Wednesday, 15 July 2009


In 1969 when I was aged 11, I got to buy a pair of shoes called Springers. What made them different to the shoes I had worn up to that point was the fact they had leather soles. There was a mad rush with most boys to get Springers because one of the things that made them popular were the segs that went with them. Segs were metal clips that were hammered into the soles to protect the leather. Adults would usually put in about 4 segs on their brogues, but kids being kids, we ended up buying 2 packets worth and putting the whole lot on, resembling the photo above. You could always tell when someone was wearing Springers because of the clickety-clack racket they made walking along the pavement...again another aspect that made them appealing to kids!
Style-wise the upper had a wider than normal brim where the stitching was connected to the sole, so they were quite distinctive visually too.  
However, one of the dangers of going out in these shoes was when we used to jump off the back of a bus when it was still in motion. I think you can guess the outcome...skitin' all over the pavement out of control, sparks flying and ending up smacking into a lampie..!!


  1. Ha ha, remember them well. Also remember the blisters on my heels tryin g to break them in...ouch!

    1. Hi m8 I know its been a few yeas but you wouldn't happen to have a full picture of the springer shoes or where I could get one ?

  2. They were also the best for Northern soul dancing, but the main dance halls would not let you in if you had segs in them because of the damage they did to the varnished wooden floorbords!

  3. Er...a wee footnote...the word "seg" or "segs" isn't in the dictionary. I've looked through my own one at home and checked out a couple on the net and it isn't in. Too archaic?!!

  4. I tried putting them in my rubber soled shoes,but they wouldnt stay in.

  5. I remember them well and ripped the arse out of my first pair of flared school trousers in 1970 after falling over in the playground as a result of wearing seg loaded springers.
    Seg is a particularly Scottish word, they are known as blake-ies in England.
    Please do not go into a cobbler's shop in London and ask for some "segs"; this can be misinterpreted especially with the Dundee accent.

  6. I remember Segs .... not the ones that you put in your shoes but the drummer from Plastic Surgery !

  7. Ever try playin' futba in the playground with a "tenniser" and shoes full of segs?
    Mike G.

  8. Mind we used to skim the souls of our shoes along the ground to create they are a great band :-p


    Re: segs.

    The word appears in The Dictionary of the Scots Language (DSL) at:-

    However, none of the numerous meanings listed there have anything to do with shoe sole and heel reinforcement.

    The word does not appear in the Compact Oxford English Dictionary at:-

    However, it does appear in the full Oxford English Dictionary at:-

    According to that dictionary, it is a relatively new word, the first appearance in print being logged as 1958.

    "A metal stud attached to the toe or heel of a shoe (or boot) to strengthen or protect from wear.
    1958 Shoe & Leather Trades Buyers Reg., Brands Directory & Diary 100/1 Blakey's Boot Protectors Ltd.,... Boot protectors..all sorts and sizes, malleable cast hob nails, segs & studs, cricket spikes. 1970 Guardian 24 Dec. 9/3 The boys made indoor slides across the hall..scoring great weals in the polish with their segs and blakeys."

    Looks like it was a word that was used verbally to a great extent but nobody wrote it down. If anyone knows of an earlier use in print, the Oxford people would like to know.

    By the way, the word doesn't even appear in the "Dundickshonary and Saintandrewsaurus", now archived at:-

    PS: Why do so many contributors to Retro Dundee not stick in a name at "Choose an identity"? Unless, of course, they are all by one person who conceals his or her identity to protect the innocent...


  10. i know, it's very irratating !!!

  11. does anyone know where I can get a picture of the Springer shoes thanks

  12. I remember sliding down the corridors at stobswell in my new springers with segs. And landing on my arse. Wish I could get a pair now, smart as fuck.

  13. I remember Springers. Probably the comfiest smartest shoe I ever wore. Lovely stitched welt. Had the sega and I think I had the steel half moon on the heel.