Monkey Boots: Footwear of Choice for the Sheltered Punk Kid
Friday, January 11, 2008, 09:22 k
Filed under: Shoes | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Lately, I’ve been thinking about Monkey Boots, which, due to my over-protective parents, were the closest I ever got to the grunge footwear of choice.

Picture it: it was 1990 in a California suburb. It was the summer before 8th grade, and I was ready to leave the New Kids behind. I’d just read a book about Nancy Spungen and had an epiphany. I was Punk. There was no stopping me.

Well sort of. I did have my protective parents to contend with, and they weren’t thrilled with my plans. But what could they do? It was easy to transform the jeans I already owned into tightly cuffed pants that Joe Strummer would approve of, and there was that store Hot Topic (I was 12, what do you want from me?) that had just opened in the local mall, so $11 Ramones shirts were at my finger tips.

There was one big roadblock though: Doc Martens. No 12-year-old could afford $100 shoes, and they knew it. I begged, I pleaded, I cried. They still said no, arguing that “combat boots” were too expensive and too harsh for a pre-teen. What would the neighbors think?

I was so pissed, and it only got worse when the parents of my best friend bought them for her after she had jaw surgery. I would have easily slurped my meals from a straw for a pair of Docs!

They were willing to compromise, though, and buy me Monkey Boots (at the Wild Pair!). It was a weak concession, but I took what I could get. And I wore those things everyday until, thankfully, I found cutesy Indie Rock, which my parents had no beef with. They bought me all the colorful Adidas and One Star Converse I wanted.

Now, with Docs coming back, I’m tempted to live out my adolescent dreams. I might. We’ll see–or maybe I should just get some new monkey boots.



8 Comments so far
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[…] It’s 1990 and your parents won’t buy you Dr. Martens, try Monkey Boots. […]

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monkey boots are way more punk these days and not quite as easy to find in comparison to docs….i found a brown pair not to long ago in a mod/punk store…best find in shoes in ages…now all i need is old school grey suede creepers….not to high and not to low…with a round toe….

Comment by moegrease

Well, if it makes you feel better, Monkey Boots, which were originally straight up Israeli Combat boots, were much, much more punk rock than Doc Martins back in the 80s. Of course, you couldn’t buy any of that crap in the mall… we had to go to indie shops like Toxic Shock to get them. Of course, now Doc Martens, Tuk, and a few other companies make a version of the Monkey Boot that I will be forced to buy. I traded away my original monkey boots for a pair of python pointy toed shoes… never should have done it.

Comment by Trisch Wheeler

In Glasgow Scotland in the seventies it was all crew cuts and monkey boots at my school. if you had doc’s it was like being a god but if you were poor like me and everyone i knew it was ‘MONKEY SPATS’i have just ordered a pair out of pure nostalgia, but i also remeber they were the worst to break in blood and skin all over the inside for a few weeks…….ah the memories, and as me auld Ma used to say “shut up and put them back on you’ll be fine”

Comment by skweekihed

These boots are close. I’m a punk Geezzer from the early daze. The original where surplus from the Czech army . . . Yes, Czech army boots. During the war in the balkans we here in the states stopped getting Yugo cars and Monkey Boots for a while. They were cool looking but rather poorly finished. The finish was a black plastic over grey leather and after a while the black finish would peel off. The other striking feature of note (different from the one’s in the photo above here) is the waffle/cheveron style tread that didn’t have a break for the heel. . . it just went all the way across the bottom. I just remember the bass player of the Stranglers, J.J. Burnell wearing them in a photo on one of their albums in ’79 and “I was in”. I went to NaNa in santa monica and scored! I loved these and they were only comfortable with Spenco foam insoles because they were so crudely made. If you wear them, Rock on – because they are a punk/mod classic item!

Comment by Otto Fretless

I grew up in the mod scene in Orange County in the 80’s. I got my monkies in 1983. LOVED them! But they got really worn out fast. Otto is so right about the quality. But they were great…

Comment by cathy

Monkey boots…just like the last post, I grew up in Orange County in the 80’s and wore Monkey Boots in 1984. I bought mine at London Exchange on Newport Blvd. A cousin of mine inherited them, but never truly appreciated them. I wish I could get them back now!

Comment by Regie

my monkey boots from 1985 lasted a few years before the side stitching gave way. i kept them meaning to fix them till last year! spencos would have been a nice addition

Comment by kaydubya

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