Boots are for adventures, an old pair of boots are a treasured friend and the best kind of boots are the ones that walk you home from the pub when your legs are not quite so sure as to where they should be going. There are boots that are throwaway fashion, occasional boot, smart ones, work ones, though my personal preferences is always for value and a good old investment. The kind of boots that are passed down generations, resoled, polished and shined for ten thousand Sundays in a row, ones that develop their own character and habits, that like to wander slightly to the right and object to hills. You can do what you like with your boots, collect them, start a home for strays or show them off proudly on shelves, or you can just commit yourself to a single pair and enjoy the benefits of a monogamous relationship. Though always treasure the privilege that it is to have the resources to afford to own a pair of boots in the first place, and that you are not in the position where you have to share a pair with the whole family.
In terms of where to start truly becoming an adult, a bottom-up approach is always a pretty good place to approach becoming a more mature member of society. The buying of your first pair of boots that are meant to last, marks the end of adolescent, we are as tall as we are going to get and we are able to buy things that endure rather than to outgrow and discard. We start to decide on the kind of adult we wish to be, especially for the more male members of the audience, it is worth bearing in mind that whilst adolescents might try to avoid the fact that we are judged on our shoes, that it is unfair we are not be allowed to wear our tatty trainers, we are missing the point that if we are allowed to wear anything we are not allowed to decide how someone else will judge us. If you wish to be an anarchists, that is your choice, and I would without hesitation support your choice, but at the same time everyone else is allowed their own choices and judgement about whatever they wish to judge, and they do, it is unavoidable.
The freedom you have is in being able to do whatever you like, it is not the freedom to be protected from judgement, we might want to be treated by an universal standard of perfect harmony rather than according to more tricky standard of personal and relative judgement. We might have aspirations for universal standards, I might hope for world where people are not judged on their looks or what they choose to wear, but that kind of utopia is a long way off and I am not entirely sure if I would like a world where people did not judge themselves a little. As if you believe that the main purpose of life is to grow as a being of consciousness, and that growth means that you judge yourself, that you wish to be better, to act in a better manner and better implies judgement. When I consider my responsibility and whether I am living up to them, I care about my judgement, I even want my judgement to be better, so I judge my judgement as well. I want to be held to a higher standard of behaviour not for or by anyone else just for myself, and I would certainly try to practice compassionate even with myself. As if you can not have compassion for yourself, if you do not practice on yourself, how can you be actively compassionate in your judgement for and of others.
And your boots is just one item on a long list of visual clues that we give other people. Boots are our opportunity to exercise intelligent judgement, they can demonstrate our traits whether they are poor and developing, or better and well considered. You can see if someone cares about their appearance, whether their footwear is appropriate to the circumstances and they have the social intelligence to realise the difference. You can see where boot has been cared for, whether they have aged and by implication being worn for long time, if they cannot commit to a boot the chances of them committing to a lifelong commitment has to be lower. When you realise that your boots are saying a lot about you, it is impossible to un-know that fact, that is what maturity is, knowing what others know and to act as if you do not know such a reality exists seems to be a wilful act of self-destruction. Once you cross the Rubicon, you no longer get to pretend that your intentions are peaceful, that you are innocent of any faux pas in footwear, once you have that maturity you either have to display it or have a childish tantrum where you refuse to have your favourite teddy bear trainers put in the washing machine. You just have to accept that you are an adult who is responsible for washing their own footwear, who is capable of looking after themselves without a parent to interfere and save the world from a baking, bacteria infested lump of plastic on your feet.
You have to decide what is important to you, if you want to be a truly unique and independent person who has no regard for the judgement of others that is your choice. It is also completely legitimate to make clear your opinion that other people should not judge you for that choice, however you are setting yourself up for disappointment if you expect other people not to judge you, if you find it disappointing that people fail to live up to your standards and constantly hurt you when they do judge you, you are going to find yourself very unhappy. As a stoic I try to avoid making my happiness on external events or circumstances, internal sources of happiness are a lot more reliable, that does not mean I am immune to what is happening in my world, simply that is not in my control and if it is not I try not to worry about it too much and concentrate my efforts and awareness into the things I do control.
And your boots of definitely something that is in your control, we all have limits on our budget, even billionaires do not have hundred pairs of diamond encrusted Dr Martens. One or two is quite sufficient for any wardrobe, when there are so many other things you could diamond encrust, billionaires are quite financially literate enough to understand this. However wasteful such purchases might be and sometimes that is the point, they would probably be the first to point out the financial benefit of a good pair of boots. That even if a good pair of boots were ten times as expensive as cheap ones, they would last for ten times longer, and even with such a break-even situation you would still get to wear good boots for ten years instead of ten pairs of bad boots, with the added benefit of not having to go shopping nine extra times. Though in reality a good pair might only be twice or three times as expensive. And if the only judgement you take from someone else's pair of boots is whether they are wise enough to avoid shopping as much as possible, that seems the sort of wise judgement you can build a relationship on.
So put on the kind of boots that you see yourself wearing in ten years, the kind of boot that the person you want to be in ten years would wear. Boots whilst completely unimportant are incredibly important, they are a step towards the future, they set the tone, if you wear the boots, you can not help but be a little more like the kind of person who would wear those boots. Sometimes we just have to find an idea plausible for it to become true, so use your boots to time travel to the person you want to be, or just delight in a pretty red number that makes you feel like a princess (non-binary version), feel joyful and dance the night away. As your boots can make you, or you can make your boots.