Until mid 2010, I had never dreamed of wearing any boots bigger than a standard work boot. If you had of told me 6 months ago that I would be writing a blog post about shoes in 2011, I would have laughed in your face for several minutes. As a guy who is around 180 cm (5 ft 10 inches) tall, you would not think that I needed any extra height.
At the end of 2010, I started to attend a series of metal music shows, primarily in western Sydney. During these shows, I would see several women and at least one vocalist wearing platform boots. I thought that these boots would be nice to wear out to these sort of shows. Speaking to my friend eXplain (vocalist for metal band Foundry Road), he told me that he got his boots on eBay. I put the thought to one side for several months.
With every show I went to, my fondness for the boots grew. I started looking around my local shoe stores without success before going online. Several Google searches later, I found the brand of boot I wanted, Demonia. I then found the exact shoe I wanted. I could have copied eXplain and been happy with 2 or 3 inches. I was not happy with merely copying the man whose inspiration for the face paint came from Heath Ledger in Batman Returns. I had to stand out – as if I didn’t
stand out already. So I went all out.
With the boots selected, I would go from being 5 ft 10 inches to around 6 ft 6 inches tall. I told my mother about the boots and she was convinced that I was:
a) turning goth;
b) determined to break my neck; or
c) stark raving mad.
Some friends were happy for me, others thought I was over compensating. Other people who were shorter than me anyway were convinced that they would need a step ladder to talk to me. At this stage though, the plan was still a picture on my monitor.
If in doubt, do a Google search or check on eBay………
eBay confirmed that there were Australian eBay stores with the boots available. Having never worn anything bigger than a work boot, I was hesitant. I searched for a local store that I could physically go to and try the boots on. After all, could I get them in my size? In a standard shoe or a work boot, I am an Australian size 11 or 12 depending on the shoe concerned. I had to check to see if the boots were in UK or US sizes as I had not purchased shoes from either country. I wanted to be sure that I could fit my foot and then my lower leg into the boots. Several unsuccessful searches later, I was resigned to the fact that I would have to take a punt and try my luck on eBay and order the boots sight unseen.
I soon found an Australian store with my size and to be safe, I ordered an Australian men’s size 13. With my credit card number firmly in my memory, I ordered the boots. A pair of black Demonia 308 Platform Boots were on their way to me from the US. I had one month for the boots to arrive as I wanted to wear them for the first time at a metal weekend raising money for Queensland flood victims. At this point, my Facebook and Twitter streams were running hot with comments.
In a relatively fast 2 weeks, there was a massive package waiting for me on my front verandah a couple of Thursdays later. My boots had arrived! I was excited to say the least. I opened the box and there they were, my shiny black 7 inch platform boots. Being a platform boot virgin, I thought that the straps on the boots were for mere decoration. Unzipping the boots, I could fit my feet into the boots but the zip would not go all the way to the top and the straps were too short. Oh no! My plan was ruined not by the size of the soles (and not soul as one online shop said) but by the size of my lower legs!
There was nothing on any website that I saw that took into account the size and shape of one’s legs! After putting both boots on, I posed for a photo. It was very strange now being 6 ft 6 inches tall in my bedroom! After the photo, I took the boots off, sad to think that they do not fit properly and that I would never be able to wear them for their intended purpose. I posted the following status on Facebook:
“FOR SALE: Demonia 308 Platform Boots (7 inch platforms). Mens size 13. $130. My boots arrived today and they fit my feet fine but I can’t get them to zip all the way up my leg (the boots are too narrow for mylegs). It’s a shame because they are comfortable & I did enjoy being 6 foot 6 for 5 minutes.”
Another complication was the eBay seller’s returns policy. I had 7 days to return the boots to them via the post however when investigating the returns policy, their website told me that they were
going on holidays for 3 weeks! So what was I going to do? Hold ontothe boots? Resell them on eBay? Return them? I was heartbroken and confused.
That night, I went to a regular karaoke night that I attend when I can at a local hotel. A friend who has more boot experience than I do (that’s not hard!) taught me that the straps were not there merely for decoration and that yes, I could let the straps out. I learnt not to wear shorts with the boots and I also learnt that the straps were not long enough. That night, I wore the boots around the pub. People that had previously seen me for weeks at the pub suddenly noticed me and people wanted to dance with me, twirling me around. One woman even thought she could stand on the top of the boots like a platform. The top of the boots are deceptively soft as we both found out. I was having a great time!
After various people advised me to do so, I went to a bootmaker the next day. After trying my boot on again with the straps done up tight, he advised me that he could extend the straps at the bottom and extend the tounge across. This would take a week and then I would have the
boots in time for another show the week before I needed the boots for the benefit weekend. While the bootmaker visit might add $70 to the effective cost of the shoes, it was very important to do the alterations. Safety with shoes is very important and is even more important when wearing heels or platforms as I would soon find out over coming weeks. A week later, I picked up the boots and the strap extensions enabled me to completely zip up and strap up the boots. For the first time, I was 100% strapped and zipped into the boots. All I would need to do was learn to walk again……..
Learning to walk again” might seem like an exaggeration for most women reading this story, especially those used to wearing heels for many hours at a time. For me, though, it is true. A few people have commented that I stomp around while wearing the boots like Herman Munster or Gomez Addams. Sometimes, it feels like I am walking around in flippers and at other times, it feels like I am wearing concrete shoes. Even after wearing the shoes on separate occasions at different venues, I have noticed that I am a lot more careful especially around stairs and changes in height on floors. I have also noticed that I now overhang various stairs with my boots by a long margin. I have not fallen over (YET!) but I have had a couple of close calls. I have noticed that I am getting a lot more attention from the ladies, especially the first couple of times when they decided that my boots needed to be tighter. They would then proceed to loosen the straps and re-tighten them. I soon learnt to do the zippers up first then worry about tightening the straps.
I love wearing these boots. I do not wear them every day nor do I drive in them. I have had my workmates who have seen the boots on Facebook ask me to wear the boots to work but I will not do that. These boots are not made for working.
Some people have been stunned when they see the boots, even if I am holding them in my hands. Some people think that the boots are cool, some people openly laugh and some people are concerned that I will break my neck. I have even had tall women tell me that I make them feel short and that is a nice change for them. I have also had short women ask me not to stand next
to them as they feel even shorter!
Am I happy with the $130 that I spent on the shoes plus the $70 on alterations? AB-SOLE-LOOT-LY!
When Erk is not wearing 7 inch platform boots, he is either driving
trains, on Twitter as @erkpod or podcasting on Channel Erk