Eli Jinn's ESB Boot Project

Eli Jinn

Concept
I’m embarking on a journey to create a pair of boots for myself. That's it. You can click off now. 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. There's a lot of imperfections in the current "design" of publicly available boots that have desperately needed to be fixed for a long time. I am not the first person to point out these imperfections, but I think I'm one of the first to do something about it. I can understand though if there were issues trying to manufacture a shoe like the original and the ones we got were the best option. Fortunately, someone who doesn’t have to conform to the limitations of manufacturing is ME. By making my boots with my own hands, 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 opposed to taking boot orders, but it wouldn’t be cheap and it wouldn’t be quick. I’d have to make them from scratch, to order, by hand, pretty much 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, so for the time being, accurate boots are only going to be reasonable for those with an extreme hunger for accuracy, and an extreme surplus of money to give me lol.
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. 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 Definitive Boba Fett Boots™. This post started on TDH, so more details regarding the shoemaking process will be there.
 
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 to image 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 fabric.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-483~2Whatever.jpg
  7. The boots employ the use of stiffeners in the toe and heel to keep their iconic shape.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-481~2Toe.jpg

    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-411crop.jpg
  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.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-MoM-121601A-297.jpg
  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 ~5" 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 two rows of topstitching around it. This seems pretty common on Chelsea boots.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-411chelseastich.jpg

  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. I think the piping is only attached to the outer layer of canvas.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-483~2.jpg
    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-483~3.jpg
  13. I already said this in passing during the intro post, but the boots have two pull tabs at the very top of the shoe around the opening—one at the front and one at the back.
    Archive 4.jpg
  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 through 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_upscaledagain.jpg

    Boba-Fett-PP1-Floor-1_upscaledyetagain.jpg

    And yes, that's an UPSCALED version. Researching Boba Fett parts quickly turns into dissecting pixels!
  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, but the Celebration IV photos were taken with a very wide lens.
  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 know for sure as far as I’m concerned. It's also only on the inside "side" of the shoe.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-445.jpg
    Boba-Fett-PP2-Photo-Shoot-26.JPG
    lateAPR79-executor.jpg

    The fact that it's so consistent makes me think that the shape of the midsole is what causes this lift. 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-CIV-Britt-445chelseaseam.jpg

    Boba-Fett-PP2-Photo-Shoot-3.JPG

    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.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-CIV-Britt-483~2soleslope.jpg
  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.
    Boba-Fett-Costume-MoM-102702-059.jpg
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 first development to start out this boot-making project was to design the last.
The last is a "foot shaped" block of wood or dense plastic that dictates pretty much everything about the shape of the final shoe. It's how I'll make the patterns for the fabric and the sole will conform to its shape. And yes, I know it's ironic that a shoe STARTS with a 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.
Anyways, I threw the free last model into Blender (which is also free by the way) as well as RafalFett’s free 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 "conceptual" boots for my personal costume, I’m making them for my personal spikes—these steel ones that a friend of my dad welded for me last year.
20230327_180755.jpg

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.
BbFttshoelastScreenshot5.png
BbFttshoelastScreenshot4.png

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 was the "final" product after a few hours of digital sculpting.
*
BbFttshoelastScreenshot.png
BbFttshoelastScreenshot1.png
BbFttshoelastScreenshot2.png
BbFttshoelastScreenshot3.png
BbFttshoelastScreenshot6.png

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.
I then printed this last to get a feel for what I was working with in the real world, made some notes, and got back to work. This time, I used a photo from the PP2 Kenner shoot to compare the outline of my last with the original boot. Here was the result with Last V2...
PP2 shoe last v2 outline.png

I took more notes and got back to work again until it looked like this...
PP2 Perfect Outline.png

I was quite pleased with this, so here it is... the Boba Fett Screen Accurate Shoe Last as it currently stands: Version 3
Boba Fett Shoe Last V3 #1.png
Boba Fett Shoe Last V3 #2.png
Boba Fett Shoe Last V3 #3.png

The next step in the process is to print this one out and see if there's any issues, then I can start patterning out the fabric and get this show on the road!
 
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