BOOT, a lengthened kind of shoe, which is among the most ancient articles of attire. The form has varied quite as much as the material of which it is made. These differ ences of form and material are not merely due to caprices of fashion but owe their existence in great part to climatic conditions and to the necessities of the daily life and occupations of the wearers. The lightest sandal, which simply defends the sole of the foot, is appropriate for conditions amid tropical sands, while a Greenland winter demands the closest, most warm and water-tight foot-covering that can be devised. From the elementary covering of the sandal grows up the slipper, in which straps are dispensed with and a sufficient "upper° of leather or other material provided to keep it on the foot. The short shoe is the next stage, being laced, buttoned or otherwise fastened on the foot; and in the boot the upper is continued so as to embrace more or less of the leg. An cient foot-coverings were mostly of the sandal type and the development of these is described in the article SHOES. Here are given a few historical particulars respecting boots regularly so called. In medieval times shoes with long, pointed toes were worn by the high-born, and toward the end of the 14th century these points became ridiculously elongated, so that there appeared to he a long strap projecting from each foot. Different kinds of half-boots were worn by the Anglo-Saxons and Anglo-Nor mans; and in the reigns of Edward IV, if not earlier, the boot proper, with tops and spurs, was established as an article of knightly dress. In the reign of Charles I, a species of boot, exceedingly wide at the top, made of Spanish leather, came into use; and with Charles II the highly-decorated French boot was intro duced as an article of gay courtly attire. Mean while, the jackboot, as it is called, had become indispensable in the costume of cavalry sol diers and horsemen generally, and by William III and his followers it was generally natural ized in England. This huge species of boot
remained in use in British cavalry regiments until comparatively recent times, and, in a somewhat polished and improved form, it is still worn by the Horse-Guards. The jack boot is almost entitled to be called the parent of the top-boot and some other varieties. Boots with tops of a yellow color were so commonly worn by gentlemen in the 18th century as to become a peculiarity in the national costume of the English. When Philip, Duke of Orleans, and other revolutionists of note, affected to imitate the sentiments and manners of the English, they ostentatiously wore top-boots. Among jockeys and fox-hunters, top-boots are likely to remain in permanent use. What per haps contributed to break up their general use was the introduction of the Hessian boot as an article of walking dress. Worn over tight' pantaloons, the Hessian boot was a handsome piece of attire, giving, undoubtedly, an elegant appearance to the nether costume. Boots of this shape were worn by English general offi cers in the early part of the French war and somewhat later. At length they were super seded by the well-known Wellington boot, which, as its name imports, was introduced by the great Duke as a simplification under the loose military trousers. When the name of Blucher was given to a half-boot, the Wel lington was almost entirely abandoned in Eng land in consequence of the universal use of short ankle-boots. It is still largely used in some continental countries and in the rural districts of the United States. At present boots are worn by cavalry and horsemen gen erally, though leather leggms, known as puttees, are fast becoming general. Boots are made of rubber and cloth, and in such forms are much used by those who work in water or damp places. See BOOTS AND SHOES.