By Louise Sleigh
Go-Go boots are a low-heeled style of women’s fashion boot worn since the mid-sixties when fashion silhouettes focused on accentuating the leg. The term “go-go” is from the slang term “go”, meaning something that was “all the rage”; the term “go-go dancer” that first appeared in print in 1965.
Go-go boots are either calf-, knee- or above knee-high boots with a low or flat heel. The style is a very simple shape with a chiselled, rounded or pointed toe. The boot was usually fastened onto the foot by a side or back zipper, although by the Seventies it was not uncommon to find lace-up versions which accommodated a wider variety of calf sizes. Heel height ranges from flat to low 3” shaped, with the occasional two-inch Cuban heel.
Materials were either synthetic or natural. The oldest designs were made from plastic or vinyl in various colours, the most popular being white. Before the introduction of go-go boots, women’s boots were generally worn during bad weather, for rugged activities or for horse riding. André Courréges is often cited as the originator of the fashion go-go boot which was made of white plastic with a clear cut-out slot near the top and was featured as part of the “Moon Girl” look featured in his Fall 1964 collection.
Manufacturers began mass-producing runway knock-offs in contemporary colours and materials. These knock-offs were extremely popular with teenagers, who could be seen wearing go-go boots on both the street and on television dance shows. They were often seen worn by “Dolly Birds” in England during the 1960s. Other famous names associated with go-go boots are Nancy Sinatra, Jane Fonda (Barbarella) and designers such as Mary Quant and Yves Saint Laurent who designed their own versions.
By the Seventies, go-go boots were referred to simply as boots, as fashion trends progressed and maxi skirts and trousers became more popular with only the feet visible. Emphasis shifted to the height of the heel and then along came platforms.
There are many versions of go-go boots that are still worn today, although ‘go-go’ boot is often used to describe any stile of knee-high boot, regardless of heel height. NFL Cheerleaders, including the Dallas Cowboy’s Cheerleaders and the Oakland Raiderettes often wear go-go boots as part of their uniform; high-heeled versions of go-go boots are still worn by exotic go-go dancers today.