Boot Jack Basics
Growing up, I never had a boot jack, so I would always have muddy socks from pulling my filthy rubber boots off after a visit to the yard. Now I live somewhere much drier, I own three boot jacks and a boot scraper—and much happier socks!
Boot jacks aren’t exactly cutting-edge technology—they’ve been around for a while. They’re pretty handy devices that allow you to remove your boots without damaging them or getting your hands dirty. We’ll share when and how to use a boot jack, and also how to make your own.
Boot Jack Defined
A boot jack is a great tool that helps take off your boots without using your hands.
You slip the heel of the boot you want to remove into the U-shaped opening, stand your other foot firmly on the flat part of the jack, and then pull upwards on the boot heel.
Voila—your boot will pop off without any twisting, tugging, or trouble!
Not only do boot jacks prevent damage to your boots, but they also reduce pressure on your back when pulling off your boots, making the whole affair smooth and pain-free. Boot jacks provide more leverage, so your boot comes off easier, and you don’t have to handle dirty boots.
A Brief History
According to Google Patents, an application for a patent for a boot jack was submitted, and approved, in September 1887, but it seems as though boot jacks had been around for a while even before that.
No one seems to know when or where they were first invented, but they were certainly around in the 1800s. Early forms were made of carved wood.
Soon, cast iron boot jacks became more popular, and between 1852 and 1995, “over 200 designs of boot jacks were patented in the United States.”
Many of these were used as advertising tools and carried the slogans of companies or products. Some were even quite saucy for their time, like the so-called “Naughty Nellie”!
You’re probably not on the market for an antique boot jack, though, so let’s get down to business.
How to Use a Boot Jack
To use a boot jack, you stand one foot firmly on the flat part before inserting the heel of your other boot into the V or U-shaped opening. Now pull that foot up while pressing down with the other foot.
This action gives you enough leverage to slip your foot out of your boot, leaving it in the boot jack. Now repeat the process with the other boot.
We promise, this is much easier than trying to wrench a tight-fitting boot off your foot yourself or enlisting the help of a friend!
When to Use a Boot Jack
For the sake of your back, and your boots, you should use a boot jack whenever you remove your boots.
Not only does it prevent damage to your boots, but it also means you don’t have to stoop and struggle in uncomfortable positions, straining your already tired muscles.
Pulling your boots off on a doorstep or the toe of your other boot doesn’t do them any good either. It puts too much pressure in one spot, causing a weakness that could lead to permanent damage.
How to Make a Boot Jack
If you have a little bit of woodworking ability, making your own boot jack is apparently very easy. That said, it’s still beyond me!
According to the experts, you can use any type of wood, so scrap wood is fine (although plywood is not fine). You’ll also need a jigsaw and some wood glue. If you want any further information, there are several videos on YouTube (like the one we’ve included) giving step-by-step instructions.
Best Cowboy Boot Jack
This heavy-duty, waterproof boot puller doubles up as a boot scraper, making it arguably the best thing since sliced bread!
It has a rubberized inlay for extra grip and serrated grooves to remove all the excess mud.
See it on Amazon
Best English Boot Jack
This smart wooden boot jack is stylish and functional—like most Ariat products. It has a padded edge for extra grip and is designed to work effectively on both men’s and women’s boots.
It won’t clean your boots for you, but it will last a lifetime.
See it on Amazon
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do you need a different boot jack for English and Western boots?
Not necessarily. Most boot jacks are pretty standard and will remove any type of footwear, from cowboy boots to muck boots and even running shoes.
Q: Is a boot jack necessary?
If you’ve just invested hundreds of dollars in a new pair of riding boots, you don’t want to risk damaging them. A boot jack will go easy on your boots, be gentle on your back, and help both last longer.
Q: How does a cowboy boot jack work?
A cowboy boot jack works in the same way as a regular boot jack.
Q: How do you use a Wellington boot jack?
To use a Wellington boot jack, stand on the flat end of the jack, insert the heel of the other boot into the opening, and ease your boot out of the boot.
While a boot jack may not revolutionize your riding, it will change your life! No more struggling with muddy boots or battling with your tall riding boots after a long day in the saddle. Better yet, your boots will thank you for it!
P.S. Enjoy this article? Trot on over to:
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