Footwear Friday: Dwarven Boots

In recognition of the opening of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, this will be “Hobbit Week” here at Cinemattire!

To start off with, here is a close-up of Thorin’s boots:

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All the dwarves wear similar sturdy, squarish footwear, but these are particularly handsome (rather like their wearer!), with their crossed leather straps and embossed metal toe-caps.

Tolkien’s concept of the Dwarves was very much inspired by Norse mythology; even their names come straight out of Old Norse poetry:

There was Motsognir the mightiest made
Of all the dwarfs, and Durin next;
Many a likeness of men they made,
The dwarfs in the earth, as Durin said.

Nyi and Nithi, Northri and Suthri,
Austri and Vestri, Althjof, Dvalin,
Nar and Nain, Niping, Dain,
Bifur, Bofur, Bombur, Nori,
An and Onar, Ai, Mjothvitnir.

Vigg and Gandalf, Vindalf, Thrain,
Thekk and Thorin, Thror, Vit and Lit,
Nyr and Nyrath,– now have I told–
Regin and Rathsvith — the list aright.

Fili, Kili, Fundin, Nali,
Heptifili, Hannar, Sviur,
Frar, Hornbori, Fræg and Loni,
Aurvang, Jari, Eikinskjaldi. [Oakenshield]

….

There were Draupnir and Dolgthrasir,
Hor, Haugspori, Hlevang, Gloin,

Dori, Ori, Duf, Andvari,
Skirfir, Virfir, Skafith, Ai.

(translation: Henry Adams Bellows)

Given this Norse lineage, I was curious to see whether Thorin’s boots might resemble those worn by other northern peoples. Here’s what I found….

The leather could be inspired by ancient Viking boots:

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And the fur could come from Saami (Lapp) boots:

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There’s also some similarity to boots from various northern First Nations, including those from Greenland, Alaska, and Siberia:

http://www.batashoemuseum.ca/collections/permanent/circumpolar/index.shtml

The metal toe caps, however, are (as far as I can tell), purely fantasy-film. And they certainly look grand!

~ costume designer: Ann Maskrey ~

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