Brian Parkinson, a mod/early skinhead living near to me was wearing paratrooper boots in early 1969. (By paratrooper boots I mean the type I frequently see if ever I go into an army surplus shop - black, very similar to those worn by the tough looking French police in Paris. I thought they were German, but could by French?) Incidentally, I noticed in the old film clip of the Newcastle lads from 1971 that one of them is wearing paratrooper boots.
A discussion, many pages back, between Elwood and myself was about the types of boots initially worn by the 'original' skinheads (depending on your interpretation of 'original skinhead') highlighted the fact that at first skinheads wore all sorts of boots. Such was the later success of Dr. Martens that they have come to be regarded by all and sundry as the quintessential skinhead footwear, but this was a later development of the style. Heavy boots had been terrace wear from at least as early as 1967 and became even more popular as the style we now recognise as 'skinhead' evolved through 1968, so by early 1969 they were very common. Despite the claim by our friend from Dexy's Midnight Runners that they were worn because they were shiny and not for kicking people, I saw plenty of evidence to the contrary and had he spent any time on a football terrace around that period he would have been aware that that is EXACTLY the reason they were worn. Consequently, what people wanted around that time was a heavy boot, preferably with steel toe caps. In 1969 I didn't know anyone who wore shiny cherry red Doc Martens. My local 'style icons', Brian Parkinson (18) wore paratrooper boots, Dave Rabbich (17) wore black commando boots with a steel toe-cap. Lads on the Kippax wore army boots, work boots and hob-nails. Elwood wrote of seeing lads 'skating' across the concrete terracing on their hobnails, making them spark. A few lads cut away some of the leather from the toes to reveal the steel shining underneath. At 14, my two closest skinhead friends were David Porter who wore steel toed oxblood coloured boots, and Terry Cocking who wore black work boots (possibly 'Tuff' boots?) I wore some brown work boots I'd had for about 2 years. When I outgrew these soon after I bought some black Doc. Martens - not because they were Doc. Martens, but because I thought they looked really smart when seeing them in the shop. I wasn't aware of anyone else wearing them at that time. The catalyst for the popularity of Doc. Martens was the banning of steel toe caps at football matches. You didn't want to be stood on cold concrete in your socks all afternoon and a nice pair of shiny DMs was seen as the ideal replacement.
Obviously I'm including the usual disclaimer here re: time and location (Manchester area) and no doubt somebody will be on telling me that London was full of skinheads wearing shiny cherry red Doc. Martens in 1965. If people try to claim that anything other than DMs are not authentic skinhead wear, then you can now inwardly look a little smug, 'cos you know better!
Roytonboy, just to avoid misunderstandings, Cerneabbas and i are referring to the french shoe brand Paraboot, that has nothing to do with "paraboots" in the meaning of big steel cap boots. See the link i put earlier.