Swellboy on… accessorising broken limbs

Some stylish ideas to replace hospital-issue boots

I am not sure what is the worst part about my broken foot: the pain, the inconvenience or the hideous boot. Things have moved on since the plaster casts of my childhood, over which it was de rigueur for one’s school friends to scrawl their names, scribble drawings and otherwise leave their mark. Now the leg is placed in a plastic boot with inflatable panels to lock it in place, keeping the foot flat and immobile.

But while it is medicinally effective, the makers have paid scant attention to the style of the thing: the politest way to describe it is cumbersome. It does not help that the boot I was presented with is office-equipment grey, in the sort of shade I might have considered had I been decorating a call centre in the late 1990s. Much as Kandinsky saw colours when he listened to music, I look at the colour of this boot and it conjures up with distressing vividness an open-plan world of chipped veneers, telephone headsets, plastic cups of thrice-boiled brackish water masquerading as coffee and water coolers that are petri dishes of legionnaires’ disease. When it was presented to me at The Princess Grace Hospital pay-as-you-go accident and emergency service, I was at a low ebb anyway and I almost shed tears of self pity and anger.


Once I am velcroed in and pumped up, I cannot make up my mind whether I look like RoboCop channelling the Michelin Man or vice versa… neither of which is a look that I have gone out of my way to affect. Still, I have been offered some advice by a friend who spends a lot of time in Tokyo. He told me that one particularly fashion-forward friend of his over there had sustained a similar injury and was confined to a boot, but instead of hobbling around on one, she had purchased a pair in black and wore them so convincingly that all her friends believed them to be the latest work of a particularly avant-garde shoe designer.

Clearly in Tokyo they know about accessorising broken limbs and I was considering a quick stroll down the Ginza for some styling tips. However, I have been advised to avoid long-distance flights in my current state. Instead, I might try my luck at the slightly more conveniently located Dover Street Market [pictured]. Founded by the far-sighted Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, it is almost a bit of Japan in London and has moved to the historic Burberry building just south of Piccadilly. So, fortified with hefty doses of co-codamol, I am thinking of hobbling over to what should really be called Haymarket Market to see whether anyone there has tips on rendering my surgical boot more chic.