While the Grind Boots are able to be equipped at any time, in most games they can also be equipped for asthetical purposes.
Sliding down a rail is automatic as soon as Ratchet touches the rail. The direction is also chosen for him, so jumping onto the end of a rail will send Ratchet backwards. Ratchet can jump over obstacles with the jump button, but if the Left Stick is held left or right while pressing it he will flip to an adjacent rail, perfect for avoiding obstacles or if the rail ends up ahead.
Ratchet can also fire his weapons while grinding in the original title. While with most weapons this is useless, the Pyrocitor and Tesla Claw are both very useful to use since they fire a constant stream of damage which can blow up most mines. Ratchet can aim left or right by leaning as such with the left stick.
Going CommandoThe Grind Boots make a return in Ratchet & Clank 2. Because Ratchet bought them in his previous adventure, he does not have to pay for them in this one, or later titles. Ratchet does not start with them, however, instead they are with Clank at his apartment on Megapolis. Ratchet picks them up once he visits it, along with his old Swingshot.
Strangely the Grind Boots were never seen on Ratchet at the start of Going Commando. It's possible that he either got a new pair, went back to get them before training, or they were in his Inventory at the time.
Going Mobile, Deadlocked and Size MattersThe Grind Boots don't appear again until Tools of Destruction, but grinding itself is present in Ratchet: Deadlocked and Going Mobile. In Going Mobile Ratchet cannot fire his weapons at any time, however he is able to peform a Boost Jump with the Heli-Pack after jumping off.
In Deadlocked, there is an additional grind rail type made via the Grind Cable. These are made by Ratchet's Combat Bots Merc and Green. Ratchet is also able to fully aim and shoot while grinding in this title, although only with the Dual Vipers/Raptors.
In Size Matters, the Grind Boots are given to Ratchet and Clank by the Skyboarder along with the Shrink Ray after beating him in a race on Kalidon (although the boarder is only seen giving him one). This is very fortunate as the Grind Boots are essential for getting past security locks Ratchet has to shrink into. These grind rail segments are much more extensive and complex than normal rail sections.
Future SeriesThe Grind Boots make a full return in the Ratchet & Clank Future series for PlayStation 3, made up of Tools of Destruction, Quest for Booty and A Crack in Time. In all of these titles, Ratchet has the boots from the start, and they function exactly as normal. However they sport small little canisters behind the back of the foot. Their function is unknown, howver they may be rockets used for stabilization.
Because the Grind Boots aren't in A Crack in Time's Gadget Quick Select, they do not appear in the menus of that title.
All 4 One
In Ratchet & Clank: All 4 One, grinding has for the first time been given a variation. The first is grinding as it has always has done, but how the mechanic manages four individual characters on one rail is unknown. The second type is a much faster variation that allows players to move their character from side to side on a thicker rail, so as to avoid obstacles.
For All 4 One, the Grind Boots have been given a redesign, whilst still retaining the design sensibilities of the original (such as a dark red color and a split in the boot for the toes and the heel).
- The black boxes on the bottom of the Grind Boots retract into the sole when on the ground, letting the sole of the boots stay flush on the ground. It is commonly assumed that the rail Ratchet grinds on goes in between them, but in actuality they prevent the rail from sliding on the sole.
- Ratchet is able to grind upwards on grind rails in almost every Ratchet title for no discernible reason, defying the gravitational pull of the world he is on. This is most evident in the spiral section of the Kerchu City Guardian boss.
- It is also notable that in this segment, the grind rail spirals so that Ratchet is upside-down, and yet he does not fall off.
- Because the grind rail sections are linear and predictable as far as what the player will do, the camera often takes more cinematic views and angles in the Future series of games.