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They look nice, and the companies that make patch cables can sell them for more money. Also, when you pull a cable back through a nest of other wires the boot keeps the locking tab on the plug from getting snagged and broken off. (That probably isn't a big concern for most home networks!)

Do boots keep dust out? Possibly, but a jack with a plug in it shouldn't be getting stuff in there anyway... it's the empty jacks that collect lint.
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