Mongolian Boot, Kueihua, Mongolia, c. 1929. Embossed and appliquéd black, red, and green leather, up-turned toe, Chinese corded sole with leather tread sole. PM33-76-60/342
Lama’s Boot, Tsang District, Tibet, c. 1912. Mongolian-style boots. Slit down the back of the leg allowed the upper part to be folded down and secured with a thong for a tight fit. PM 13-24-60/84774
Arctic Boots, Alaska, c. 1960. Formed rawhide sole with a pieced, two-color, patchwork leather upper. Glass-bead decoration and straps attached to the soles. PM 62-24-10/39163
Leather Boots, Algeria, c. 1953. Embossed red-leather uppers, with light brown leather heel and toe vamps. Metal and rubber soles constructed from a Goodyear tire. PM 54-4-50/9675
Winter Boots, Coast Chukchi, Gulf of Anadyr, Russia, Undated. Pair of man’s fur boots. Unlined fur boots with dew claws on the sole and leather ties around the ankle. PM 10-22-60/76056
Woman’s boot, Chuan Pien, China, c. 1930. Leather sole and uppers of red and black wool and blue and yellow cotton. PM 37-131-60/3074
Manchu-Style Silk Boot, China, c. 1900. Man’s black silk boot with white cotton platform corded sole, about 2 inches high. PM 991-12-60/15017

Boots are usually defined simply as shoes whose uppers reach above the ankle. Boots are eminently practical and were usually developed for specialized functions: they protect the lower extremities against all manner of injury, from brambles and snakebites to weaponry; a well-oiled boot is waterproof and useful to mariners, fishermen, and dredgers; and a well-constructed riding boot can protect a rider's leg from the weight of a fallen horse. Most boot designs developed from existing shoe designs. Arctic boots, however, seem to have developed from sandals. As human beings entered the extreme North they extended and curled the bottoms of their sandals to protect their feet and added a sock or leggings. As time went on, they began to sew the sock directly to the edges of the sandal. The remnants of the sandal are often seen in the straps still affixed to the edge of the sole.