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]




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