What We Learn from Footwear
Someone once pointed out to me that you can tell a lot about people and characters too by their foot wear choices. I was wondering if this might hold true in the SW universe and if anyone had written on this topic? — Michelle
Interestingly enough, this is something I explored in depth several years ago in my e-newsletter, The EmJay Zone, which featured a lot of Star Wars content (you know, because it was something I was doing). So for the remainder of this post, I’m going to quote a lot from those issues of the MJZ (Vol. 3, Issue 101; Vol. 3, Is. 22, No. 102; Vol. 3, Is. 23, No. 103), but with some strategic editing so I don’t sound like a hyperactive, somewhat psychotic seventeen-year-old, which, incidentally, I was at the time. And you can just thank Michelle for the whole flashback going on right now! Commence to start.
Now, I’m no foot fetishist in the slightest, but I’m totally obsessed with the boots in Star Wars. They’re completely fascinating. Luke Skywalker was the first one to bring this to my attention: his footwear isn’t astounding until Return of the Jedi–can we say shiny knee-high black boots?! And the prequel boots? They show a definate color shift toward brown, displaying how things are darker in the trilogy. Luke’s change too, you know, from white to black. But all the boots in Episodes I and II alone are incredible! Travelling boots, diplomatic boots, positive-sole deck-gripping boots. . . At any rate, you don’t realize how very important the boots are. Without proper footwear, these people might not get anywhere at all! The wrong boot can be deady. For example, Darth Maul’s were slouchy and not shiny at all. Where is he? Dead! That’s where! Now, I have dug out my visual dictionaries, and we shall go through them and psychoanalyze everybody’s shoes from the beginning!
Mace Windu, the overrated and annoying, has got on boring, chunky, slouchy brown boots that clash with his mismatching clothing. Can we say patchwork? This exhibits what a useless and pointless character he is, and, like a person’s boots, exsists in there only because there has to be a tolken black guy somewhere. Yoda and Yaddle don’t wear shoes, so we can skip that. Council Members. Yarael Poof also doesn’t wear shoes, but he’s got 4 arms, which makes up for it. Saesee Tiin wears slipper-like shoes, which signifies the Council’s tendancy just to sit around never doing anything. Even Piell doesn’t even have feet in this picture, let alone shoes, so we’ll skip him, along with Eeth Koth, Oppo Rancisis, Depa Billaba, and Plo Koon. Ki-Adi-Mundi has kinda nifty boots: mahogany colored, with a cuffed top and buckles all down the side. A bit medieval, which means he’s stuck in the past and not quite practical for the now. They also don’t really go with the rest of his outfit, exhibiting that even though the Jedi think they blend in perfectly with the rest of the universe, everybody can still identify them instantly. Adi Gallia wears rather stiff-looking light brown colored “travel boots.” They don’t have lots of creases in them, which shows that while she will go out and do missions, she doesn’t do it often. They match perfectly with her skin, which doesn’t really show anything except that she’s obsessive compulsive.
Okay, Qui-Gon has awesome boots. Not really. But he is awesome, therefore all articles of clothing on his person are awesome. They’re dark brown and blend in with his pants; they are called “Rugged travel” boots and have all these tabs down the front, making them easier to put on. They show that he likes to travel and do stupid things, and that he blends in with the general population, but amongst his peers, he stands out. On to Obi-Wan! Just like Qui-Gon, his boots match his outfit nicely. Dark brown, “rugged travel boots,” with straps at the top around the calf to secure them and one around the ankle. He’s more straight-laced than his master, but he also likes travelling and blends in more among peers & G.P. alike.
Moving right along. Queen Amidala. Okay, as the Queen, her shoes are invisible under all her clothes. This signifies that she is buried beneath so much makeup and hairstyling that you can’t see her at all or know anything about her. Handmaidens are the same way: they’re all covered up and you can’t see any of them at all. As Padmé, however, her shoes are visible. The only two shoes she wears as Padmé are “simple walking shoes” and “high-traction leather tactical boots.” This demonstrates that she is somewhere between being a simple girl and being high-maintenence. The fact that she doesn’t actually wear boots the first half of the time also exhibits that she is very stupid when it comes to some matters (this is proven in her choosing Anakin and not Obi-Wan).
Captian Panaka’s boots are black, shiny, and functional. It exhibits his purpose in the movie–to be black, shiny, and functional. Jar Jar has no shoes, demonstrating that he has no point. Boss Nass wears sandals, showing that the actor who played him (Brian Blessed) once played Ceasar Augustus in I, Claudius. Now Anakin! His boots are beige and raggedly, kind of like him. They’re also falling apart, which represents his fall to the Dark Side in the future. Like Luke’s in E4, they are light colored and later progress to black, demonstrating his turn from innocence to usage of the Force.
Shmi wears simple boring shoes because she is a simple, boring woman who is only in the movie because we need a parent for Anakin, just like shoes exist because we can’t go around barefoot. However, Watto doesn’t have shoes because he flies. Flies don’t wear shoes, either, although they can be shooed. Sebulba not only doesn’t have shoes, but he uses his feet as his hands, which shows that he’s totally backwards and evil. While his blue Twi’leks don’t wear shoes, they do have blue feet, which means they’re totally cool. Jabba the Hutt looks like a foot, which signifies that he smells.
Tuskens wrap their feet in bandages, which shows that they hurt people. (They wear these in all the films they’re in, but it’s especially important in E2.) Chancellor Valorum’s shoes are hard to see because he’s a politician and everything is hard to see with politicians. Palpatine has ugly, boatlike shoes because he’s ugly and runs over people. End Episode I.
Episode II. Senator Amidala’s shoes are hard to see because of her dresses, and she is hard to understand because she hides behind facades. Her bodyguard, Captian Typho, wears brown, not-shiny, functional boots. Like his uncle (Panaka), his purpose is to be brown, non-shiny, and functional. You can’t see Palpatine’s boots just as the Jedi can’t see what he’s planning to do. You know the boots are down there, you just can’t see them. Once again, Jar Jar is barefoot, but this time while wearing a dress; this shows him to be both useless and laughable. Bail Organa wears snooty gray “Alderaanian patrician boots.” It means he’s a hoity-toity little pacifist.
Now Obi-Wan! His boots are exactly the same as in Episode I, but his outfit has changed a little. This shows that he’s growing up but is still a bit straight-laced and blends in easily. He also has a super-shiny lightsaber, which signifies how he’s gotten smarter (shiny = bright = intelligent). You also spend more time being able to see his boots, so this exhibits that his skills are more obvious because he’s not hiding behind Qui-Gon this time. Anakin’s boots are now black, providing interesting contrast as to how he was light in the first movie and now he is dark. The boots are ugly, just like he is ugly. His right boot is identified as “synthetic leather protective boots.” This signifies that he is a fake Jedi, smells like a new car with leather interior, and is protective of all the wrong people. The left boot is described as “Field boots weighted for training.” That shows that he spends the whole movie lolling around in a field, that he weighs more than he did in the first film, and he has reluctantly been training. Because each boot is described differently, he is shown to be being torn in two different directions.
Zam Wessel. She goes on record as having the first colored shoes in the whole saga. Their identification is “boots accept a variety of limb forms.” So, she’s a shapeshifter and she’s more imaginative than other characters. Unfortunatly, she is also short-lived. Those living on the underlevels aren’t that important, even though they have pretty fascinating footwear (message: they’re interesting but unnoticable). Nightclub people don’t wear boots: they all wear heels or normal shoes, showing that they’re probably much closer to normal people than we’d like to admit. Jocasta Nu’s shoes aren’t even visible (although though her last name rhymes with “shoe”), which signifies that her nefarious actions in the Jedi Archives are invisible. Actually she probably doesn’t wear shoes, and that message is that with her, things are not always what they seem (translation: She’s the dirty rotton, in-love-with-Count-Dooku sneak who deleted Kamino from the archives). Padmé wears “white action boots with light shin armor and firm grip.” That means that she’s clearly a “goodie,” knows how to take care of herself to some extent, and has more of a grip on reality than she did in the first film.
Kaminoans have kinda squarish, small, ineffecient shoes because they are squarish, too tall to be useful, but extremly cool. I don’t think much of Jango’s boots. They’re “tactical boots with magnatomic adhesion soles.” That means that they have incomprehensive names, don’t look that great, but, boy, is the guy wearing them cool and what exciting stuff he can do! Count Dooku wears “elegant, tall dress boots.” He is elegant, tall, and dressy, and while he is supposed to serve a serious purpose, is too elegant and dressy to accomplish it.
Now the original trilogy! Luke is the first three people in my Original Trilogy Visual Dictionary. In ANH, his boots can barely be called boots. They are white with “grip soles” and “sandproof leg bindings.” This means he needs to get a grip on reality. On top of that, he finds sandy Tatooine binding.
When he leaves Tatooine, his boots change. He gets flight boots with “positive grip soles,” which means that he has a positive outlook on life. They are shiny, but not as pointy as his ROTJ boots. I’ve been distressed by them since I played with the little Wedge action figure when I was very little–one pant leg comes down further than the other! That shows that Luke is emotionally imbalanced. The leg with the pants pulled up higher have “signal flares,” meaning that he has a temper and runs off to do stupid things like rescue his friends from Darth Vader.
Luke’s black boots in ROTJ are my favorite ever. They’re knee high, black, shiny, and utterly gorgeous. He’s matured and is now in position as a strong young Jedi who is still somewhat impetious.
Leia is next. She has four pairs of boots, the first of which are white and soft-looking “travel boots.” The white color shows that she is a pacifist; their soft texture signifies that she isn’t well-suited for lots of things, but the fact that they are travel boots goes to show that she is, in fact, tough when the situation requires it. The next boots she wears are silver “military snow boots”: even though she is a princess and a pacifist still, she has toughened up. On Hoth, she resorts to military strategy and is brave and tough enough to remain even until Imperial troops have entered the base. In ROTJ, she wears the infamous slave harness with “Jerba leather boots.” They’re very pretty, but look impractical and uncomfortable–her plan to rescue Han is uncomfortable and impractical, but she still manages to kill Jabba the Hutt. For once, also, she wears another color besides white and shows . . . well, a lot of skin. This signals that the youngest Senator ever is growing up. In ROTJ at the end, she wears black boots, but they only reach her mid-calf and are not solidly black. Therefore she is following slowly in her brother’s example as a Jedi. She wears darker clothing–or just plain colored clothing–which shows how she is growing up and branching out into new duties and responsibilities, plus has to deal with Darth Vader being her father.
Next comes Han Solo! Another man with incredible black “action boots,” meaning that he is actiony and hotheaded. The black color shows that he is a space rogue. He also knows what needs to be done and doesn’t hesitate in doing it, but he’s extremely independent. Chewbacca doesn’t wear shoes but he has claws; I’m not sure that his lack of shoes proves anything. Droids do not have shoes. Lando Calrissian wears “handmade Liwari shoes.” They look kind of like boots, but somehow I don’t think they go up very high. The fact that they’re handmade shows that he’s very rich and has taste for the finer things. They’re black because he’s black–like Mace Windu, Captian Panaka and Typho, Lando’s shoes prove that he is meant to be a rich black guy, this time with excellent taste and charm.
You can’t see Obi-Wan’s boots in this, just like you can’t see how hot he is anymore. Admiral Ackbar wears “positive grip shoes” which are white. That shows that he is a commander only, not a get-in-the-action guy, but he’s a brilliant strategist, works for the good guys, and has a positive outlook on life. Darth Vader wears really shiny black things. The caption reads “armored boots binding cyborg elements to flesh.” This probably means his legs burned off when he fell into the lava and the boots are actually the droid-like shiny black shell to his metal legs. If you remember from the previous remarks on Anakin’s footwear, you see how he degrades further and further. At last, he is finally “more machine than man” and totally evil.
The shoes of the Emperor are invisible, just like his agenda is hidden, and his power, and apparently his skin care products (hidden from him, that is). The same goes for his advisors and his guards. As for all the myriad Imperial officers, they all wear stiff black boots. Stormtroopers all wear “positive grip boots,” like Luke’s in name but like Admiral Ackbar’s in color. This means they are individual fighters, military-trained. The white color indicates that somehow, in a way no one has ever been able to understand, they can’t ever hit anything. Snowtroopers are tougher because they wear “rugged ice boots,” but they’re basically the same thing. TIE pilots wear “positive gravity pressure boots.” This means that they have a positive attitude–you’d have to to fly one of those things–and there is no gravity in their ships, which means they’re not very balanced. They’re under a lot of pressure, too. AT-AT pilots wear “insulated boots,” which signifies that they are protected from the action by their big camel-shaped AT-ATs.
Jabba the Hutt, as I said before, wears no shoes because he has no feet, yet he looks like a foot, which means he smells. Oola has little black sandals. I love Twi’leks! The little black sandals show that she is a dancer who will be short-lived, like the fashion of those kinds of shoes always is. Bib Fortuna, another Twi’lek, wears “soft-soled shoes for silent movement.” This means he is sneaky and wimpy. Gammoreans all wear thick Romanesque sandals; they don’t count for much except that they look like pigs and Romans liked to eat pigs. Lyn Me wears ballet shoes, which just goes to show that she is a dancer.
Boba Fett’s boots remain boring, ugly, green, but they have “spring loaded boot spikes” on them, which are kind of cool. That signifies that he’s ugly, green, and really cool. Other bounty hunters . . . IG-88 and 4-LOM are droids who do not wear shoes. Neither does Bossh. Dengar wears boots just like Boba Fett’s, except that they’re white and don’t have spikes, which means he’s white, ugly, and cool.
Jawas’ feet, and what they wear for shoes, are invisble, just like you can’t see what they’re up to. Ewoks don’t have shoes. Some people would argue that this means they don’t have purpose, but actually their purpose is to be cute. Cantina Crowd! The only people with visible boots are the Bith musicians; they have half-legth black, non-shiny boots, which means they’re really cool and have cool music.
Well, everyone, that was everything I wrote about boots way back in 2003. Obviously since E3 was still a shiny dream, I never did analyze their footwear, though I might come in some fun Friday and do that :-D I hope you enjoyed this little trip back to the past.