In the swinging mid-1960s a stylish young woman would never be caught on a discotheque dance floor without her go-go boots: bold, white, or candy-colored vinyl or leather boots of various heights. Usually worn with miniskirts or dresses, go-go boots were pulled on, laced up, or zippered up, and featured a wide range of heels. The height of the leg-hugging boot was determined by the length of the skirt to be worn with it. Often the shorter the skirt was, the taller the accompanying boot.
The term "go-go boots" emerged from the popularity of discotheques. The first American discotheque was the Whisky a Go-Go, which opened in Hollywood, California, in 1963. At Whisky a Go-Go young women wearing miniskirts danced on platforms or in cages suspended high above the dance floor. They were called go-go dancers. Soon young women across the nation started to dress like them. French designer André Courreges (1923–) introduced what would become go-go boots in 1964. His white ankle-high boot featured a square toe and low, square heel and was worn with dresses hemmed three inches above the knee. It was not long until go-go dancers and then other fashionable young women were clad in variations of the Courreges boot.
Nancy Sinatra (1940–), the singer-daughter of celebrated singer-actor Frank Sinatra (1915–1998), was the queen of go-go boots. Her 1965 pop hit, "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," sold just under four million copies. Photographs and record album covers from the 1960s feature Sinatra wearing white go-go boots and matching white minidress, brown boots accompanying a daring, hip-hugging sweater, and an ensemble of red boots and matching red minidress.
Go-go boots, like go-go dancers, were just a fad. Despite the success of Sinatra's song in 1965, that same year the go-go boot lost its fashion appeal. However, variations of go-go boots remained a part of young women's wardrobes into the 1970s.
Beard, Tyler. Art of the Boot. Salt Lake City, UT: Gibbs Smith Publishers, 1999.