If your boots are worn in rough weather and get seriously dirty, or you’ve noticed that taking one boot off by pushing down on it with the toe of your other boot has started to damage the heel, you need a boot jack. A boot jack is the cleanest and least damaging way to remove boots of any shape and size.
Boots are meant to be a snug fit to maximize comfort and stability, which often means they can be a bit of a struggle to remove. There are several ways people take off their boots, often without thinking about how they can damage them or make a mess. Ever been warned about trudging your muddy boots through the kitchen, only to use the doorstep to pry your boots off?
If any of this is familiar, then you’re in luck; I’ve researched everything you need to know about boot jacks, including my personal favorite, plus an excellent budget boot jack to consider, so let’s get to it.
What is a Boot Jack?
If you’ve never used a boot jack before, you should try one; they’re a straightforward yet efficient tool to take off your boots. A boot jack removes the risk of damaging your boot, reduces the chance of walking mud through your home, and makes taking off even the most difficult of footwear easy.
They’re similar in shape to a sling-shot, with a broader base, and the U-shaped end is raised slightly for you to place your boot heel into it. If it sounds simple, that’s because it is, but don’t knock one until you’ve tried one. If you’ve ever huffed and puffed through trying to get your boots off after a long day, a boot jack is a perfect purchase.
What Are The Benefits of a Boot Jack?
My personal favorite reason is that you don’t have to bend to take off your boots. After a long day at work, or having been bent over gardening for hours, your back can quickly begin to ache. If you’ve got underlying problems already, then even something as simple as reaching all the way down to take your boots off can be a really uncomfortable, and sometimes, embarrassing, issue.
I suffer from a bad back after a severe yet heroic frisbee incident some years back, which makes my boot jack invaluable. Sometimes I can barely get my socks on, so being able to slide my feet out of my boots using my boot jack is a massive relief. I can stand up and take off every pair of boots or wellingtons I own with zero effort on my part.
For older people that wear boots, a boot jack can be a godsend and are a great present to consider. It may not be the most exciting thing they’ll ever get for Christmas, but it will be one of the most used. I got my boot jack after damaging my back, but someone twice my age would quickly spot the benefits of this simple product.
Another great benefit to using a boot jack is that they don’t damage the back of your boots; a common way people (myself included) take off their boots is to sit on the doorstep and use the step to pry off their boots. This act not only scrapes and scratches your boots, doing some serious damage over time, but it also ends up with mud all over your steps for others to tread in.
Having a shoe jack at the door makes taking your boots off more manageable, and you don’t scratch your expensive boots every time you try to take them off. Once you get into the habit of using your boot jack before you walk into your home, you’ll make your life easier, and your boots should last longer too.
Boots made of soft leather or rubber will benefit the most, hacking at the heel of your boot with the other can cause serious damage over a relatively short length of time. You may like the worn look on your boots, but you shouldn’t have to worry about them looking like something the dog chewed.
Hands-Free Boot Removal
I go everywhere in my boots, from work to walks in the woods with my dog; cleaning up after my dog isn’t the best part of my day, but I do it. Sadly for us, not everyone does, so there will be times you’re walking in things somewhat less appealing than mother earth. If you’ve ever sat down to pull your boots off only to get a sniff of something grim, a boot jack can be your savior.
Everything that can stick to your boot will, so anything that helps you remove your boots without getting your hands dirty is a benefit. The hygiene benefits are obvious, it’s a sad but true fact that not everyone cleans up after their pets, so do yourself a favor and let your boot jack do all the work for you.
And as well as being beneficial when your boots are caked in mud and who knows what else, the benefits for those with arthritis or other health issues are clear. The simplicity of a boot jack is its most significant feature.
They’re a quality-of-life tool that’s easy to use, maintain, and keep you and your boots well looked after. Mock all you like, but a decent pair of boots can be tough to get off, they’re designed to be well-fitting, and they want to stay on your foot. Once taken off with a boot jack, you can clean off anything that you’ve trailed home, and your boots are good to go again.
What are Boot Jacks Made Of?
In the early days, many boot jacks were quite intricate, with some fantastic designs being used to make them a feature as well as a tool. Cast iron was often used, with one popular design being a large beetle, with the mandibles forming the U-shape. Wood, plastic, and metal are all popular materials, and many people enjoy crafting a boot jack out of wood as a hobby.
I prefer the look of a solid wooden boot jack, but if you have the space and have the luck to find one, an antique metal boot jack is an excellent feature. Walking up to your door it’s one of the first things a visitor will notice and can be an attractive feature. It will undoubtedly look better than each step being caked in the mud from your boots.
How to Use a Boot Jack
A boot jack couldn’t be simpler to use and brings many benefits, especially if you often struggle with taking off your boots due to restricted movement. I’m sure you could work out how to use one yourself, it’s hardly a space-age bit of kit. It warrants an explanation though, as using a boot jack correctly ensures your boots are protected from damage.
There are a few simple steps to follow, and once you’ve tried it once, you’ll never go back to dragging your boots off using a doorstep again. I would advise using your boot jack on a flat surface, and preferably outside, if your boots are muddy your boot jack can knock some of that off, so avoid your carpets.
To use your boot jack, you simply stand in front of it (boots on, folks, or it won’t work) with the U-shaped raised end facing away from you. Once in position, you place one booted foot about halfway up the flat end of the boot jack, making sure to leave the U-shape completely visible.
Once your boot is in position and you’re steady on your feet, place the heel of your other boot into the U-shaped end. You’ll notice now why that end is raised higher than the other end of the boot jack; your heel slides in easily and is held by the horns of the boot jack.
You’re now in a prime position to be pushed over by someone; everyone has that friend in their life. So before that happens, while keeping pressure on the base of the boot jack, pull your foot out of the boot that’s held in place by the jack, and it should slide right out while your boot stays put.
If the boot comes away, don’t panic; just reposition it in the U-shape with more force and try again. Once you’ve done it, the knack of it just clicks, and you’re good to go. Once you’ve got one boot free, swap your feet and repeat the process for as many legs as possible. I usually do it twice, if that helps.
And that’s it, you’re now a master of using a boot jack, your hands are still clean, your back didn’t make one squeak of protest, and your porch is free of mud-encrusted steps. If you prefer to be shown how to use a boot jack, check out this quick and straightforward YouTube video here, which should clear up any queries you may still have.
Best Boot Jacks
There are several places you can buy a boot jack, both in-store and online, and there are some great examples of boot jacks on the market. While the design rarely changes that much, the quality of the build can, as well as the price, so I thought I should show off my favorite boot jack and another that offers both craftsmanship and value for money.
My Top Pick
If I have one criticism of some of the boot jacks around these days, it’s that they’re just too narrow; I’m not a huge guy, but I think the wider the boot jack, the less chance you have of falling over, which is why the Ariat Boot Jack is my personal favorite. It doesn’t cost the earth, it’s wider than many others available, and it’s made from stained hardwood.
I prefer wooden boot jacks; I personally just think they look smarter, especially as one of the first things people see when they step boot through my door is my Ariat Boot Jack. There are some excellent plastic alternatives around, but for me, the Ariat makes removing my boots as easy as falling off a thinner boot jack.
It is made from quality materials, and with boot protection built into the jack, the Ariat ticks all my boxes. It’s not just that I trust the brand itself, although I do, I just find the size perfect, the build quality is sound, and the Ariat just does what it’s supposed to.
My Budget Pick
You’ll love my budget pick; it’s a great price, and this boot jack is lightweight enough to be taken anywhere, making it great for those who may need to change their footwear frequently while on the go. The Pluvios Boot Jack Cowboy Boot Remover is a top alternative to the Ariat, especially at such a great price, but it’s the other features that make this boot jack stand out.
The Pluvios is suitable for several ranges of footwear, from boots and sneakers to cowboy boots and wellington boots; it’s also discreet enough to be thrown in the car’s boot if you move between working outdoors and inside. If you’re moving from on-site work to the office and back, I can’t recommend this boot jack enough.
The Pluvious Boot Jack Cowboy Boot Remover does everything expected of it. The serrated grooves make slipping off the boot jack a lot harder and also are a great way to scrape the mud off your soles, another top design feature.
Regardless of age or ability, getting your boots off can sometimes be a pain, or worse, a manure-covered, boot-scraping, carpet-ruining nightmare. A boot jack solves all the problems you usually think of when it comes to quickly taking boots off, especially my favorite, the Ariat Boot Jack.
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How do you remove Wellington boots?
You can use a boot jack to remove wellington boots; it is a preferred method to remove wellingtons as the rubber can quickly become worn down by using one boot to try and push the other boot off. Holes and tears can soon form, ruining Wellington altogether.
How do you make a boot jack?
Making your own boot jack can be an excellent introduction to woodworking; the overall design of a boot jack is relatively easy to replicate. The general size of a boot jack is 16” long by 5” wide, and there are several online resources available, including YouTube, where you can find step-by-step guides.
What are boot hooks?
Boot hooks are the direct opposite of boot jacks; they are long hooks that you can use to pull on boots, especially tall boots. Riding boots are an excellent example of a type of boot that can benefit from boot hooks