What is a Boot?
The modern definition of a boot (plural: boots) is a general one. It refers to any type of footwear, but that typically covers the foot and the ankle, but some styles cover a lot more, with some variants extending to the lower calf, knee and some as far as the hip. Also, they generally have heels that are clearly identified as distinct from the sole, even when they are made from a single piece.
Boots in History
The oldest record of boots is found in a painting made in a cave in Spain. It is dated between 12 – 15 000 B.C.E The painting depicts a man and woman in boots of skin and fur respectively. Boots were found in the tombs of the Pharaohs of ancient Egypt. Records also exist of boots worn by the Greeks.
Boots were word in ancient times by the ruling class, with kings and emperors wearing colorful boots while the ordinary people walked bare-footed.
All through the Middle Ages, the styles of boots established in ancient times endured into the 15th century. By this time, they had become more common place, and were mostly men’s boots’; long boots made of brown leather that extended to the thighs. Women mostly wore ankle boots with fur lining.
From the 16th up to the 20th century, boots gained a lot of popularity and came to be worn by both men and women, with many other styles being born.
For a more detailed look at boot styles, check out our blog post on Men’s boot styles.
Modern boots are worn for a number of reasons, both for its functionality, that is, protection from the elements or workplace hazards. Work boots, for example, protect from chemicals and heavy objects, and might often incorporate a steel toe. Boots are also used to provide traction for strenuous activities such as for hiking or mountain climbing. Boots are worn for style or fashion.
Boots are were traditionally made from leather or rubber but have since adapted as the needs of the wearers change. Boots or most often made of leather, but other materials that have seen use are silk, wool, felt, cotton, and furs. A good example of this are the boots used by the Innuits, called kamiks. Made from the hide of the caribou or the skin of seals, these boots are warm and waterproof, made so by a clever method of using sinews for stiches and ensures a waterproof joint between the sole and the upper part.