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No-one knows why smoking boots always remain, no matter how big the explosion. It seems to be just one of those things.

In many less serious works, when a character gets disintegrated, struck by lightning, or otherwise blown away, there is a tendency for the character's shoes to be left behind giving off wisps of smoky matter.

See also Eyes Are Unbreakable for the eye version, and Free Wheel for when the obliterated object is a wheeled vehicle. Compare Empty Piles of Clothing for when there's more than just shoes left behind.

Examples of Smoldering Shoes include:

Comic Books

  • Asterix's punches often have this effect on the Roman Mooks he fights (although he merely punches them very hard, not actually vaporizing them).
  • Subverted in Tintin: The Calculus Affair. Tintin briefly believes Captain Haddock to have been vaporized after receiving a massive electric shock, but he's merely been launched into the overhead chandelier.


  • Happens to Irina Spalko in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.
  • Happened in The Green Berets after a mortar shell hit.
  • In the movie Carry on Henry, the character of Guy Fawkes lights a trail of gunpowder to blow open a wall, however the fuse goes out right next to the barrel of gunpowder, he stupidly goes over to it and drops a lit match on the barrel which then explodes leaving only his smoking shoes behind.
  • In the Three Stooges short "Hula La La", the evil tribesman is conned into striking his sword against a box of live grenades. They explode...and all that's left is a small ditch and his smoking sandals in the middle of it.
  • This happens at the end of the movie "Trick or Treat". A cop shoots a taser at the villain, Sammy Curr. Sammy then grabs the wire and shoots electricity back at the cop. We then just see the cops highly polished black boots left on the road with smoke coming out, his taser gun lands next to them a second later.
  • Semi-example: Timerider (1982). Near the end of the movie, the Big Bad has a fatal run-in with the tail rotor of a helicopter. All that's left are his boots standing on the ground, with his calves and feet still inside.
  • In the silent movie The Cruise of the Jasper B, there is a comedic battle on board a ship at the finale. One character named Wiggins attempts to fire a cannon at an enemy ship but it goes wrong and the cannon itself explodes. After the screen clears we see his empty smoking boots left on the deck.
  • Happens in Addams Family Values. Joan Cusack's character gets electrocuted and all that's left is a pile of ash and her smoking high heels.
  • In the children's programme Time Tremors, the evil Miss Bugley ends up trapped in a magic force field. Trying to get out using her own powers, she overloads it and it blows her up. Her smoking high heels are left behind.
  • In a sketch on The Benny Hill Show entitled "Heroes through the ages", Benny Hill and an enemy soldier begin hurling insults at one another. Benny then throws a grenade at the enemy soldier who catches it. Not realizing he's still holding the grenade he carries on with the insults inevitably for it to explode and blow him up. We then just see a cloud of smoke and his smoking jackboots left where he'd been standing.
  • Hobgoblins, featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000: a character is blown to bits with a hand grenade, leaving nothing but smoking boots. In the same scene, a character is set on fire from head to foot by another grenade. Several scenes later, he's shown to be still alive, albeit with a few sticking plasters and a crutch.

 Crow T Robot: So the result of his complete immolation is.. minor redness and irritation.

  • In Carry On, Follow that Camel, a posh English man and his butler go to join the Foreign Legion. They stand outside and knock on the gate. Inside the troops thinking it's the enemy begin loading their cannons. The door is then opened and before they can say anything they are blown up by two cannon blasts. We hear two screams as the men are blown out of there boots. We just see two pairs of smoking boots in the sand.
  • Happens to the Trooper when he finds the maguffin in the trunk early in Repo Man.
  • In the Three Stooges short "Half-Shot Shooters", the Army sergeant fires a cannon at Moe, Larry, and Curly at the end of the short. All that's left of the boys are three smoldering pairs of boots.
  • In the mind-numbingly bad Razor Sharpe, a straight-to-video vanity piece, one mook is blown to bits leaving only his boots. Yeah.
  • In Never Say Never Again, the unofficial Bond film (oddly enough a remake of Thunderball starring Sean Connery, who played James Bond in the original Thunderball), Fatima Blush is killed by a delayed-fuse rocket propelled grenade fired from Bond's pen, leaving nothing but her heels and marking the first time Bond was seen killing a woman directly in front of him.
  • Befitting its comic book stylings, this happens to an unlucky superhero in The Incredibles, mentioned as part of Edna Mode's "No capes" rant.

 Edna: Do you remember Thunderhead? Tall, storm powers? Nice man, good with kids. November 15th of '58! All was well, another day saved, when his cape snagged on a missile fin! (Cuts to a shot of Thunderhead being yanked out of his boots by the missile launching)

  • Happens to Starscream in Transformers: The Movie, and in the following season of the cartoon we see this reflected in his memorial in the Decepticon crypt.
  • In A Goofy Movie, this happens to Goofy when his car exploded and he was blasted into the air.
  • Happens to a bird in Shrek after Princess Fiona sings it to death, causing it to explode after reaching its highest note, leaving its smoking feet behind.
    • A pair of legs from a knight in Dragon's castle also hints at this fate.
  • Only Buzz Lightyear's legs are left when Zurg blows him up in Toy Story 2. Luckily, it's just a video game being played.


  • In Sourcery specifically says that there's always smoking boots left behind, no matter what causes an explosion.
    • Another more specific instance comes in Small Gods, where it's noted that whenever a philosopher comes in and says the gods don't exist, "We find their sandles later, still smoking, with a little sign saying, 'Yes, we do.'"
    • Smoking boots are also mentioned in Mort
    • Also comes up in Thud! A team of dwarfs are sent to kill Sam Vimes' family. One attacks his wife (who is tending the dragons at the time)...with a flamethrower. The dragons are not impressed. Cue white hot iron boots sitting in a pol of molten sand, and the outline of a dwarf scorched onto the doors beyond.
  • Happens in one of the The Wheel of Time books where Mat is struck by magical lightning.
  • In Turn Coat, book 11 of Dresden Files, this is used as a threat. Ebenezar (Harry's second, better mentor) tells Lara Raith (the life-stealing succubus) that if she touches Harry again, all that will be left of her for her family to bury will be her five-hundred-dollar shoes.
  • In Stephen King's novel The Tommyknockers, two cops are almost completely disintegrated with a science-fiction weapon. All that remains is a single smoking shoe - with a foot still in it.
  • In one of the follow-on books to the David Drake/S.M. Stirling collaboration The General, a young officer hoping to rally his troops against an invasion by expies of Stirling's The Draka is killed by a tank's cannon.

The shell landed nearly at the Imperial officer's feet, exploding in a puff of smoke with a malignant red snap at its core. One of the lieutenant's boots was left, toppling over slowly. The rest of him was splashed across the paving blocks.

Live Action TV

  • In the Supernatural episode "Hunted," Sam walks into a grenade trap set by fellow hunter Gordon Walker. After the explosion, Gordon sees Sam's Smoldering Shoe on the floor. The trope is subverted when Sam walks up behind Gordon and holds a gun to his head. It helps that Sam had recently met a fellow psychic who had foreseen his death.
  • Saw this in an old seventies sketch show but dont remember what it was called. In it a woman wearing equestrian clothing (jodphurs, jacket etc) keeps berating one of her workers, she shouts at him for something then proceeds to light a cigarette with a match, she then drops the still lit match on to a pile of fertilizer which promptly explodes and blows her up, her smoking riding boots are left behind as the man then informs us that it was explosive fertilizer.
  • Six carol singers get blown up by a bomb thrown by scrooge in carry on at Christmas. All that's left is there smoking boots. Oddly they were all wearing the same exact boots, men and women alike.
  • Happens in an episode of TV burp. Jeremy Bowen is debating if the bible is true or false and then gets struck by lightning. Just a pair of smoking sandals is left behind.
  • This happens to several fellows unlucky (or stupid) enough to stand in front of an activating Stargate.
  • In an old commercial for life insurance an older couple are sat in there garden in deck chairs. The narrator explains how important life insurance is at which point a streak of lightning hits the man, there's a brief scream and just his empty shoes smoking in front of the chair. His wife looks on upset.
  • The Myth Busters have tested the Asterix punch and decided that it's quite hard to punch someone hard enough to push them out of their shoes/socks. Not even a bomb blast did it.
  • In an old show called Skithouse a woman is playing hopscotch for some unknown reason. The hopscotch board she's playing on has been booby trapped, she jumps and lands on the last square and as she does it explodes, blowing her out of her high heels. Her shoes are left smoking on the concrete and then were just shown her bare feet sticking out of a tree.
  • Happened in an episode of the bio-terrorism drama The Burning Zone.
  • in the TV serial Revelations episode 1 a young girl is taking a short cut home across a golf course. Before she can get across however, she gets struck by lightning. Her smoking shoes are left on the grass.
  • In an old commercial for 'goody gum gums' an old lady is sitting on a park bench with a bag of gum gums next to her, she puts one in her mouth and instantly explodes. Her smoking shoes are left in front of the bench.
  • This happened in a des o Connor Christmas special. Des o Connor rings someone's doorbell, as soon as the door opens he begins singing Christmas carols. The man in the doorway is not impressed and brings out a miniture cannon on wheels. He fires it and all we see are his smoking shoes on the path.
  • In a nineties tic tac advert, a man and woman are just about to kiss each other goodnight. The man kisses her at which point she turns green and explodes leaving only her smoking ankle boots on the pavement. The voice over states that the man should have had a tic tac first.


  • In The Cranberries' "Promises" video, the cowboy fires at the witch/scarecrow, but she catches the bullets in her teeth. She then opens her mouth and emits a ray at the cowboy, leaving a smoldering pair of cowboy boots.
  • In the madness video 'Uncle Sam'. A soldier runs in to the middle of an island holding a big missile. He then slams it into the ground in front of him, blowing himself out of his boots in the process. His empty boots and a cloud of smoke are all that remains.

Tabletop Games

  • A pair of orc magic boots from Warhammer are said to be all that was left of the warboss Bigged, who 'made his last boast in front of an Empire cannon.'
  • If a Troubleshooter in Paranoia doesn't have this done to him at some point, the GM is not doing his job right.
  • Call of Cthulhu Tabletop RPG, supplement Curse of the Chthonians, adventure Dark Carnival. A man is pulled through the iron bars of a gate by ghouls: when his feet get stuck, they're ripped off, leaving them (still inside his shoes) on the ground. The shoes (and feet) are all that's left.
  • Magic the Gathering usually avoids the prerequisite level of silliness for this, but the joke set Unhinged is almost overqualified in that respect.
  • As the The Order of the Stick example indicates, anyone hit with a Disintegration spell in Dungeons and Dragons 3.5 and failing their save[1] will be reduced to dust, but leave their equipment intact. In earlier editions both wearer and equipment was destroyed, but this led to the spell being wholly underused and hated because most players want to keep their loot intact.
    • But magical items were allowed a saving throw, so everything except boots turning into fine ashes was a possible outcome.

Video Games

  • In a computer game called Kingdom O'Magic, your character finds a pair of boots in the woods, still smoking. Right next to an axe and a stump. The narrator comments that that tends to happen in enchanted forests.
  • The death animation of Spaz in Jazz Jackrabbit II is him exploding and leaving only a shoe behind.
  • In Kingdom of Loathing, killing a hobo with over 500 points of hot damage makes only the charred boots remain. Said boots are collected and can be used as part of a "Scarehobo", which also needs hobo skins, eyeballs, skulls, guts and crotches, collected in the same manner with different elemental damage. Yes - you can literally hit a hobo out of his skin.
  • In the original Doom games, a defeated cyberdemon explodes, leaving behind only its hooves and a puddle of blood.
  • Rise of the Triad has these in its game over screen.
  • In Glover, this happens to the boss of the dinosaur world.
  • The Prince of Persia-esque game Heart of Darkness is an E-rated game whose pre-teen protagonist can be killed in dozens of ways, most of them only leaving his shoes.
  • Frequently seen in the Gremlin Graphics's computer adaptation of Space Crusade.
  • Whenever Crash Bandicoot gets killed in an explosion, he always leaves behind one smoking shoe, and, strangely, an eyeball.
  • Imps in Dungeon Keeper explode when they die, leaving only their feet behind.
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, this happens to LeChuck when the flaming voodoo cannonball he was about to use against Elaine gets knocked out of his hand. A pair of pirates later find the boots and fish them out of the sea, only to get turned into two more members of LeChuck's undead crew when he recorporates from his boots not long afterwards.

Web Comics

Western Animation

  • The Buzz Lightyear game at the beginning of Toy Story 2 has Zurg blasting away Buzz's torso, leaving a smoking, charred cinder on Buzz's waist.
  • In SpongeBob SquarePants, Spongebob, as the Quickster, does this after being accidentally lit on fire. He still says "Much better."
  • In Recess: School's Out, this happens to Principal Prickly (through unexplained means) after sticking his key in the school door. He turns out to have just been teleported, but how that happened is still completely unexplained.
  • In an episode of Beast Wars, this is the aftermath of Tarantulas' death after he is vaporized.
  • Combined with Eyes Are Unbreakable for an Imagine Spot in My Life as a Teenage Robot. Sheldon steals Jenny's blueprints to see what makes her tick, but then Vexus gets a hold of them, and Sheldon realizes he'll have to tell Jenny how Vexus has them. But in the Imagine Spot, when he does tell her, Jenny vaporizes him, leading to the above combo.

Real Life


  1. and not surviving the up-to-40d6 damage
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