Gogo boots have gained a slightly filthy reputation in recent years, due to their association with strippers and the sex industry, but this reputation is totally undeserved. They are an important part of any woman’s wardrobe, and it is important to try and salvage their place in fashion history. An item that can be worn with, and enhance, just about any outfit. They are fantastic for enhancing the shape of the leg, and are a surprisingly revolutionary piece of footwear – far from the preserve of strippers and sex industry workers; they are a liberating and eternally fashionable item to slip your feet into.
The term actually derives from a French expression. À gogo, meaning ‘in abundance’ is derived from the ancient French term for happiness, la gogue. This entered the English lexicon in 1962 as a term meaning ‘all the rage’, thus giving Gogo boots their name. But why are they so revolutionary? Well, the whole concept of a mainstream boot for women as a fashion accessory was totally unheard of, as they were worn only to keep women’s feet warm during winter and in rainy weather, and not as streetwear. They were designed specifically to compliment the fashions of the time, with short skirts like the miniskirt all the rage. They accentuated the shape of the leg on display, and also helped cover a bit of the leg – perfect for women who were a little unsure about flashing the flesh.
The designer André Courrèges is widely credited with creating the first ever Gogo boots. It was a low-heeled, calf-high boot created for his 1964 Autumn collection as part of the ‘Moon Girl’ look. These boots quickly became popular, and were soon mass-produced, and became a huge hit with girls dressed in the ‘Dolly Bird’ style in 1960s London. They were usually designed with a zipper up the back, or on the side, and were adopted by teenagers, which saw them worn by dancers on television shows, helping to further popularise them.
This popularity soon saw them become iconic. For example, the boots in Nancy Sinatra song ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’ are widely recognised to be Gogo boots. The boots became a part of pop culture when they were worn by Jane Fonda in the cult sci-fi film Barbarella. Such success saw other designers have a go at making their own version of the boots, with the height of the boot rising as the hemlines became higher and higher, culminating in Yves Saint Laurent’s thigh high garter boots. These in turn gave rise to ‘kinky boots’, calf- or thigh-high boots with a pointed heel, and were worn by Diana Rigg and Honor Blackman in the classic TV series The Avengers.
Nowadays, the Gogo boot has become a huge part of fashion worldwide, so it is important to move away from stereotyping it as a slutty item of footwear. It is one of the most revolutionary items of fashion wear to emerge from the sixties, and a key part of any woman’s wardrobe.