Go-Go Boots: A Foot-First Jump into the Wacky World of Mod Footwear
by Glynis Ward
As skirtlines rose in the 60's, so did the height of footwear. Fashion was meant to accentuate the leg during the 60's, and boots were the arrow that pointed the way. The shorter the skirt, the taller and tighter the boot!
For most of the 20th century boots had been worn only in inclement weather were once again being worn for fashion. The earlier, shorter boots, mainly worn by teenagers reflected a very space-age look. The lunar white boots -which were calf-high - were very reminiscent of astronaut boots. They were also much more comfortable than spike-heeled dress shoes, which were popular at the time and made dancing for long periods of time quite easy. Adopted by teen dancers, and first seen en-masse on afternoon discotheque television shows, the boots were quickly named "go-go boots" after the go-go dancers who wore them.
Soon after this time, French clothing designer Andres Courrèges introduced boots to the world of high fashion, and they became internationally stylish, worn by women of all ages.
The difference between women's boots and girl's boots - particularly in America - was seen in the height of the boot and the heel shape. Boots marketed for women tended to be tighter, taller and sexier with heels that were often more shaped and a little higher in height than those for young ladies. Towards the end of the 60's, women's boots were made from exotic materials with unusually placed zippers. Designers like Yves St. Laurent made thigh-high garter boots, which clipped up underneath the tiniest of dresses.
Boots for teenaged girls were often made from more inexpensive products like vinyl made to simulate leather finishes. Heels tended to be very low or flat and the toes (especially in England) were chiseled a la Mary Quant. These boots were simple, with either back or inside zippers and could be worn with both skirts and pants.
By the end of the 60's go-go boots were commonplace. Almost every young woman had a pair in her wardrobe. They could be worn day or night, and even with the new "maxi" length dresses. During the early 70's, lace-up boots were the most prevalent style. The laces provided a better fit for any size calf. As the 70's progressed, boots became, well, just boots. Legs were de-emphasized with longer skirts and the prevalence of more women wearing trousers. Just the foot showed from underneath most clothing, and so the emphasis shifted to the height of the heel and the development of the platform.
Once again popular in recent years, go-go boots both new and old are highly prized by both mod fashion lovers and kinky boot aficionados.
Go-Go boot links:
Go-Go Boots Online - the website of the Go-Go boots mailing list. Lots of photos. "Solemates: A Century in Shoes" - online exhibit by 4th Revolution
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