Heroes – mens shoes that will never be filled

Talent, hard work and guts are ingredients that make a man stand out from the crowd.

But to be revered, even generations after your death takes something extra; greatness. Here are some of the men who had it; men whose shoes will never be filled.

Sir Ernest Shackleton 1874-1922

snow shoes

Unfillable snow shoes

Shackleton is best known for his failed attempt to cross the Antarctic continent.

When his ice bound ship, the ‘Endeavour’ broke up and sank on 21st November 1915, he moved his crew onto the ice. There they camped for the next two months. When the ice floe began to break up he ordered his men to the ship’s boats. Five days later they landed on the remote and inhospitable Elephant Island. Far from the shipping routes, Shackleton, knew that the only chance of salvation lay in getting out.

Shackleton sailed 800 miles in an open boat to South Georgia to get help, eventually returning with a tug boat borrowed from the Chilean government. He saved all his men and entered the history books as one of the greatest polar explorers.

Joshua Slocum 1844-1909

deck shoes

Unfillable deck shoes

Dame Ellen MacArthur wept in the Southern Ocean – Joshua Slocum certainly did not. The man credited with being first to circumnavigate the globe left Boston, Massachusetts on 24th April 1895, aboard his boat, the ‘Spray’.

Three years later, he sailed into Newport, Rhode Island having sailed some 46,000 miles. His book, ‘Sailing alone around the world’ was an instant hit – Arthur Ransome wrote of it; ‘boys who do not like this book ought to be drowned at once’. Quite.

Bill Tilman 1898-1977


Unfillable crampons

During the First World War Bill Tilman was twice awarded the Military cross for bravery. Afterwards, he became a mountaineer and explorer of great renown and was a member of two Everest expeditions, gaining the nickname, ‘Himal Bill’.

After again seeing action in the second World War, Tilman took to the seas, sailing into both Arctic and Antarctic waters in search of unclimbed peaks.

Understatement is a characteristic of which Bill Tilman was a superb exponent. Speaking of his joy at reaching a Himalayan summit he says of his reaction and that of his climbing mate; ‘I believe we so far forgot ourselves as to shake hands on it.’

Bill Tilman perished in the seas off the Falklands aged 79.

Sir Winston Churchill 1874-1965

Churchill slippers

Unfillable Churchill slippers

Britain’s greatest wartime leader, Churchill epitomised the fighting spirit of the British people. Standing defiantly against Hitler, he refused to countenance defeat, galvanising the nation to resist the fascist horde.

Men like Churchill are not born but made. The qualities that shone during the war were honed over a lifetime. Churchill’s parliamentary career is littered with setbacks; mistakes from which he learnt and which ultimately, contributed to the indefatigability that won the war.

Elvis Presley 1935-1977

blue suede shoes

Unfillable blue suede shoes

Persistence is a quality that Elvis had in spades. Told numerous times during his childhood and adolescence, that he was a useless singer, Presley just kept trying. To begin with, he suffered from stage fright so severe that he could barely perform. As a young adult, he struggled to find a label to record him, and then struggled to get air time because his style was new. That he continued speaks volumes about his grit and determination.

Elvis produced some incredible music during his career and although his end was sad – let’s face it, there will only be one ‘King of rock and roll’.

Most of us will never be able to fill mens shoes like these – but we can still enjoy the achievements, adventures and legacy these men left.

Chelsea boots, black cabs and bacon baps — Great British exports

With terrible weather, the huff and puff about recession and a tendency to moan about everything, it’s a wonder why millions of tourists still visit Britain each year. Or is it?

Keeping the ‘Great’ well and truly connected to ‘Britain’ is what gives visitors pukka British products and experiences to take away.

Here’s a taste of some great unofficial British exports:

Bacon baps

bacon bap

The Great British breakfast goes mobile
Photo: Joe Gough - Bigstockphoto.com

For the more health conscious tourists, there’s porridge, cereals or a lovely slice of toast, but sometimes you need to submit to the grease.

Known to turn veggies and stop traffic, the Great British fry-up has built empires. And for those on the move or after something just a little bit lighter, the bacon bap offers the true taste of Britain.

Black cabs

London Black Cab

The King of Cabs - London Taxis
Photo: Monkey Business Images

There are taxis and then there’s the black cab. Right up there with the red bus as an iconic symbol of London, the black cab is a durable, hard-working beast, but still manages to always look smart and dignified.

Keep calm and carry on — is a fitting motto for the black cab.

Chelsea boots

chelsea boots

The classic British boot
Photo: Samuel Windsor

Among the huge selection of iconic shoes created in Britain, Chelsea boots step into the limelight as the soul of Great Britain.

Created in the inventive Victorian era, Chelsea boots are flexible, robust and stylishly conservative — just like the population.

Sunday lunches

Sunday Roast

Sensational Sunday roast
Photo: Chris Elwell - Bigstockphoto.com

Filled with random things like dartboards, whippets and pork scratchings, British pubs are a truly memorable experience for tourists.

Throw in a roast beef and horseradish lunch, the Sunday newspapers and a game of rugby or football on the telly and it don’t get much greater.


British Countryside

Beautiful British Countryside
Photo: Kevin Eaves - Fotolia.com

Whether it’s the Highlands of Scotland, the valleys of Wales or the coastlines of Cornwall, Great Britain’s dramatic countryside is arguably the most beautiful in the world.

And the small villages and rural communities around these areas offer some great British novelties like Morris dancing, caber-tossing and a taste of Welsh rarebit.

Great music

top of the pops

Great Britain is still top of the pops
Photo: so80s.co.uk

From the Rolling Stones to Radiohead, from PJ Harvey to PJ and Duncan, nowhere in the world has produced such an incredibly impressive wealth and variety of music talent.

Compare Great Britain to a country of relative size like New Zealand and it’s quite astonishing just how much brilliant music has been created.

Handsome handmade shoes

In a world of mass-produced and factory-made footwear, it’s a refreshing sight to see a pair of handsome handmade shoes.

Using natural materials, imagination and some traditional techniques, a shoemaker creates functional masterpieces for our feet.

Sometimes the results look so good, you won’t know whether to wear them or frame them on the wall.

hand knitted shoes

Hand knitted shoes
Photo by Amy Gizienski

joker shoe

Hand made joker shoe
Photo by Keith Williamson

snow shoes

Hand woven snow shoes
Photo by Mary Anne Enriquez

Hand painted shoes

Hand painted shoes
Photo by Shannon Kringen

woollen shoes

Hand moulded shoes
Photo by Inger Maaike

wooden shoes

Hand chiseled shoes
Photo by Sicko Atze van Dijk

straw shoes

Hand sewn shoes
Photo by Shi Yali

Khussa HandMade Shoes

Hand decorated shoes
Photo by Amir Taj