AskDefine | Define hobnailed

Dictionary Definition

hobnailed adj : marked by the wearing of heavy boots studded with hobnails; "hobnailed laborers"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Describing something that has hobnails.
    The farmer's hobnailed boots were used in mud and snow.

Extensive Definition

In footwear, a hobnail is a short nail with a thick head used to increase the durability of boot soles.
Hobnailed boots have been used since antiquity for inexpensive durable footwear, often by workmen and the military. They are boots with hobnails, usually installed in a regular pattern, over the whole sole. They also usually have an iron horseshoe-shaped insert, called a heel iron, to strengthen the heel. They provide traction on soft or rocky ground, but they tend to slide on smooth hard surfaces.

In popular culture

  • Hobnail boots were worn by the narrator's father in Lonnie Donegan's 1960 #1 single, "My Old Man's a Dustman".
  • Lou Reed, then of The Velvet Underground, mentions hobnail boots ("Seasick Sarah/had a golden nose/Hobnail boots/wrapped around her toes") in the song "Run, Run, Run" featured on the 1967 album, "The Velvet Underground and Nico".
  • The Beatles song "Happiness Is a Warm Gun", from the 1968 'White Album', features a description of a man with "multi-coloured mirrors on his hobnail boots".
  • In Nick Cave's song "John Finn's Wife", John Finn is described to have "filed-down teeth and a hobnail boot and his fists full of pistols in his pockets."
  • In 2001, hobnail boots were referenced in the Tony Award winning Musical "Urinetown: The Musical" in "Cop Song" as the song goes, "Certainly a season/trample out a treason/with hobnail boots".


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