Why You Should Never Buy Boots of Swiftness, by VVinrar

Why You Should Never Buy Boots of Swiftness, by VVinrar

One of the things that irritates me the most when I play with my friends or with people from our "A DIFFerent View" chat channel is when somebody buys Boots of Swiftness (especially on Ashe).  Almost every type of boot in the game gives you benefits that are worth taking up an item slot -- except Boots 3.  The goal of today's edition of VVinning/A DIFFerent View is to thoroughly debunk the idea that many players have that Boots of Swiftness is an efficient item to buy.  For the cost and the benefit, you can buy any other boots recipe in the game and gain more in effective stats than what you receive from Boots of Swiftness.

**I haven't figured out an accurate way to value Tenacity yet.

The Rationale: Do you really need 20 extra movespeed?

Let's admit it: Even using the most favorable scenario (500g for Enhanced Movement 2) for Boots of Swiftness, you're still paying 150 gold for 20 movespeed in an item slot which can be used for better bonuses; even Ninja Tabi, which costs 150 gold less, increases your effective HP vs auto-attacks by more than a third.  If you look at the item from the entire recipe upgrade, you're paying 650 gold for 40 movespeed, 20 of which you gain automatically from upgrading your basic boots.  I think it's difficult to illustrate how crappy of a deal these boots are without comparing the other MS bonuses you can get in League of Legends.  The more movement speed comparisons you see for Boots of Swiftness, the more you'll understand how inferior this item is compared to the other MS customization possibilities in the game.

Masteries and Runes
If you spec into both of the movement speed masteries, you can gain up to 5% bonus movement speed.  Even on the slowest champion, that's still a bonus +15 MS at the beginning of the game, and improves up to +19 MS by the time you have upgraded boots.  For zero cost, you can nearly replicate the bonuses from buying Boots of Swiftness for free if you bring along these masteries and upgrade to a different set of boots.

If 6 mastery points were actually worth 750g of stats in-game, everybody would be using them.

Even beyond the potential 5% movement speed bonus from masteries, you can add another 4.5% movespeed from Quintessences of Swiftness, giving yourself a grand total of 9.5% bonus movespeed at level 1 before boots (or +29 MS).  Essentially, customization of your champion means you can gain 1.5x the benefit of Boots of Swiftness even before the game starts.  Your money is better off buying stats that are more difficult to prepare for in champion select such as tenacity, cooldown reduction, and magic penetration.

Let's take a real quick look at Zeal. For the low, low price of only 1195 gold, you gain the gigantic benefits of attack speed, critical strike, and most importantly....movement speed.

Looking at Zeal from an item efficiency standpoint alone, you gain 515 gold's worth of attack speed bonuses and 461 gold's worth of critical strike.  This means that you are paying 219 gold for 6% movement speed, which alone gives a greater movespeed bonus (assuming you have boots) than 20 MS difference between Enhanced Movement 2 and Enhanced Movement 3.

If you're going for extra movespeed, and you somehow neglected to bring MS runes and masteries -- don't buy Boots of Swiftness! Nearly every +MS% item in the game gives a better movespeed bonus than Boots 3.

Alternative Boot Upgrades

At first glance to "Upgrade Bonus Table' at the top of this post, you may not see any specific boot that gives superior benefits to the cost.  But the simple fact is that the benefits of the other upgrades are very difficult to itemize for in most standard builds.  With most champions, you can make up for the 20 MS lost from not buying Boots 3 by going through other item paths such as Zeal, Force of Nature, Lich Bane, or Shurelya's Reverie.

It's much more difficult to itemize for the other boots because many of the stats conferred can only be found on items that you need to go out of your way to buy.  For example, Mercury's Treads has been one of the most popular items in the game since beta for one reason and one reason only: there are no viable alternatives to replace the Tenacity bonus through items or masteries, whereas the bonus from Boots of Swiftness is easily replaceable.  Even Ionian Boots of Lucidity (whose 15% CDR bonus can be easily replaced) is viable because most champions would need to delay or alter a build to gain cooldown reduction benefits outside of the Blue Elixir.

Why are Boots of Mobility viable, but not Boots of Swiftness?
Let me pose a question to you: Would you rather have 20 movespeed or 50 movespeed when you need to a part of the map quickly?  The answer should always be the 50 movespeed, especially if you are a champion that relies on the elements of surprise and poor positioning.  It is for this reason that you occasionally see players in higher skill levels with Boots of Mobility, but never, ever, ever Boots 3.  While you can find many ways to get an additional 20 movespeed, it's much harder to make up for the ground lost for not buying Boots 5.

Final Thoughts

In simple terms, the biggest obstacle that prevents Boots of Swiftness from being viable can be summed up in three words: price and benefit.  For the price, the upgrade cost of 650 gold for 40 movement speed is simply not worth it, especially since you gain a 20 MS bonus from upgrading to any other boot in the game.  In terms of benefit, the marginal 20 MS increase you gain from purchasing these boots can easily be replaced by good planning in champion select (runes and masteries) or just by going through standard itemization routes that give extra MS%.

In my personal (and non-important) opinion, there are a few ways that Boots of Swiftness could easily be buffed into viability.

  1. Reduce the cost.  Even if the movement speed bonus isn't that significant, I might consider buying these boots if they were 500g.
  2. Give Boots 3 some kind of additional bonus.  It's difficult to buff the movement since Riot uses the "Enhanced Movement X" system, but a simple fix to the item would be to give the boots some kind of innate advantage similar to Mercs or Ninja Tabi such as "Unique Active: Ignore unit collision for 2 seconds.  60 Second cooldown."
No means no.
TL;DR: Boots of Swiftness suck; don't buy them.  You can easily get 20 movespeed on a champion without blowing 650g on Boots 3.

I hope you enjoyed reading my blog post, please comment below with your thoughts!
-- VVinrar

For more of my work:

To contact me, come to the "A DIFFerent View" chatroom (NA) or drop a line at [email protected]




  • #39 brushtwiceaday

    have you ever tried swiftness boots on tf? its actually pretty good lol. also dont forget to brush twice a day!

  • #38 Arekk

    I strongly support this thing.

  • #37 FlyingPaladin

    Refering to 6 mastery points as "free" is highly misleading.

  • #32 fuzzythinker

    Hey, are there any posts on the different tenacity items and their cost benifits?  If not, can you guys please do one?

  • #29 Xyltin

    I wrote 2 of such articles on the forums, months ago, and everybody who starts thinking abut it comes to the same conclusion: They are a bad choice 99.99% of the time.

    I don't know why Riot doesn't work more on their bad items (Rageblade, Nashors, BoS, ....) to improve itemization, before they release all the new ones.

    For poking champs.
    You may be able to escape Garen very often with BoS, but you won't be able to farm as effective or fight him as with Ninja tabi.
    Wukong and Irelia will always charge onto you, and you need to be able to fight back.
    In mid lane against Karthus, Ahri, Brand, .... MS quints are better, cause you want to avoid the skills early, too. BoS need to much time and are also not as flexible (having the choice of boots is always an advantage in the game).

    Last edited by Xyltin: 7/27/2012 7:08:25 AM
  • #33 VVinrar

    Rageblade and Nashor's are actually very good items.  The only problem is: the stats the give aren't the type of stats most champions want to maximize.  If attack speed or hybrid builds ever come back into the meta, they will be very strong.

  • #36 MerryLane

    Sometimes I feel like Diablo 3's devellopers weren't that stupid, when they integrated the attack speed, crit chance and crit damage, into "DAMAGES", which is used in every spell.

    Then I remind Diablo 3 was really not worth 40 bucks.

  • #40 Xyltin

    There are hybrid builds, but not any with AS + AP (that could also need mana reg or AD). Sure, the overall value of the item is high for the amount of gold you spend, but you would need to utilize all the stats, and that is a problem.

    I like my top lane Taric, and i like these items on him when i don't need to play too much AP or tanky. But even then, these items are not that much better.

  • #28 Iamooty

    Are there any lane matchups where having X amount of movement speed more than or less than your opponent makes the lane much easier/harder? If so, couldn't we say that these boots could be situationally useful if you know the extra 20ms gets you there, after you factor in your masteries and runes and the opponents' mastery and runes?

  • #34 MerryLane

    Of course movement speed matters a lot in every single match ups?

    But most importantly, it is really useful when neither of the opponents have gap closers.
    For instance, as a Darius, you have way easier time to grab some ennemies (even Te emo and Kayle whose range is almost the same than the area of Apprehend), because as soon as they will see you coming towards them, they will run away/kite you.

    Sometimes too it's useful when you face a Skarner for instance, and that you see him coming with his MS boost ready to supress you into his team ... Those 20 MS might save ur ass, sometimes.

    Last edited by MerryLane: 7/27/2012 9:17:38 AM
  • #27 RefreshmentEUW

    Guys don't you get it? Boots of Swiftness are crap.

    Mabye YOU think it's good but the maths shows it's not good.


    Last edited by RefreshmentEUW: 7/27/2012 4:37:54 AM
  • #35 MerryLane

    If you don't get it dude, they say Swiftness is bad most of the time, over other boots available.

    Which is totally true. We just stated examples in which, altough, Boots of Swiftness' extra 20 MS were incredibly useful to get an advantage on the opponents early, allowing us to snowball and maybe carry the game.

    TL;DR : (might be useful for you Refreshment)

  • #26 inb4jelly

    Boots of swiftness are a very strong choice... On Olaf / Darius, they can make you ridiculously strong in lane. Olaf can spam his E to oblivion, and also it makes you so much stronger at escaping ganks.


  • #31 Snuffrix

    It doesn't make you better at escaping ganks... you get CC'ed and slow down. Merc Treads are better for escaping a gank for the CC reduction.

  • #24 MerryLane

    Hm, for instance when I play Darius solotop, sometimes boots of switness are a decent option.
    I'd like to add that I got the masteries most of the time, but not the runes of MS (I prefer flat AD with him).
    Most of the time I also plan on building trinity soon so I grab a zeal quite fast, and even in several occasions I go for the Force of the Nature.

    But let's go back to why I don't give up the idea of boots of switness altough they don't give much. It's basically simple, I "need" the movespeed bonus to grab some ennemies, else they'd just kite me.
    Weither it has its uses during the laning phase when I'm already winning slightly (Facing a Garen or Te emo is helped a lot with this MS), weither it helps me to apprehend once in a while some ennemies when I roam, sometimes you "can" go for Swiftness if you don't fear that much slows or phys damage, and you just want to be able dodge the kitting from the ennemies.

    But yeah, I agree with your point, Swiftness are quite UP, they should merge them with the Mobility boots, or rework them. But u can still sell them back later in the game tho.

  • #23 Katrex

    Usualy yes but sometimes that movement speed is just needed. Think about ap soraka. Even build ap tank shes still squishy you can win but you realy want to be on the edge of your q range all the time. But you will be taking damage. Mobilities are no use. Swiftness really does make a difference. Swiftness + rylais really make you able to play effectively on the edge of combat. I know a lot of people who don't do it. But for me at least it works. I get more kills that i would get with lucidities or sorc shoes.

  • #30 Xyltin

    Use Sorc boots for AP Soraka and take MS quints.

    Nearly same MS, but way more stats (you can only get 10 MPen through quints but 20 through sorc).
    Even using AP quints and BoS is worse than MS quints + Sorc boots (at the time you finish the items).

    And at the same time, MS quints make you also faster early, where MS matters a lot (no team fights, lower amount of CC used, CS, ganks).

  • #41 Katrex

    Quote from Xyltin »

    Use Sorc boots for AP Soraka and take MS quints.

    Nearly same MS, but way more stats (you can only get 10 MPen through quints but 20 through sorc).
    Even using AP quints and BoS is worse than MS quints + Sorc boots (at the time you finish the items).

    And at the same time, MS quints make you also faster early, where MS matters a lot (no team fights, lower amount of CC used, CS, ganks).

    No way Sorcs are wasted, I rather have the extra spellvamp. get a revolver +masteries + runes for a cheap 21% boots of swiftness, rylais/abysal, it stomps your lane and once you're in team fights  you can actually juke people hard getting them to chase you when you're on 200 hp and getting a tripple kill happens all too often. 

    Merc treads are the only other option, it depends on their team. 

    Lucidities wasted getting frozen heart later.

    Sorcs wasted, early team fights you will have the ad negative mr with 1 q.

    Mobilities useless too far in combat

    Tabi are an option against a very heavy physical dps team. Though against such a team I would  rush tabi glacial rylais and forget all about spellvamp and go 0/15/15 with move quints or 21/9/0

  • #22 supportking

    Them rp giveaways <3

    U give us knowledge, and rp...wish school was like that

    But do you not think that boots of swiftness are good on champs that benefit from poking and harassing such as tf.

    And even if you do get movement speed buffs through masteries and quints so can your enemies which cancels it out, the only way to get that edge on movement speed is through boots of swiftness

  • #17 Smokahontuss

    What if you're singed?

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