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Where do we get the name Hob Nail Boots from?
I'm forever telling my daughter she must have hob nail boots on but not sure where the term arrives from.
asked in boots, history, general knowledge

vultan answers:

Hobnails are a type of nail - hobnail boots are boots with those nails in them.


Can't find much about the origins of the word 'hobnail'' itself, though.


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athenabs13ohe answers:

They are heavy boots, that was made with hobnails on the soles. They were used mainly in world war 1-2, some had horse shoes inserted.
We call as you have said to your duaghter have you got hobnail boots on, as when walking in them, they wear heavy and very noisy hence the term you walking with hob nail boots on. In other words the Thudding sound they make.
They miltary boots.

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P-Kasso answers:

The hob in nail comes from a 16th Century word for a the tool which 'hobbed' or cut projections and grooves in a metal surface.

It dates from 1505 (first known usage).


gives a reasonably detailed background to tjhe word hob in its many, related forms. Points 2, 4 and 5 and 4 below are of particular interest in this 'hobnail boot' context. The full entry is...


1. a projection or shelf at the back or side of a fireplace, used for keeping food warm.

2. a rounded peg or pin used as a target in quoits and similar games.

3. a game in which such a peg is used.

4. Machinery. a milling cutter for gear and sprocket teeth, splines, threads, etc., having helically arranged teeth and fed across the work as the work is rotated.

–verb (used with object), verb (used without object)

5. Machinery. to cut with a hob.

1505–15; var. of obs. hub hob (in a fireplace); perh. identical with 'hub'.

Elsewhere under 'hobnail' the same dictionary gives the following....

1 a large-headed nail for protecting the soles of heavy boots and shoes.

2. a small allover pattern consisting of small tufts, as on fabrics, or of small studs, as on glass.

1585–95; hob 1 + nail


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