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Seven-league boots are an element in European folklore. The boot allows the person wearing them to take strides of seven leagues per step, resulting in great speed. The boots are often presented by a magical character to the protagonist to aid in the completion of a significant task.
Mention of the legendary boots are found in:
- Germany – Sweetheart Roland, Adelbert von Chamisso's Peter Schlemiel, Goethe's Faust (Mephistopheles uses them at the start of Part Two, Act Four ), Wilhelm Hauff's "Der Kleine Muck"
- France – Charles Perrault's - Hop o' My Thumb, Madame d'Aulnoy's The Bee and the Orange Tree
- Norway – Peter Christen Asbjørnsen and Jørgen Moe - Soria Moria Castle
- England – Jack the Giant Killer, John Masefield's The Midnight Folk, C.S. Lewis's The Pilgrim's Regress, The Light Fantastic, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Jenny Nimmo's Midnight for Charlie Bone, Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle
- United States – Zane Grey's The Last of the Plainsmen, Ruth Chew's "What the Witch Left", Gail Carson Levine's "The Two Princesses of Bamarre", Mark Twain's "The Innocents Abroad", Roger Zelazny's "Bring Me the Head of Prince Charming"
From the context of English language, 'Seven-league boots' originally arose as a translation from the French 'bottes de sept lieues', popularised by Charles Perrault's fairy tales. A league (roughly 3 miles or 4.4 km) was considered to represent the distance walked in an hour by an average man. If a man were to walk 7 hours per day, he would then walk 7 leagues, or just under 30 km. In the 17th century, post-boys' boots were called 'seven-league boots'. While some suggest that the '7 leagues' references the distance between post houses (post-boys would only have their boots touch the ground at every coach inn, when changing the horses), this is inaccurate: the distance between coach inns was fixed at no more than 5 leagues.
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- Russian folklore has a similar magic item called сапоги-скороходы (fast-walker boots), which allows the person wearing them to walk and run at an amazing pace.
- Boots of speed are a frequent item in role-playing games and roguelikes. In the Dungeons & Dragons role-playing game, boots of speed are a variation of the famous magical boots. They enable the person wearing them to run very fast. In most cases, as fast as a galloping horse, or bit slower if the person wearing them is slow to move around. The person wearing them must usually rest for long periods after use. They are sometimes referred to as 7 League Boots.
- One League Boots are used by Kay Harker in The Midnight Folk. He takes them from the cupboard of the witch, Mrs. Pouncer, where there are many other magical items.
- Seven League Boots appear in all three of the books of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, worn by the mercenary Verroq. In The Amulet of Samarkand, Bartimaeus remarks that the boots were created in Medieval Europe by imprisoning a djinni in each boot who could operate on a theoretical eighth plane. Because of this, normal rules of time and space do not apply to them.
- Seven League Boots are a library artifact used several times in The Grimm Legacy, authored by Polly Shulman.
- Ten-league boots is a common variant.
- Seven-league-boots are used in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books by the wizards of Unseen University. It is noted that, as their mode of operation places the user's feet twenty-one miles apart, skipping the required preparations leads to spectacular but tragic incidents.
- The character Jack is reported to have attempted to use the boots to win the Boston Marathon in Fables (comic).
- Nostro's Boots of Striding are a legendary item described in Book 6 of the Dragon Warriors role-playing game, having a similar function to seven-league boots.
- Seven league boots is an item in the computer game Ancient Domains of Mystery (ADOM) that reduces the time to traverse wilderness and dungeon squares.
- 7 League Boots (or simply "boots", if the item isn't detailed) are a usable item in the game Ogre Battle: March of the Black Queen. If used, they transport a player's unit to any freed town in the current map.
- Boots of Blinding Speed are a pair of boots in the Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind which allow the person wearing them to run at extremely high speeds, but blind the user during use.
- Ten Pace Boots also found in Morrowind, increase the player's running speed and let the player fall from great heights without taking damage.
- Seven League Boots are used by Princess Addie in The Two Princesses of Bamarre by Gail Carson Levine.
- Seven League Boots are used by the protagionist Giannine Bellisario, in the fantasy novel, Heir Apparent. They are used to travel to a dragon's lair that would have originally taken days, but was eventually undertaken in a few hours.
- Seven League Boots are used by Savant in the Wildstorm comic WildCATS.
- Seven League Boots were used in an episode of Fox's Peter Pan and the Pirates in which Captain Hook steals magical boots from a fairy that allow him to leap great distances and fly in order to make it easier for him to hunt down Peter Pan.
- Seven League Boots were used in the book Howl's Moving Castle by Sophie in order to travel a great distance to Lettie's house.
- Seven Thousand League Boots appear briefly in Lev Grossman's The Magician's Land, created by Mayakovsky at Brakebills South.
- Seven League Boots are one of the magical artifacts used by Loki in Loki: Agent of Asgard. They are apparently able to traverse any surface, including waterfalls, rainbows, and glass.
- Seven League Boots is a 1935 travelogue by American adventurer Richard Halliburton
- Jumping stilts, a device for jumping and running, of which there is a brand named "7Leagues"
- Rocket boots
- Song "Seven League Boots" by Rick and Michael Curtis.
- Song "Seven League Boots" by Zoë Keating (Album "Into The Tress", 2010)
- Goethe (1959). Faust, Part Two. Middlesex: Penguin. p. 216. ISBN 0 14044093 3.
- Jobé, Joseph (1976). Au temps des cochers : histoire illustrée du voyage en voiture attelée du XVe au XXe siècle. Lausanne: Édita-Lazarus. p. 54. ISBN 2-88001-019-5.