Footwear, 1961–79

The footwear styles available in the 1960s and 1970s offered men and women a wide range of choices in heel height, material, color, and design. Some footwear styles were considered ultrafashionable. Among these were go-go boots and feminine styles of shoes, similar to those from the 1920s, which were worn by young women in miniskirts in the 1960s. Fashionable men wore white slip-on shoes or low ankle boots with side elastic or zippers. These styles were available in leather but also in new, soft leather substitutes and other man-made materials. Footwear came dyed in a variety of different colors and was often treated with a glossy finish that made shoes look wet. Similar fads for platform shoes and shiny patent leather and plastic shoes emerged during this time.

Other footwear styles were considered antifashion, including the earth shoes and Birkenstocks worn by people concerned with following healthful, natural lifestyles and the Doc Martens worn first by rebellious British youth known as skinheads and soon by other youths throughout Europe and the United States. In addition to these styles a fad for exercise started a trend toward wearing tennis shoes and specialized running shoes by people of all walks of life. By the 1970s even more varieties of shoe styles came onto the market. People could wear anything from classically styled pumps and oxfords to platform styles in neon shades to sturdier, practical sport shoes.


Lawlor, Laurie. Where Will This Shoe Take You?: A Walk Through the History of Footwear. New York: Walker and Co., 1996.

Pratt, Lucy, and Linda Woolley. Shoes. London, England: V&A Publications, 1999.

Footwear of the 1960s and 1970s was as varied as the clothing worn with it. Reproduced by permission of © .

Doc Martens
Earth Shoes
Go-Go Boots
Patent Leather Shoes
Platform Shoes
Tennis Shoes

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