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Trawling the Web for the perfect combat boots

October 24, 2009 |  5:31 pm

Doc-martens Combat boots have been marching down fashion runways for several seasons now.

However, as a 34-year-old who once lived in my eight-hole Dr. Martens in high school, I've been hesitant to revisit my fashion roots. Sartorial wisdom posits that if you wore it the first time round, you should never don it again. But man, did I love the feel -- and the look -- of that clunky pair of combats worn grunge-style with a baby-doll floral dress or rolled-up jeans.

Clearly my baby-doll dress days are over, but I recently decided that combat boots are more of an evergreen staple than a fleeting trend -- and that being the case, I began the hunt for a new pair.

I started, naturally, on the Dr. Martens website, rifling through the familiar gummy-soled classics in steel- and soft-toe options, in dozens of zany colors and prints. But I quickly counted the brand out, deciding that the boots were too much of a rehash for anyone over 25.

Looking for something a little more refined, I hit up online designer emporium, Net-a-porter. But, surprise! The only combat boots in stock are special-edition Dr. Martens -- a handful of classic lace-ups including a pair in crocodile-embossed leather and another wrought in oxblood patent leather. As cool and fetching as they were, I realized I was pining for a slimmer silhouette.

An exhaustive search of Zappos.com followed -- in which I contemplated a pair of Edwardian-vibe brown combats from DKNY and a no-frills black boot from Seychelles.

Then a Google search sent me way down the lane to an Army-Navy surplus store in Vermont called Barre Army/Navy Store, where I laid my weary eyes on the perfect pair of shiny black leather combat boots. Lean and mean-looking, they were priced, astoundingly, at $38.95.

I pulled the trigger on the purchase, and within a week had them in hand. The full-grain leather will take a while to break in, but they absolutely fit the bill, and look adorable with skirts and tights and rolled-up jeans. And I don't feel like a throw-back. Not even a little.

-- Emili Vesilind


Photo: Dr. Martens Pascal crocodile-stamped boots. Credit: Courtesy of Net-a-Porter

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