Now & Then: The History of Go-Go Boots

Boots are an essential part of our wardrobe, but they didn’t take off as a fashion look until the 1960s & 70s.

Have you noticed the great shoe switch that has taken place over the course of the last couple of years? Not so long ago, the idea of wearing short boots or booties with skirts and dresses was far from modern mainstream style. As if in solidarity, stilettos these days appear to demand a rough and tough pair of skinny pants in order to feel modern and edgy.

London models wearing Ossie Clark designs and the boots that defined an era.

Boots are an essential part of all wardrobes now, but prior to the 1960s, the concept of a fashion boot was revolutionary. Before the introduction of the knee high-style that became known as Go-Go boots (from the French word la gogue for “joy, happiness”) women’s boots were purely for riding, walking or protection from rough weather.

The boots from the future – André Courrèges’ Fall 1964 collection kicked off the trend for tall boots.

Short boots with elasticated side gussets called Chelsea Boots – named after a well-heeled suburb of London – became popular with the mods and bands like the Rolling Stones and The Beatles. But as hemlines rose, so did the length of the boots. The new calf-contouring boots complemented the new shorter length skirts and drew attention to the legs.

Nancy Sinatra wrote “These Boots are Made for Walkin'” that brought attention to the style.

Designer André Courrèges was thought to have originated the style when a low-heeled, white plastic calf length boot was featured as part of the “Moon Girl” look in his Fall 1964 collection. The Go-Go boot and its subsequent – more-earthbound – incarnations came to define an era of streetwise style that has never ceased to go out of fashion.

The ultimate Boho icon, Talitha Getty wore her white pair on a roof-top in Marrakesh.

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Rowena Ritchie

Rowena is EcoSalon’s West Coast Fashion Editor and currently resides in San Francisco, CA.