In my youth, I would match my shoelaces to my hair color (I still do it, but with greater discretion). During my blue hair days, I began playing in a new band, and for the first time, I had the opportunity to experience life outside the suburbs. I was confused when at one of our first practices, our guitarist looked me from shoes to face, and casually remarked, “you must really hate cops.”. You could argue that I’ve never been on the law enforcement side of an argument, but at the same time, I wasn’t sure what he meant by “really hating” anything, or from where he was getting this information.
I was confused even more when he explained that he could tell by my shoelaces. Initially, I thought what he was telling me was a joke, but it turned out to be true: in the punk scene (and more specifically, the skinhead scene), wearing Dr. Marten’s boots with colored shoelaces has specific meanings. The most common ones vary from region to region, but I think it’s important to highlight the most common ones, if only to avoid conflict, know who to avoid, and understand that music isn’t free from hate. For now. Our job should be to stop that hate as much as possible.
It may seem far fetched at first glance, but I assure you that the article described is very accurate, or as accurate as it can be without actually sitting down with a “true believer.” Racism is alive and well in America, as unfortunate as it may be. Skinheads still exist, even if they may not be as active in the music community as they used to be (at least locally). They also have an interesting history that many people aren’t familiar with. Keep an eye on people’s boots. You never know.
The Pride of Whiteness
In addition, this is often used to represent Ku Klux Klan affiliation. These two things are often related. Anecdote about the difference between KKKs and Neo-Nazis: KKKs do not associate with the ideas of Hitler because he was foreigner, and they hate foreigners. Folks, the Ku Klux Klan’s hatred is American-made, and will not be substituted.
Blue: Kept killing cops
To me, the scariest thing about these shoelaces is not just the fact that they indicate murder, but also the fact that they are openly bragging about it, and they have created a code that indicates it.
Red: National Front/Nazi
It could also mean they are always fighting, or they have killed someone. You should stay away from these mean SOBs, as they are some of the meanest you will meet.
Fortunately, Docs usually come with yellow laces and they don’t have a meaning attached to them. This is one of the colors claimed by the anti-nazi punk movement.
Gay Pride: Purple
This is an interesting one. In addition to being anti-skinhead, purple laces are also often associated with gay pride. The following has nothing to do with the others, but I believe it is worth mentioning.
The color black denotes a lack of affiliation
In addition, black laces (another standard Doc lace) have no meaning either.
Hopefully, this code will be put to good use. While I understand that some may start calling out people based on the color of their shoelaces, I don’t recommend doing so. Those who wear these laces may not be aware of these rules — and even if they are, know that using violence will only make these people believe that their case has more merit. Please take this as a warning and not an admonition to engage in further violence. Hatred only breeds more hatred.