Boot

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Cowboy boots custom made for President Harry S. Truman. Cowboy boots.jpg
Cowboy boots custom made for President Harry S. Truman.
Ancient Greek pair of terracotta boots. Early geometric period cremation burial of a woman, 900 BC, Ancient Agora Museum, Athens AGM Ancient Greek Pair of Terracotta Boots.jpg
Ancient Greek pair of terracotta boots. Early geometric period cremation burial of a woman, 900 BC, Ancient Agora Museum, Athens

A boot is a type of footwear. Most boots mainly cover the foot and the ankle, while some also cover some part of the lower calf. Some boots extend up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. Traditionally made of leather or rubber, modern boots are made from a variety of materials.

Contents

Boots are worn both for their functionality and for reasons of style and fashion. Functional concerns include: protection of the foot and leg from water, mud, pestilence (infectious disease, insect bites and stings, snake bites), extreme temperatures, sharp or blunt hazards (e.g. work boots may provide steel toes), physical abrasion, corrosive agents, or damaging radiation; ankle support and traction for strenuous activities such as hiking; and durability in harsh conditions (e.g. the underside of combat boots may be reinforced with hobnails).

In some cases, the wearing of boots may be required by laws or regulations, such as the regulations in some jurisdictions requiring workers on construction sites to wear steel-toed safety boots. Some uniforms include boots as the regulated footwear. Boots are recommended as well for motorcycle riders. High-top athletic shoes are generally not considered boots, even though they do cover the ankle, primarily due to the absence of a distinct heel. In Britain football (soccer) cleats are also called boots.

History

Oxhide boots from Loulan, Xinjiang, China. Former Han dynasty 220 BC - AD 8. Oxhide boots. Loulan, Xinjiang. Early Han 220 BCE - 8 CE.jpg
Oxhide boots from Loulan, Xinjiang, China. Former Han dynasty 220 BC – AD 8.

Early boots consisted of separate leggings, soles, and uppers worn together to provide greater ankle protection than shoes or sandals. Around 1000 BC, these components were more permanently joined to form a single unit that covered the feet and lower leg, often up to the knee. A type of soft leather ankle boots were worn by nomads in eastern Asia and carried to China to India and Russia around AD 1200 to 1500 by Mongol invaders. The Inuit and Aleut natives of Alaska developed traditional winter boots of caribou skin or sealskin featuring decorative touches of seal intestine, dog hair and suchlike. 17th century European boots were influenced by military styles, featuring thick soles and turnover tops that were originally designed to protect horse mounted soldiers. In the 1700s, distinctive, thigh-high boots worn by Hessian soldiers fighting in the American Revolutionary War influenced the development of the iconic heeled cowboy boots worn by cattlemen in the American west. [1]

Types and uses

Practical uses

A pair of ISO 20345:2004 compliant S3 steel-toed safety boots designed for construction workers. S3 safety footwear.jpg
A pair of ISO 20345:2004 compliant S3 steel-toed safety boots designed for construction workers.
A pair of hobnailed boots Aa hobnailedboots 01.jpg
A pair of hobnailed boots
Fashion boot terminology Fashion boot terminology.png
Fashion boot terminology
A pair of A-12 OXCART Flight Suit Boots A-12 OXCART Flight Suit Boots - Flickr - The Central Intelligence Agency.jpg
A pair of A-12 OXCART Flight Suit Boots

Boots which are designed for walking through snow, shallow water and mud may be made of a single closely stitched design (using leather, rubber, canvas, or similar material) to prevent the entry of water, snow, mud or dirt through gaps between the laces and tongue found in other types of shoes. Waterproof gumboots are made in different lengths of uppers. In extreme cases, thigh-boots called waders, worn by anglers, extend to the hip. Such boots may also be insulated for warmth. With the exception of gum boots, boots sold in general retail stores may be considered "water resistant," as they are not usually fully waterproof, compared to advanced material boots, such as Gore-Tex, used regularly by fishers or hikers.

Speciality boots have been made to protect steelworkers' feet and calves if they accidentally step in puddles of molten metal, to protect workers from a variety of chemical exposure, to protect workers from construction site hazards and to protect feet from extreme cold (e.g., with insulated or inflatable boots for use in Antarctica). Most work boots are "lace ups" made from leather. Formerly they were usually shod with hobnails and heel- and toe-plates, but now can usually be seen with a thick rubber sole, and often with steel toecaps. [2] While gumboots are often used in workplaces, such as underground mines, studies have shown that workers prefer "lace up" boots mainly due to their support and better fit. [3]

Boots are normally worn with socks to prevent chafes and blisters, to absorb sweat, to improve the foot's grip inside the boot, or to insulate the foot from the cold. Before socks became widely available, footwraps were worn instead.

Specialty boots have been designed for many different types of sports, particularly riding, skiing, snowboarding, ice-skating, and sporting in wet/damp conditions.

Fashion and fetish use

A pair of "classic" black leather Doc Martens. While these boots were originally designed as workwear (they are resistant to petrol, alkaline chemicals and other substances), they were adopted as a fashion item by the skinhead and punk subcultures. Dr Martens, black, old.jpg
A pair of "classic" black leather Doc Martens. While these boots were originally designed as workwear (they are resistant to petrol, alkaline chemicals and other substances), they were adopted as a fashion item by the skinhead and punk subcultures.

Bovver boots, Doc Martens boots and army boots were adopted by skinheads and punks as part of their typical dress and have migrated to more mainstream fashion, including women's wear. [4] As a more rugged alternative to dress shoes, dress boots may be worn (though these can be more formal than shoes). Fashionable boots for women may exhibit all the variations seen in other fashion footwear: tapered or spike heels, platform soles, pointed toes, zipper closures and the like. The popularity of boots as fashion footwear ebbs and flows. Singer Nancy Sinatra popularized the fad of women wearing boots in the late 1960s with her song "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". They were popular in the 1960s and 1970s (particularly knee-high boots), but diminished in popularity towards the end of the 20th century. In the 2010s, they experienced a resurgence in popularity, especially designs with a long bootleg.[ citation needed ][ vague ] Boot bolos, boot bracelets, boot straps, boot chains, and boot harnesses are used to decorate boots. Sandal boots also exist.

High leather boots are the object of sexual attraction by some people, notably boot fetishists. PinkVisual boots.jpg
High leather boots are the object of sexual attraction by some people, notably boot fetishists.

Boots have become the object of sexual attraction for some people and they have become a standard accessory in the BDSM scene (where leather, latex and PVC boots are favoured) and a fashion accessory in music videos. [5] Knee- or thigh-high leather boots are worn by some strippers and pornography models and actresses. Boots have even become a sexual fetish for devotees known as boot fetishists and foot fetishists.

Boot parts and accessories

Boot hooks (left) and a boot jack (right) are sometimes required to put on or take off some types of boots HooksAndBootjack.jpg
Boot hooks (left) and a boot jack (right) are sometimes required to put on or take off some types of boots

As symbols

In heraldry

Coat of arms of Aresches municipality in France displays a boot in the heraldic left field. Blason Aresches.svg
Coat of arms of Aresches municipality in France displays a boot in the heraldic left field.

As boots have been used by riders for millennia, they were used by knights. As a consequence, albeit not common, boots came to be used as charges in heraldry.

Because of the origin of heraldry as insignia used by mounted warriors like the medieval knights, when boots are used in heraldry, they are often displayed as riding boots, even if the blazon might not specify it as such. They are sometimes adorned with spurs, which may or may not have another tincture (colour) than the boot and the background field.

Boots were also used in coats of arms of shoemakers' guilds and in shop signs outside their shops.

Idioms and cultural references

A pair of tall riding boots Fieldboots.jpg
A pair of tall riding boots
Calfhigh leather boots with stiletto heel (Le Silla). Stiefelwiki1e.jpg
Calfhigh leather boots with stiletto heel (Le Silla).
Exhibit of the world's largest boot - Mongolian shoemaking. Museum Complex Tsonzhin Boldog, Mongolia Eksponat samogo bol'shogo v mire sapoga - mongol'skogo gutala. Muzeinyi kompleks Tsonzhin Boldog, Mongoliia.jpg
Exhibit of the world's largest boot - Mongolian shoemaking. Museum Complex Tsonzhin Boldog, Mongolia
A pair of New Rock boots, popular in the Gothic and biker subcultures New-Rock-boots.jpg
A pair of New Rock boots, popular in the Gothic and biker subcultures

See also

Related Research Articles

Shoe Durable type of footwear worn in most cultures

A shoe is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration and fashion. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with form originally being tied to function. Though the human foot can adapt to varied terrains and climate conditions, it is still vulnerable to environmental hazards such as sharp rocks and temperature extremes, which shoes protect against. Some shoes are worn as safety equipment, such as steel-toe boots which are required footwear at industrial worksites.

Footwear Garments worn on feet

Footwear refers to garments worn on the feet, which typically serves the purpose of protection against adversities of the environment such as ground textures and temperature. Footwear in the manner of shoes therefore primarily serves the purpose to ease locomotion and prevent injuries. Footwear can also be used for fashion and adornment as well as to indicate the status or rank of the person within a social structure. Socks and other hosiery are typically worn additionally between the feet and other footwear for further comfort and relief. Cultures have different customs regarding footwear. These include not using any in some situations, usually bearing a symbolic meaning. This can however also be imposed on specific individuals to place them at a practical disadvantage against shod people, if they are excluded from having footwear available or are prohibited from using any. This usually takes place in situations of captivity, such as imprisonment or slavery, where the groups are among other things distinctly divided by whether or whether not footwear is being worn.

Wellington boot Type of footwear

The Wellington boot was originally a type of leather boot adapted from Hessian boots, a style of military riding boot. They were worn and popularised by Arthur Wellesley, 1st Duke of Wellington. The "Wellington" boot became a staple of practical foot wear for the British aristocracy and middle class in the early 19th century. The name was subsequently given to waterproof boots made of rubber and they are no longer associated with a particular class. They are now commonly used for a range of agricultural and outdoors pursuits.

Clog Footwear made in part or completely of wood

Clogs are a type of footwear made in part or completely from wood. Clogs are used worldwide and although the form may vary by culture, within a culture the form often remained unchanged for centuries.

Riding boot

A riding boot is a boot made to be used for horse riding. The classic boot comes high enough up the leg to prevent the leathers of the saddle from pinching the leg of the rider, has a sturdy toe to protect the rider's foot when on the ground and has a distinct heel to prevent the foot from sliding through the stirrup. The sole is smooth or lightly textured to avoid being caught on the tread of the stirrup in the event of a fall.

Thigh-high boots

Thigh-high boots, known also as thigh-length boots or simply thigh boots, are boots that extend above the knees to at least mid-thigh. Other terms for this footwear include over-the-knee boots and, especially when cuffed, pirate boots. Lengths vary from reaching just over the knee to reaching almost to the crotch.

Sandal Type of footwear with an open upper

Sandals are an open type of footwear, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by straps going over the instep and around the ankle. Sandals can also have a heel. While the distinction between sandals and other types of footwear can sometimes be blurry, the common understanding is that a sandal leaves all or most of the foot exposed. People may choose to wear sandals for several reasons, among them comfort in warm weather, economy, and as a fashion choice.

Motorcycle boot

Motorcycle boots are associated with motorcycle riders and range from above ankle to below knee boots. They have an outside of a typical boot but a low heel to control the motorcycle. To improve motorcycle safety, motorcycle boots are generally made from a thick, heavy leather and may include energy absorbing and load spreading padding, metal, plastic and/or composite materials to protect the motorcycle rider's feet, ankles and legs in an accident. For use in wet weather, some boots have a waterproof membrane lining such as Gore-Tex or SympaTex.

Combat boot

Combat boots are military boots designed to be worn by soldiers during combat or combat training, as opposed to during parades and other ceremonial duties. Modern combat boots are designed to provide a combination of grip, ankle stability, and foot protection suitable for a rugged environment. They are traditionally made of hardened and sometimes waterproofed leather. Today, many combat boots incorporate technologies originating in civilian hiking boots, such as Gore-Tex nylon side panels, which improve ventilation and comfort. They are also often specialized for certain climates and conditions, such as jungle boots, desert boots, and cold weather boots as well as specific uses, such as tanker boots and jump boots.

Jump boot

Jump boots are standard footgear for Paratroopers and Airborne Forces featuring calf-length lacing and rigid toe caps. The style is a type of combat boot and versions were developed in many countries simultaneously with the adoption of airborne infantry forces during World War II. Modern jump boots are earned in some countries and therefore have become a mark of achievement and distinction, mainly worn as dress and parade boots. The uppers are generally made of smooth black leather with toe-caps and heel counters that accept a high polish. It is also a paratrooper tradition to lace jump boots in a ladder or cobweb style which increases ankle support during a parachute jump.

Engineer boot Leather work-boots

Engineer boots, also known as engineer's boots or engineering boots, are an American type of traditional leather work-boots. Their lace-less, rugged construction made them popular among motorcycle riders. Originally developed in the 1930s for firemen working on steam locomotives, the boots gained substantial popularity in the post–World War II era during a growing motorcycling culture. They became popular symbols of teenage rebellion in the 1950s and a common component of greaser wear. They were later adopted by skinheads and punks in the 1970s. By the 2010s, engineer boots were being popularly worn for fashion purposes, especially by non-traditional customers such as women, young urban professionals, and hipsters.

Court shoe

A court shoe, or pump, is a shoe with a low-cut front, or vamp, with either a shoe buckle or a black bow as ostensible fastening. Deriving from the 17th and 18th century dress shoes with shoe buckles, the vamped pump shape emerged in the late 18th century. By the turn of the 19th century, shoe buckles were increasingly replaced by black bows, which has remained the contemporary style for men's formal wear, leather or patent leather evening pumps ever since. This latter style is sometimes also called an opera pump or opera slipper.

Jackboot Military boot

A jackboot is a military boot such as the cavalry jackboot or the hobnailed jackboot. The hobnailed jackboot has a different design and function from the first type. It is a combat boot that is designed for marching. It rises to mid-calf or higher with no laces and usually has a leather sole with hobnails. Jackboots have been associated with totalitarianism, as they were worn by German military and paramilitary forces during the Second World War.

Caligae

Caligae are heavy-soled hobnailed military sandal-boots that were worn as standard issue by Roman legionary foot-soldiers and auxiliaries, including cavalry.

Hobnail

In footwear, a hobnail is a short nail with a thick head used to increase the durability of boot soles.

Ammunition boots, also known as Boots, ankle, General Service (BGS), were the standard footwear for the British Army from the late 1880s until the late 1950s. They replaced the earlier ankle boots that had been in service since the early 1800s.

Dress boots are short leather boots typically worn by men. Built like dress shoes, but with uppers covering the ankle, versions of the boots are used as an alternative to these in bad weather or rough outdoor situation, and as a traditional option for day time formalwear.

Fashion boot

A fashion boot is a boot worn for reasons of style or fashion. The term is usually applied to women's boots. Fashion boots come in a wide variety of styles, from ankle to thigh-length, and are used for casual, formal, and business attire. Although boots were a popular style of women's footwear in the Nineteenth Century, they were not recognized as a high fashion item until the 1960s. They became widely popular in the 1970s and have remained a staple of women's winter wardrobes since then.

References

  1. Fiona McDonald (30 July 2006). Shoes and Boots Through History. Gareth Stevens. ISBN   978-0-8368-6857-9 . Retrieved 26 January 2012.
  2. "Making Sure Your Work Boots Make the Grade". Drew's Boots. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  3. Collection, Thomas George. "What are the most comfortable men's boots?". Thomas George Collection. Retrieved 2021-07-19.
  4. Margo DeMello (1 September 2009). Feet and footwear: a cultural encyclopedia. Macmillan. pp. 65–. ISBN   978-0-313-35714-5. Archived from the original on 2 June 2013. Retrieved 29 January 2012.
  5. Alex Henderson (Jan 8, 2014). "Kinky Boots: An Enduring Symbol in Fetish Fashion". XBIZ.
  6. "American English Thesaurus". "as tough as old boots" phrase. Macmillan Publishers Limited 2009–2012. Archived from the original on 12 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  7. "It's been widely suggested that the "bootstrap" metaphor originated in the legendary tales of Baron von Münchhausen. As Chris Waigl recently pointed out on the Eggcorn Database (commenting on "boots-trap"), the original German version has a scene in which Münchhausen gets out of a swamp by pulling on his own hair. In an American retelling (supposedly), the Baron uses his bootstraps to pull himself out of a similar predicament. None of the 19th-century cites I've seen allude to the Münchhausen story -- instead, they often refer to pulling oneself over a fence or up a steeple. So if Münchhausen really pulls himself up by his bootstraps in an American version (which I have yet to verify), then the writer probably took advantage of preexisting imagery for an absurdly impossible task." Benjamin Zimmer, American Dialect Society, 11 August 2005 - "figurative "bootstraps" (1834)". listserv.linguistlist.org (Mailing list).
  8. "boot". The Free Dictionary, 2012 by Farlex, Inc. Retrieved 26 January 2012.