Taking Inventory: Boots

Made for walkin’

Back in February, in this very column, we discussed in detail how “leggings” were perhaps named as a compromise between British and American English. But there’s no such transatlantic awkwardness with the item we’re covering today. In fact it’s perhaps the most leg-end-ary item in the game: boots.

Boots are the cheapest type of armour to craft. Four leather or four ingots (diamond, gold, or iron) in the bottom left and right corners of the crafting grid gets you a pair. You can also find them in chests, for purchase, or even by fishing them up. 

It’s said that you can only get to know a zombie, skeleton, or zombie pigman by walking a mile in their boots. Which can only be acquired by killing them. But then you’re a mile away and you’ve got a free pair of boots. So that’s a win-win.

Armour was intended to be part of the game from the very beginning. Originally, the plan was that there would be two types – iron and steel. But when it was implemented in February 2010, it came in the five varieties that remain today – leather, gold, iron, chainmail, and diamond. At first, the differences were merely cosmetic, but in version 1.0.0 a tier system was implemented, where each level of armour offers different levels of protection and durability.

Every type of boots has a number of armour points, which are signified by shields above the health bar. Each half-shield reduces damage by four percent, and the highest level of protection a player can acquire is 80 percent. There’s also another factor called toughness, which only applies to diamond armour, but we’ll come back to that another day.

The coolest boots in Minecraft are undoubtedly Frost Walker boots. So cool, in fact, that they freeze any water that you walk on. Be careful, though – you’ve got to keep moving to keep the ice frozen, or it’ll melt naturally and you’ll fall into the water.

In the real world, boots emerged at some point before 1000BC – perhaps as a way of avoiding pain when stepping on the toys your kid left out in the middle of the floor while you just try to get a glass of water in the middle of the night. They were differentiated from normal shoes by an upper section that provided more protection for the ankle – and sometimes reached all the way up to the knee. 

The Inuit and Aleut people of what is now Alaska also developed boots made of caribou or sealskin, which were often decorated with dog hair and seal intestine. Delightful!

Modern boots were first defined by the Duke of Wales, during the Hundred Years’ War, when he described them as: “That sturdy, stiff shyue off a type ne'er seent heretofore wi' high scuppers and ye nailes on the souyle.”

Today there are all kinds of boots made for different purposes. Army boots, cowboy boots, Wellington boots, riding boots, dress boots, hiking boots, and more. There’s probably a pair of some sort in your house right now. So next time you’ve got a mucky task to do – make sure to wear a pair of boots. They’re good for the sole.

Written By
Duncan Geere