- This article is about a type of footwear. For other uses of the word "boot" see boot (disambiguation).
A pair of "classic" black leather Dr. Martens.
is a type of footwear
which covers at least the foot
and usually the ankle
, and sometimes extends up to the knee
or even the hip
. They come in every imaginable variation of height, color, material and style. Most have a heel which is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. Originally boots were made for working wear.
Boots which are designed as protection from the elements may be made of a single closely-stitched piece (of leather, rubber, etc) to prevent the entry of water, mud or dirt through the gaps left between laces and tongue in other types of shoes.
Other types of boots are sturdy in nature, meant for protection in wilderness or industrial settings. Work boots such as Dr. Martens boots have been adopted by skinheads and punks as part of their typical dress. However they are also a common fashion item for women in many countries.
Fashionable boots for women may have all the variations seen in other women's shoes: tapered or spike heels, platform soles, pointed toes, zipper closures and the rest.
Specialty boots have been designed for many different types of sport, particularly Rugby football or soccer, riding, skiing and snowboarding, skating and working or sporting in wet conditions.
Boots have their own devotees among shoe fetishists and foot fetishists.
Tall boots, such as those designed for military dress and horseback riding may have a tab, loop or handle at the top known as a bootstrap, allowing one to use fingers or a tool to provide better leverage in getting the boots on. A German legend about a boy lifting himself by his bootstraps into the air, allowing him to fly, has led to the word's metaphorical use in many different contexts; see bootstrapping and booting.
Working boots have been designed for a wide range of conditions. Simple waterproof gumboots are made in different length of uppers and, in extreme cases, thigh-boots called "waders" by anglers end at waist-level of the wearer. Boots are made to temporarily protect steelworkers if they get caught in pools of molten metal; chemical workers are protected by their boots and there are insulated, inflatable, boots designed for walking in the Antarctic continent. However most workboots are "laceups" made from leather and shod with hobnails and heal- and toe-plates.
Boots in idiom
Boots, particularly those worn as protective footwear by workers (work boots) have a reputation for being as hard-wearing as their owners, hence the expression "tough as old boots".
A long established cliché of anglers, especially those who are inexperienced or angling in waters known to be poor for fish, is that of the "old boot", caught in place of the expected fish. This can be seen in many cartoons, parodies, etc., and is usually depicted dripping with weeds and with part of the sole detached, giving the impression of an open mouth.
Another fate of a discarded boot is in the construction of a musical instrument known as the "mendoza".
To "die with one's boots on" means to die from violence as opposed to from natural causes (to "die in bed"); hence Boot Hill as a popular name for
Wild West cemeteries.
Boot camp a colloquial term for the initial training of new recruits enlisting in a military organization.
Types of boots