? Are they a big brand, or some local craftsperson?ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2013 - 12:42 pm

      Joel - I know it’s not all about endorsement on Rohans fine site. But it is a company I would gladly endorse. They are Red Wings 875. From one of the best boot/shoe manufacturers in the world. I live in Sweden and own a pair of Red Wings (Beckman 9030) and if you take care of them they’ll protect you from almost all the elements mother nature throws on ‘em. Resole them every 5th year or so and they’ll last you 15-20.ReplyCancel

      • January 22, 2013 - 12:50 pm

        Joel - Ooops I meant to comment not reply.ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2013 - 6:23 pm

      Ben - Steve, just google Red Wing Boots or follow one of the links below. A bit pricey, but definitely worth the money! With proper care they might last 25 years or more…
      The company often posts pictures of boots that are 60 years and older.

      http://www.redwingshoes.com/

      https://www.facebook.com/RedWingShoesReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 12:08 pm

    Andrew - Really enjoyed this post. I plan on owning a solid pair of Red Wings myself when I can afford it. There is just something special about a good pair of boots that you know will last decades if you treat them right.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    Paul - The Kind Little Blogger - I’m fascinated with how something seemingly unremarkable results in such beautiful poetry and wisdom. Though, it falls short for me, does the obsession with animal products. The alternatives for good, long-lasting footwear are few I realise. However, I tend to be utilitarian about the matter.

    That said, I have an old pair of leather dress shoes that have been kicking around for 8 years. I just won’t buy anymore.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 1:28 pm

    Ruby Hoppen - Nothing like a good boot polishing session. My mum used to make me shine my school shoes in the morning- nothing daggier that having shiny t-bars in high-school. I’m not much of a shoe person in the sense that I will wear a pair of docs until they fall apart and I will love them for it but not take care of them. I think it’s one of those important lessons that I will need to learn someday. Shoes are (wo)man’s best friend.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 1:40 pm

    Adrian Mudd - Steve > Those are Red Wing Moc Toe boots if I’m not mistaken.. Well worn, beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 2:04 pm

    David Griffiths - Hey Roh,

    Nice job on the boots.

    I make my own beeswax wood polish and conditioner and I have been working on a kick ass leather sealer conditioner . When I get it right I will send some down to you.

    P S thanks for the advice on the rifle caliber for rabbits

    All the best mate

    DaveReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 6:59 pm

    Winn - Red Wing 875 or 8131??

    How long have you had these?

    Absolutely beautiful when they’re broken in and well worn.ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 7:49 pm

    Linda - Just for the record, if anyone is buying new boots, there are still several Aussie made brands. Blundstones are not one of them. A bit of googling and you can find a local pair.ReplyCancel

    • January 22, 2013 - 9:17 pm

      rohan - This is true I’m yet to find anything Australian made of this quality. If you know anyone making boots like these let me know. Blundstone, red back and Rossi are all good for work boots but they’re pretty hopeless as hiking hunting boots as they offer zero ankle support.ReplyCancel

      • January 22, 2013 - 10:40 pm

        Simon - i got a pair of these in bathurst 4 years ago and they are still going strong.
        http://blueheelerboots.com.au/Steel-Blue-Australia1/Steel-Blue-Safety/Wagga

        Don’t look brand new but at the same time don’t look worn. They are suede but they are bloody fantastic. They are my primary shoe (being a guy i own a total of 4 pairs – yardwork/walking boot, work shoes for the office, gumboots and 1 set of comfy casual soon to be retired). These boots have dealt brilliantly with the soaking they have experienced over that time as well. If the rest of their brand are just as good then i fully recommend em. Australia owned.

        this is not an endorsed ad! :) ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 9:37 pm

    Virg. - I have discovered the joys of getting a great pair of shoes repaired, resoled, restitched. I have gotten over the dilemma of the cost of repair often being greater than the cost of a new pair of shoes and I love that there are still cobblers around that know how to bring back to life something that I value.
    By the way what is the vegan/vegetarian position on shoes?ReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 10:45 pm

    Darrun - I likethe picture of tHe puppyReplyCancel

  • January 22, 2013 - 11:50 pm

    Bianca - And the leather seal in the photo is simple the best you can get and smells amazing to boot!
    Got some a few years ago at the wool show in Bendigo . It is fantastic!ReplyCancel

  • January 23, 2013 - 5:34 am

    Brendan - Less consumption, if only the masses could embrace it!ReplyCancel

  • January 23, 2013 - 8:06 am

    Solange - Beautiful and well said! Love the shoes and what they stand for.ReplyCancel

  • January 23, 2013 - 10:42 pm

    tricia - I love the way old boots age. And its amazing how a little love restores them.

    I’ve had the same pair of boots for over a decade and hope to have them another decade.

    I also love the way you manage to create a beautiful story about cleaning your boots Rohan. I’m guessing you have inspired a few people to give their boots some love :-) TReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2013 - 1:57 am

    Chris - Hello all. Check out Quoddy Boots:

    All Hand made.

    http://www.quoddy.com

    Thanks, Rohan, for inspiring us!ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2013 - 7:01 am

    MattyB - Are these the Redwing 875s? I thought they had a white sole?
    I’m curious because I need a good pair of long lasting boots, so if you can make em last through your trials, they are good enough for me!ReplyCancel

    • January 24, 2013 - 7:52 am

      rohan - Not sure exactly which model they are. But I do know they last long and wear great.ReplyCancel

    • January 24, 2013 - 3:27 pm

      Winn - I believe they’re 8131′s. Slightly different than the 875′s, eyelets and leather color being differences.ReplyCancel

  • January 24, 2013 - 11:43 am

    cindy - wonderful read! reminds me of my dads army boots, he wore when he served for 30 years & he still wears them & takes care of them… they are his yard working boots now.ReplyCancel

  • January 25, 2013 - 5:25 pm

    Tin Ginete - Wow! Very nice photos you have here. Like you, I also have a knack for keeping things that are vintage. These things got lots of memories to tell. :-) ReplyCancel

  • January 31, 2013 - 12:38 pm

    Alicia - They came up a treat, you will be glad the next time you wear them you’ve treated them to some love, protected them against the elements :) ReplyCancel

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