Boots Boba Feet - A Study/Build of Fett's Goofy Lookin Boots

Eli Jinn

You read the title right, I’m talking about feet, not Fett this time around. More specifically, I’m talking about Boba’s feet and the mysterious boots that they wear. So I guess that still counts as talking about Fett… I don’t want to touch the subject of whether or not the boots were a found part or if they were made for the costume since I’m pretty sure that’s a cold case. I also don’t want to mention the toe spikes, because that’s someone else’s can of worms. Instead, I’m embarking on a journey to create a pair of boots for myself. In my opinion, the most accurate Fett boots ever manufactured for the public were the Man of War Studios boots, but he doesn’t sell them anymore and doesn’t plan to again as far as I heard. Even then, the MoW boots were good but not perfect. They had an extra layer between the fabric upper of the shoe and the top of the triple layer sole not present on the original. At least they HAD a triple layered sole. They also had an extra line of stitching on this midsole area. Another issue is that they lacked the pull tab at the top of the shoe, in fact, the original boots had TWO pull tabs—one at the back and another at the front.

As if these shoes couldn’t get any weirder. I can understand though if there were issues trying to manufacture a shoe like the original and these were the best options. Fortunately, someone who doesn’t have to conform to the limitations of manufacturing is ME. By making my boots one of one, I can have them done just like the originals, no matter how expensive or inefficient or soul-crushingly difficult it is. Wait… what have I gotten myself into? I’m not 100% opposed to making a pair for somebody else, but it wouldn’t be cheap and it wouldn’t be quick. I’d have to make them from scratch, to order, by hand, all the way from the beginning. If you wanted me to make you a pair of boots, you’d have to pay quite a pretty penny and wait quite a pretty while.
Anyways, in no way do I want to insinuate that my boots will be any better than MoW’s or Wasted Fett’s or anyone else’s. In fact, they will probably turn out terribly because the only advantage I have over the average Boba Fett costume builder is that I looked up how to make shoes a couple times. I guess you could say… I’m in your guys’... SHOES… anyways… I just hope that in the process of inevitably failing miserably, I can shed some light on the intricacies of these boots so that someone more qualified than I can step in and maybe make the Perfect Boba Fett Boots™.
Here’s gonna be the structure of this thread:
  1. Intro post (what you’re reading right now)
  2. Notes - Anything and close to everything that I have found about the Fett boots that I think isn’t common knowledge. If I find something along the way or someone else points out something I missed, I will add it to this post.
  3. Process - Details on the shoemaking process and how it applies to the Boba Fett boots
  4. and onwards - The build and commentary and feedback and typical TDH post shenanigans.

So come on this wonderful journey with me. Well, wonderful isn’t the right word… but it is a journey.
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Notes on Fett’s choice in footwear

Let’s do this iceberg style, starting out with some facts that most everyone knows and getting more and more obscure as we go on.
  1. Fett’s boots are made of a twill fabric, most likely cotton, and have a lining. I guess there’s no picture that definitively proves that the shoes are lined, but I don’t see why they wouldn’t be. A single layer of fabric on its own would be way too floppy, unless these things were made of boat sails.
  2. The soles are made of rubber and are composed of 3 layers; the bottom layer is nearly flat to the floor with a diamond/criss cross pattern on the bottom (it’s hard to tell), the top layer conforms to the shape of the midsole, and the middle layer is nothing but a heel piece that fills the gap between the top and bottom. These three layers are all the same thickness. (or are they? I'll get to that later)
  3. The U-shaped cutouts on the sides of the shoes are elastic, making these boots Chelsea boots.
  4. The 4 black stripes that run down the front of the boots are vinyl piping. Usually you see this stuff on the edges of boat seats or other vinyl furniture.
  5. The boots have a prominent toe lift. The height of this lift seems to vary from image source to source and between costume versions, but this is most likely due to whoever was wearing the boots at the time.
  6. All the boots across every version of Boba Fett, like the rest of the costume, started out completely white. The fabric, elastic, rubber soles, and piping were originally white and painted over to give us the menagerie of dirty shades that we know and love. You can still see spots of white in the cracks between the piping and canvas.
  7. The boots employ the use of stiffeners in the toe and heel to keep their iconic shape.
  8. The back of the boots have no backstrap. That's the extra strip of fabric that is topstitched over the seam at the back of the boots to strengthen them.
  9. The elastic (at least on the "clean spot" pair confirmed to be used in ESB) is woven with a honeycomb pattern, you can see what that looks like below and compare it with the rest of the pictures.
    Polyester Black Honeycomb Elastic Tape, Size: 2 inch at Rs 8/meter in Surat

    Interestingly, I just noticed that the ROTJ (idk what version, I only know ESB lol) pair from the last point does not have this honeycomb pattern. It just has a standard woven pattern you find on ordinary elastic. Interesting inconsistency. Side note, I cannot for the life of me find honeycomb woven elastic that comes wide enough for these boots (I measured ~6" according to my shoe last model), so if anyone could help me out sourcing some elastic for these boots, that'd be great.
  10. Keeping on the topic of stitches, the elastic has a double stitch. This seems pretty common on Chelsea boots.
  11. There's an interesting double stitch pattern near the top of the boots. It's kind of hard to see in this picture, I'll see if I can get a better one.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-AoSW-2000-064 (1).jpg
  12. There is the ghost of a seam down the exact middle of the boot. This is probably a seam in the lining, but I have no idea what its purpose is. Perhaps the piping is only attached to the outer layer of canvas?
    Boot Seam2.png
  13. I already said this in passing during the intro post, but the boots have two short pull tabs at the very top of the shoe around the opening—one at the front and one at the back. Does anyone have any better pictures of the front one than that one from PP1?
  14. It's hard to know for sure, but all signs point to the vinyl piping only being stitched to the outer layer of fabric, not to the lining for the following 4 reasons: 1) It would be uncomfortable. 2) It would be really hard to try turning those thin stripes between the piping inside out when assembling the upper. 3) There's no other reason why there would be a ghostly seam down the middle of the boot. 4) I think I can see the end of the piping in that one pic from PP1...

    Boba-Fett-PP1-Floor-1_upscaled (1).jpg

    Inspect Jim Carrey GIF

    And yes, I did have to upscale that image just so I could zoom in further.
  15. The U-shaped elastic section looks like it is slightly wider on the inside of the boot than it is on the outside. I know “looks like” isn’t good enough, but it’s the best we have.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-315 elastic width.jpg
    In fact, the parallax should be working against these measurements here.
  16. The bottom layer of the sole is not perfectly flat. Obviously, there’s a toe lift, but besides that, near the halfway point of the shoe, where the middle layer of the sole begins to taper off, the bottom layer rises slightly before falling level again. This could be due to the middle layer not being cut perfectly to the curve of the top layer, or due to the shape of the midsole. There’s no way to tell as far as I’m concerned. This lift also seems to vary from picture to picture.

    Side note, that last picture was taken from Ord Mantell’s ESB build thread, and I know that it’s from the Executor Bridge scene, in fact I know where the B+W version of it is, but I have no clue where he got a color version of that photo in such a high resolution. I can’t find it anywhere.
  17. Interestingly, there is a horizontal seam in the U-shaped sections ~½” from the top of the boot, bridging two pieces of elastic. I originally thought this was because the elastic wasn’t tall enough to make it to the top of the boot. I now think this was done because the U-shaped section angles forward too much, meaning that the top of the elastic would not be flush with the top of the boot. I think I can even see the lower piece of elastic’s grain angles forward compared to the top.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-AoSW-081902-053 (1).jpg

    Here you can also see the top of this section has some fold-over elastic sewn to the top of it. I'm not sure what kind of stitch they used, it could be a normal zig-zag stitch, or it could be a cover stitch that you need a specialty machine for. I can't tell because nobody takes pictures of these crevices.
    Also, remember how we were talking about honeycomb weaves earlier? Well, this top section has a standard weave, so that's interesting.
  18. The outer shape of the sole appears to slope downward slightly near the back.
  19. The texture on the bottom of the sole may have been a separate sheet of rubber that was attached to the bottom layer. This is because if you look EXTREMELY close, the bottom layer IS thicker than the other two. The seam between the bottom layer and the texture must be microscopic if it is there, but I have confidence that it is, since I can't really think of another way this could have been done.
Phew! Well, that's all that I found notable, if anyone else points something out, I'll be sure to add it to this post!
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The Shoemaking Process and How it Applies to Boba Fett

Any shoe starts with a last, which is a shoe/foot shaped solid block that acts as the basis of shoemaking. Lasts are traditionally made of wood, but nowadays usually made of plastic. The last, ironically, is the first part that you make and probably the most important. It dictates the shape of the final shoe, and most if not all discrepancies in the last will transfer to the final shoe.
In terms of the Boba Fett shoe, the last will absolutely need to be custom made. There's probably no shoe last in the universe (besides the ones used to make the originals) that looks anything like Boba Fett's. You could do this a few ways. You could carve or sculpt the last from scratch which is not my field of expertise. You could buy a last and build over that, but that would also require a lot of hand carving and sculpting, plus, pre-made lasts are expensive. Instead, I decided the way that I would find most comfortable would be to sculpt it digitally in Blender and then 3D print it.

The next major component of a shoe is the upper. This is the fabric part that covers your foot and makes up 80% of the shoe. This is where all the intricate sewing of the project comes into play. I suspect the piping and elastic to give me some trouble here. There isn't much to say about the upper, it's just a lot of sewing.

Similarly, the stiffeners that I mentioned earlier don't have a lot to be said about. These are made of either a thermoplastic or a material called celastic. Thermoplastic stiffeners are heated up before being pressed onto the last, then cool in that shape. Celastic stiffeners are solvent based, soften when dipped in whatever solvent is used, and then harden when dry. Once the stiffeners are hard, you add them between the two layers of the upper. This is how Boba Fett's boots keep their boxy toe shape, as well as the heel.

Next up is the inner sole or whatever people call it, which is the part I'm least educated on. It's made of leather or perhaps a similar material as the stiffeners. The midsole takes the shape of the bottom of the last and the excess fabric from the upper gets glued over it and stretched. This part doesn't really do much for the appearance of the shoe, it's mostly about the structure. The reason why I mention it is that it is possible to attach the sole to the inner sole without a midsole, which is the extraneous layer above the sole that has those thick stitches in it. Man, this makes no sense. TL:DR, the original boots have no midsole, but you do need an inner sole.

Finally, there's the outsole. This is the 3 (or 4) layered rubber sole that I've berated enough.

Please, if anyone has suggestions or comments on this process that I've laid out, tell me and I will not hesitate to edit it before I make a grave mistake.
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Here's the first development to start out this boot-making project, I've designed the last!
I always thought “There has to be a website or program where I can plug in my measurements and desired shoe style and get a 3D model of a last generated from that.” Well, it turns out that does exist, it's just really expensive. You have to put in an order and they model your last and even take revision requests. All that, and you only get the MODEL, not a print. Apparently, in the year of our Lord, 2024, we as a species are still making shoe lasts by hand even on computers. I mean, I can generate a model of an entire human body based on measurements, but you mean to tell me I can’t do the same with a single foot? I don’t know. What I ended up finding was a free last model on Thingiverse. It looked like a good base to start from; it had a nice toe and heel lift, the size was close, and it was free. Did I mention that it was free? Anyways, it was also free, which helped.
I threw the free last model into Blender as well as RafalFett’s toe spike model, which the spikes I own are based off of. I guess now is a good time to mention that since I’m making these boots for myself, I’m making them for my spikes—these steel ones that a friend of my dad welded for me last year.

I know they aren’t the most accurate ones ever, but I honestly love these spikes more than any other money could buy. Maybe if I end up enjoying shoemaking, I’ll get my hands on a more accurate pair of spikes and do another set of boots just for them.
Anyways, I took to modeling the toe box first, then I extended the top of the last to match my estimations for the height of the boot. I got these “measurements” from the PP2 photoshoot, where the model was too tall for the flightsuit and you can sometimes see the top of the boot.

I then joined the toe box to the last and got sculpting. I was mainly trying to smooth out the shapes and make any adjustments based off of my slew of reference images. Stuff like the shape of the heel, the slope of the shoe’s front from all angles, and the curve of the midsole, which I think was the thing causing that little lift in the sole. Here’s the final product after a few hours of digital sculpting which I am really proud of.

Now I bet a good portion of you just went "Who the hell's ankle is that skinny?" but there is a reason for that... I think...
I guess I was a bit misleading. The last obviously can't dictate what the final shoe will look like when someone's wearing it. I've never seen a shoe last this height that doesn't have that thin little ankle, and I believe it's so that the ankle hugs tighter and doesn't flop around your leg. So yeah, your leg will stretch out that ankle section and make it not so skinny looking.
To top it all off, here’s some sexy renders that I made of the last…
BobaFettShoeLast No3.png
BobaFettShoeLast No4.png
BobaFettShoeLast No5.png
BobaFettShoeLast No6.png
BobaFettShoeLast No7.png
BobaFettShoeLast No9.png
Update, I printed the last a while ago, the verdict is that it needs more work. Obviously. I guess Boba Fett's shoe last wasn't built in a day. I'll see if I can make a comprehensive list of notes of things to change, but the main thing was that it was way too long. Other than that, some minor shape adjustments are in order. I've also been slowly adding some points to the notes page, so check those out if you want.

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