Shortly after moving to the country, I saw one of these in a neighbor’s basement, and thought it was a workholding device for woodworking.
“No, it’s a boot jack,” he said, doing an excellent job of hiding his surprise that I didn’t know what it was. (City boy, here.)
Out in these rural parts, boots are more common than Nikes, so it makes sense that everyone has a boot jack. What doesn’t make sense to me is their design. You use them like this:
Getting the first boot off, no problem. The part that doesn’t make sense to me is that you then step on the jack with your freshly-exposed sock. More often than not, when I take my boots off, they’re muddy. I assume you’d get fresh mud on the jack when taking the first boot off, then transfer that mud to the bottom of your sock when bracing the jack to remove the other boot. I looked around and every boot jack I saw, despite minor differences in detail, appears to have this same flaw:
I actually think this would make an interesting assignment for an ID student: How would you design a similarly minimal object that gets the boots off, but keeps your socks clean in the process?