Marching to the beat of your Docs


Anika Svancarek |

Marching to the beat of your Docs

Flowers are coming up all around us, the skies are gray with a hint of blue here and there and birds are chirping all around. Spring has officially sprung in our beautifully scenic campus and students are finally able to enjoy some outside time. The cold concrete feel of winter in Carbondale is starting to fade, and we can see a glimmer of hope through it all. We are starting to shed the ever so heavy layering we must have to survive our indecisive climate, and bring out more colorful simple pieces. The rainfall we get at this time of year always influences our day to day outfits. Raincoats and windbreakers become our best friend and keep us dry on the rainiest days of this April. 

Quite often here lately, I have reached for my trusty rain boots. I bought them from a resale shop. They are brown and rather drab, but serve the purpose of what they were purchased for nonetheless. In these I can stomp around and splash in any puddles when nobody is watching. Childlike wonder and play is always what comes to mind whilst I frolic about in my galoshes. They make me feel silly and gay (gay being used as both happy and Cher loving). I trust rain-boots more than most. 

As a child my mother always told me this quite jarring story of how a lightning strike came down on her yard, and her rubber boots saved her life. She even has the rubber boots as a keepsake. I love my mother, but I do not believe this story a single bit. I do find this amusing though. So that is why I think of rubber boots when I think of a boot off of the top of my head. They are what I am attracted to with my eye. Recently, as I look around campus searching for another soul that shares childlike glee through rubber boots, I am noticing a trend now turned closet staple to most of the world. 


The rise of the infamous Dr. Martens has been a long oncoming trend, making a worldwide mega resurgence as 1990s grunge and goth fashions make their way back into closets. I also don’t only want to address the grunge fashion trend and the influence that punk and rock had on fashion that is usually the only thing credited for today’s trends. I want to credit the goth community and their contribution as well. 

Since the 1990s, the “combat boot” style has kind of always just been there. Not always in demand, but still there for the communities that enjoy them. The clunky boot has been equated to what is now known as “alternative style”, which can be and is enjoyed by many now. I find something about this a bit off putting, though. Growing up, the kind of people who wore Dr. Martens for fashion were the kind of people that got made fun of or called weird. 

I remember people wearing boots and them immediately being judged by their appearance and being written off as artsy or even hipster. Of course, neither of these traits are bad, but they are perceived as out of the norm. It was so odd, as boots of that nature are all just a more refined and advanced version of what our ancestors were wearing. Except most of the time it was less about fashion and far more about the use of the boot itself. 

In the past this style of boot was a utility boot. Tight to the foot and quite stiff, they obviously aren’t built for comfortability and lounging around the house. They are meant for working. They go by a lot of names, and I’ve heard them called so many of them by family, friends and my instructors: hiking boots, stompin’ boots, shovelin’ boots and shit kickers. If  you know a country phrase for boots I have probably heard it muttered in my life.

Boots are a necessity to everyday life before anything else. I have come to a new appreciation for boots over the last five years or so because I no longer look at them as just an accessory. Most blue collar working jobs require boots as a part of the uniform. As safety precaution, most of these boots have a steel lining. My stepfather is a union carpenter and wears these boots to work on a daily basis. He is tall and broad, and already has a walk with a bit of southern weight, too. It is in his nature to stomp a bit, but when the boots are on you can hear him walking from a mile away. 

Boots always demand the attention of a room, though. A person wearing boots will always make me look up and raise my brow not with judgment, but with attention.  I feel that instilled within me, not only by boots being widely perceived as masculine and my societal instincts make me look up, but also because they are incredibly fashionable, and I need to see the rest of the outfit. 

Most of my friends and confidants wear them. Of course I am friends with mostly blunt women and homosexuals and of course I observe their fashion taste and styles. I like to equate myself with well dressed individuals. I don’t mind what style you have, just as long as you are wearing it well. I will also experiment and tag along for some, but sit out most.


Surprisingly, I have never owned a pair of Docs. I have always appreciated the style, but it has never made its way into my wardrobe. Shocker, I know. I had never really desired a pair, until now. 

While walking through the ghost town that we call a mall here in Carbondale, I saw them: Sitting pretty on a shelf in the Journeys shoe store were a pair of Dr. Martens in a Mary Jane style. I gasped. My inner Catholic school child leapt with joy. I am a sucker for anything that resembles the fashions that I wanted as a child. I remember looking around my childhood classroom, and being jealous of the little black shoes and frilly socks that my peers would wear. Seeing these adult sized version of my childhood dream shoe made me fill with all sorts of emotion and happiness. After coming down from the excitement, I had to think financially. 

The one downside about Dr. Martens is that they are a bit on the pricey side. That is always the hard part about comfortable and sturdy well made shoes. $130 was hard for me to justify, and I cannot put them on Carrie Bradshaw (that’s what I named my credit card). I made the decision to walk out of the store empty handed filled with sadness. 

I will buy them eventually, and join the parade of my friends that enjoy them. I will one day soon join the proud people of so many backgrounds that march to the beat of their Docs. 

Staff Writer Aaron Elliott can be reached at [email protected] and on instagram at aaron.elliott_. To stay up to date with all your Southern Illinois News follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.