Wearing white laces means you must be a member of the far right. That’s what a lot of people think. In reality a lot our right wing friends have conned themselves. This so called secret code whereby members of the far right are supposed to be able to recognise somebody else with similar views has been marketed as a sort of myth. Actually white laces were worn regularly by first generation skinheads. And for a very simple reason: they looked good.

But again and again you see the view expressed, even in official reports from the German Government’s Department for Constitutional Affairs (nice one, lads!), that white laces are supposed to stand for „white power“, that is to say, white supremacy. Red laces are supposed to be worn by Lefties. What yellow laces are supposed to signify is a bit of mystery. Many people think they are the only colour to be worn if you are a Fetish Skin in the gay scene and keen on „water sports“. It’s true such people exist ;-)) But... what a load of rubbish. Don’t black and yellow just look good together?

What about that saying „black and white united“? Black leather and white laces as a symbol of the fact that blacks and whites can live together. But people who’ve got it in for skinheads would never accept this interpretation.

DER SPIEGEL magazine once wrote on this subject:

»Anybody who has made a serious study of subcultures and the significance of clothing, can only shake their head in disbelief at this simplistic and ill founded thesis.«

Another much used cliché about skinheads is that they wear „bovver boots“. That’s wrong! Skinheads wear „Rangers“, British work boots with a heavy steel toe cap. Famous brands that make them are „Underground“, „Boots and Braces“, „Shelly’s“ or „Grinders“.

But skinheads don’t just wear Rangers, they also wear Doc Martens. The boots with the yellow stitching were famous and much sought after right from the earliest days of the skinhead cult, because they are comfortable to wear (amongst other things because of the air cushioned sole). It is more than fifty years ago that the German inventor Dr. Klaus Maertens together with the engineer Dr. Herbert Funck made a sole with air cushions and used it to make the first air cushioned shoe. The air which is trapped in the sole works like a shock absorber - a quality which you notice straight way when you go for a walk in them „walking on air“ as the early adverts used to say. Unlike Rangers, you can get Docs with or without steel toe caps. Those in the know can often tell just by looking whether the boot has got a steel toe cap or not. As well as black, skinheads like cherry red and oxblood Docs. The „rub off“ docs that you can buy these days used to be DIY jobs, the effect being achieved by polishing the creases of cherry red boots with black boot polish.

The correct way of lacing your boots – skinhead style

Patrick (17) from Hessen asked in the guestbook how to do your laces up – skinhead style. The webmaster, a bit the worse for wear at the time, answered him by saying it would make a good subject for a report with pix. No sooner said, than done. Here goes...

To enlarge photos, please click.

Stage 1:
For 10 hole boots (i.e. boots which have got in total 20 eyelets) take a pair of laces for 14 hole boots. Round and firm, best are the original ones from Underground. So that you can follow proceedings more clearly, I’ve used a white lace. Tie a simple knot at the end of the lace.

Stage 2:
Start from the bottom left. Thread the lace through and don’t pull it tight until later. The knot has got to be large enough that it doesn’t slip through the eyelet. Normally a simple knot will suffice.

Stage 3:
The knot remains hidden beneath the eyelet bottom left. From the top, thread the lace into the bottom right eyelet.

Stage 4:
Remaining on the right hand side, bring the lace up through the eyelet and then slot it into the next free eyelet on the left, drawing it through again into the inside of the boot

Stage 5:
And so on, and so on. Each time we’ve drawn the lace into the inside of the boot, we stay on this side, move up one eyelet and slot it through until we reach the daylight again.

Stage 6:
Same procedure on the left hand side. Once you’ve got the hang of it, it takes about 30 seconds. If you’re pissed, you’re going to need about 40 seconds.

Stage 7:
With a pair of 10 hole Rangers, you always end up at the top on the right hand side. Next, starting from the bottom, pull the lace tight.

Stage 8:
PLEASE do not tie a nice little bow... Even though that’s what we were all taught at infant’s school!! Just wrap it round to the left.

Stage 9:
Then up and under once or twice again. Finished!! AND it’ll stay put.

Stage 10:
Lots of people leave their boots on when they go to bed! Any problems, just loosen the lace from the top.