A ROYAL Marine turned cobbler is among those who have offered their skills to benefit Operation Henry.
David Ross of Uffculme near Exeter, began making bespoke walking boots through his company Ross Boots in 1997. He offered to measure up David for a complimentary pair, which otherwise would have cost him £250.
David said: “My wife suggested I helped David after reading about his trip in the Western Morning News. I have this arrogant belief that every specially designed pair of boots I make will be comfortable on the wearer.
“I have produced a boot which I think addresses the Ministry of Defence’s requirements more effectively than what the MoD supply.”
David’s feet are a size eight and rather slim. Mr Ross made two outline drawings during the fitting – for the boot size he held the pencil vertically and drew around the foot outline, while for the insole he held the pencil slanted inwards to trace around the exact shape of each foot.
According to Mr Ross, many manufacturers deal in full sizes, which only fit 30 per cent of the population. This means that 70 per cent of the population are walking around in shoes that don’t fit properly. “It’s a fact few would dispute that military boots today are made to a price, not to a specification. Since the Second World War technology has concentrated on reducing the price rather than improving the boot.
“I’ve gone back to pre First World War methods. My boots are more expensive than the ones issued by the MoD, but they will last longer and fit you properly.”
Since starting his company, people from the UK, America and Denmark are now wearing Ross Boots products and inquiries have been made from Finland, Italy and Japan.
“People come to me when they have given up trying to find boots that fit in the shops. My boots should last throughout people’s military careers or some 20 years with occasional walking use.”
Ross Boots can be contacted on 01398 331779.