“My optimism wears heavy boots and is loud” -Henry Rollins
Only in the past few years have I become obsessed with owning a pair of wrestling boots. The dream pair would be shiny black, blue and white boots with a design that I’ve never really been able to nail down (though, no flames as they are just so trite and mid-90s).
The flame boots worked for you though, Bam Bam.
I think, deep down, my affinity for wrestling boots comes from the fact that it’s the only “gear” that I’d actually look legit in. To put it simply, I have about the build of a Bill DeMott Jr. if he didn’t work out a day in his life. If I were to even THINK about tights, the mold is pretty much set for me in the form of either Jim “The Anvil” Neidhart, Bam Bam Bigelow (above), or Hugh Morrus himself. Other big men had the balls to go out there and let it all hang out (Dusty Rhodes, King Kong Bundy, Brodus Clay, The Natural Disasters, any large Samoan, etc.) and more power to those brave souls. Even when I would Create A Wrestler in video games, I would always outfit myself in a white tank top and khaki slacks. Self conscious, much?
"The Equalizer" Dave Sullivan
If I had to point to a specific reason why boots really became highlighted in my own little wrestling landscape, it would be the Kevin Sullivan/Dave (EVAD) Sullivan feud in 1994. The self-proclaimed “Biggest Hulkamaniac,” Dave was given the boots Hogan wore at WrestleMania III by none other than the Hulkster himself. The act that finally leads to the blow off match between the two was Kevin destroying the “Magic Slippers” (as they were known since they couldn’t continually acknowledge the competition’s biggest show every time it came up). This is what went through my mind hearing that in ’94: “How could he? Those are sacred! What a scoundrel that Taskmaster is!” This is what goes through my mind now: “Even if those were the ‘actual’ boots Hogan wrestled Andre The Giant in, what are the chances Dave Sullivan wears the same size shoe? Then again, maybe that’s why they were ‘Magic Slippers.’” This curious thought may also be attributed to the fact that I work part time in a retail shoe store.
Yet, as hallowed of a history these patent leather kicks have, the traditional wrestling boot as we know it is slowly fading into obscurity. And I kind of get it. With the exception of John Cena wearing Air Jordan’s, I get it. Many wrestlers such as Chris Jericho, CM Punk and Daniel Bryan have been opting for a more traditional wrestling shoe that is then covered up with a shin guard-esque apparatus. Without having done any actual research on them, I imagine the upsides are something along the lines of they allow for a larger range of motion, make stiff kicks not as taxing, easier to travel with and cheaper to replace. I’m also willing to bet they’re a hell of a lot more comfortable. As the scene continues to grow more and more athletically, I imagine these will pretty much be the footwear of choice for anybody that isn’t over 6’8” and 280 lbs.
Nice boots, Douche Bag.
Now comes the time for the million dollar question: Rich, what in the BLUE HELL would you do with a pair of wrestling boots?
Well, that's part of the adventure, now isn't it? Realistically, I'd probably just wear them around the house a few times (blinds closed, roommates GONE) and then take them to wrestling events to collect autographs on. Probably. If I were to expand my mind and really think outside the boots, then the real fun begins. Just imagine this potential situation:
"Well, officer, he was about five feet, nine inches tall, chubby, maybe 230 pounds, wild and curly hair and wearing black, blue and white wrestling boots.
"Yes officer, wrestling boots."
"Ok, we'll let you know if we 'find' anything."
NOT that I would use my wrestling boots for evil of any sort, but it is a jumping off point.
Impressive boots throughout time
The Rock’s “Calves Cut Out” Boots
These are pretty great in saying, “yeah, my calves are so swoll, they cannot merely be contained into your tiny mortal boots.”
Billy Gunn’s “Loctech” boots
He’s at least the first guy I noticed wearing these futuristic-looking boots. Booker T and Dolph Ziggler are a few others that have gone on to don the Moon Boots.
Ultimate Warrior’s “Fringe Covered” Boots
Other wrestlers like The Rockers used to dabble in the area of boot fringe throughout the 1980s and into the early '90s, but Warrior did to strips of cloth under his knee what he did to every other aspect of his career and completely exhausted it to the point of irrelevance in 3-5 years. Though, like all the same things with Warrior, it made him different and people loved him for it.“The Texas Tornado” Kerry Von Erich tried as well, but wasn’t even close.
Jake Robert’s “Snakeskin” Boots
Biggest “no-brainer” of all the boots ever made, though quite the moral dilemma. For a man so in tune with his snakes, why would he want their scales on his feet? Was he trying to be closer to a snake? Was Damien ever afraid he may be the next pair of boots?
Hulk Hogan’s Big Yellow Boots
If one of your trademark moves is going to be the Big Boot, what better way to telegraph it than have huge bright yellow boots? In all honesty, though, these Magic Slippers are iconic and, I’m sure if you ask Hogan himself, impossible to fill.
Cactus Jack’s Leopard Print Boots
Almost forgot about these and that would have been a damn shame. Good on any wrestler wearing leopard print anything, much less making it hardcore.
Iron Sheik’s Curly Boot
Quite possibly the most unique boots in professional wrestling history. Boots that only an elf, or a man that will “humble” you, could wear. The Sultan does not count.
Berzerker’s FUZZY ASS BOOTS
Melina can only wish to be half as good as the Berzerker.
At the end of the day, I’ve just got to give it up to guys that have the stones to get into the ring barefoot. I don’t like walking around my own apartment barefoot and these fellas would put their toesies in danger every night. And for that, I salute them.
Rich Camillucci is a University of Florida student, shoe salesman, and regular Podswoggle contributor that, despite the content of this article, does not have a foot fetish and, in fact, hates feet.