Can a shoe change history?

CAN A SHOE CHANGE HISTORY?

THE SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GO GO BOOT

The go go boot is a quintessential symbol of the era from which it originated, the 1960s! In this blog post, we look at the significance of the go go boot. 

ORIGINATION OF THE GO GO BOOT

Over the course of the rebellious, expansive mid-60s into the early 70s, the go go boot was the “go” or IT footwear fashion statement of its time. Go go boot originator, André Courrèges captured the essence of life in the 60s through introduction of the go go boot, “You don’t walk through life anymore. You run. You dance. You drive a car.” Seems like everyone was on the go-go!

Originating in visionary, high fashion in the space themed “Moon Girl” collection in 1964, nearly instantly there were many interpretations of the go go boot by designers such as the Mondrian-inspired, color blocked Yves St. Laurent boots in 1965.

André Courrèges “Moon Girl” collection, 1964 
Yves Saint Laurent, 1965

GO GO BOOTS ARE ALL THE RAGE

Go go boots quickly turned into a hot trend by what one may consider early influencers and iconic designers (such as fashionistas on the streets of London) and go go dancers at the famous club, Whisky A Go-Go in Hollywood, CA.

Fashion designer, Mary Quant on her way to judge a mini skirt competition wearing go go boots
Mary Quant and her Go Go crew in the 60s
The World Famous Whisky A Go-Go

THESE BOOTS ARE MADE FOR WALKIN'

The go go boot was further popularized by pop icons like Nancy Sinatra, “the boots girl.”

In 1966, Sinatra toured with a colorful array of 250 go go boots to promote her hit song “These Boots Are Made for Walking.”

Nancy Sinatra’s hit song made a huge impact! Her enormous hit was in large part responsible for spreading the footwear trend to mainstream consumers by attaching a certain meaning to the shoe. Her song made a lasting impression (“These Boots Are Made For Walkin'” music video has over 142 million views on YouTube). “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’” still provides inspiration and remains a widely used source and celebrated hashtag on Instagram.

GO GO BOOTS IN EVERYDAY FASHION

Within a few years, go go boots made their way into the closets of many a-groovy babe. 

Go go boots made their way into hip babe’s closets, leaving an imprint that would continue not only into the immediate decade (the 70s) but permanently, as go go boots remain a trendy fashion statement to this day.

While the go go boot trend started with designers and icons, go go boots quickly flooded pop culture, and spread to a wider audience of consumers.

Go go boots in a variety of popular styles. Lace-up, floral embroidery, over-the-knee, appealing to a wide audience of consumers. 1970s.

Evolution of the go go boot seen in funky platform boots in the 1970s
Modern go go boots by Zig Zag Goods, IG @zigzag.goods
Image by Groovy Tales Vintage, IG @groovytalesvintage
Lace-up boots by Miu Miu, Spring 2014

GO GO BOOTS ARE ICONIC

Boots as a staple in footwear goes back centuries and the origination is almost impossible to pinpoint. So, what makes the go go boot different? Although the history of boots can be traced back to the beginning of footwear, with the rise in popularity of the go go boot, (for the first time ever), a boot was viewed and worn as something more than just utilitarian footwear. Go go boots became an iconic statement!

Rock n’ roll legend, Debbie Harry in thigh high boots

The go go boot shows empowerment (echoed in the strong silhouette, shape, and height of the boot) as well as fun, carefree, and kinky style (portrayed by the silly, wild dance moves) that emerged as a movement alongside the shoe. 

Diana Ross in an amazing look with golden go go boots, 1967

The massive changes in fashion, dance, and art were only part of the picture as, it was also a pivotal era socio-politically as well. 

Broadly, go go boot wearin’ babes are going places! (Or at least that’s the connotation of the shoe). In a fun, stylish manner, the go go boot symbolizes making moves and an active lifestyle outside of the strictly domestic way of life that was so common in the 1950s. One step at a time!  Go go boots transported babes into a broader, more worldly, free, and empowered existence. 

Iconic actress and vocalist, Juliette Lewis showing us how it’s done. Go Go boots forever!

As new themes emerged in music, art, and social dancing, go go boots reigned supreme as a fashion trend. Go go boots were elevated to an iconic symbol of the 60s, conveying a new spin on what it means to be a babe!

Cher power stance

MAKE A STATEMENT

While go go dancing is cute and a bit freakish (as part of its eye-catching appeal), it’s also a subtle form of rebellion, showing that women are in control of their bodies. And do what they want! And that may include dancing and performing odd, silly moves such as jerks, the pony, and the swim while scantily clad in a fringe go go look, if one chooses to do so. (Keyword being CHOICE)!

The go go boot was associated with movement both literally in the form of go go dancing and also movement metaphorically in the form of cultural and societal advancements. So, in addition to an iconic fashion item, what does the go go boot mean? Or more broadly, what is the significance of the go go boot?

Go go boots symbolize an active lifestyle. Additionally, go go boots were often paired with unexpected feminine or playful fashion articles such as hot pants and miniskirts.

Dancers in hot pants and go go boots
Street fashion showing go go boots paired with mini skirts and a rebellious, playful attitude

The juxtaposition of both power and flirtation resulted in a sense of freedom and recreation. The go go boot turned into a tool for communicating a message about power, activity, and lifestyle. 

The message associated with go go boots gained traction and spread to a global audience. Because go go boots were comfortable to dance in, supportive, trendy, and also symbolized change, the shoe gained status and remains a popular go-to item in contemporary fashion. Once it caught on, there was no going back. Had go go boots remained an exclusive trend in high fashion, the boots wouldn’t have carried such an impact. But the go go boot was created specifically for ushering in permanent change. At the very least in women’s fashion, no doubt. Hence, origination of the go go boot chang ed the course of history for babes!

Check out our Eco-Groovy Graphic Tees which pay homage to the Go Go boot!

References: 

Go-Go Boots: A History Of The Footwear That Ruled The 1960s

Go-Go Boots — Are Go!

Go Go Boots Became Go-To Footwear in the 1960s

The World Famous Whisky A Go Go

3 Comments

  1. Emma

    Love this!! The timing of the emergence of this and how air travel expanded and then you see these boots in the uniforms—it all fits together.

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