A boot 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. more...
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 of different kinds
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. 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.
Other types of boots are sturdy in nature, meant for protection in wilderness or industrial settings. Specialty boots have been made to temporarily protect steelworkers if they get caught in pools of molten metal; to protect chemical workers from a wide variety of chemical exposure; and there are insulated, inflatable, boots designed for walking in the Antarctic continent. However most work boots are "laceups" made from leather and shod with hobnails, and heel- and toe-plates. Such work boots (like the popular Dr. Martens) were adopted by skinheads and punks as part of their typical dress, and have migrated from there to more mainstream fashion, including women's wear.
Fashionable boots for women may have all the variations seen in other fashion footwear: 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 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.
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.
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