Women over the centuries have adopted functional footwear and evolved it into a fashionable choice, and what better example than boots? Traditionally crafted for practical protection against the elements and made for workmen, they were created for functionality rather than style. Fishermen, labourers, motorcyclists and hikers are just a handful of examples of the types of people who would have to wear boots as part of their day-to-day, rather than by choice. They were first claimed for fashion by skinheads and punks, then trickled their way into mainstream fashion. Now, you can expect to find a pair of boots in any woman’s shoedrobe!
History of the Boot
It was the 60s before boots were officially recognized as a fashion item, cementing themselves as a winter staple. Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These boots are made for walking’ song only reiterated what women already knew - they needed a great pair of boots! Calf-high, kitten-heeled boots were the go-to after Sinatra’s song became a hit. Backing from Vogue only confirmed the new trend further. As the hemlines started to crawl higher in the peak of the 60s, the boots got more playful, with whimsical colours and PVC booties marking the wearer’s personality. Sure, they were made for walking, but they were made for making a statement, too!
Boots Get Serious
It was the late 70s before boots became seen as a serious fashion choice, rather than a playful PVC experiment for teens. The silhouettes got a little tighter and the fabric rose a little higher, with knee-high boots coming into fashion. Now, women were pairing their boots with tights for a more conservative look that was office-appropriate.
By the 80s people were ready for something new, and ankle boots were born. A sharp difference from the over-the-knee styles women had been donning, the ankle boots proved a hit. Keen to stay in the game with knee-highs, designers removed the heel from their taller boots designs, creating ‘riding boots’ that were comfortable and could be created in fun new fabrics, like suede.
The Year of the Boot
It was the 90s when Vogue announced it was officially, ‘the year of the boot.’ And don’t we all think of the Spice Girls and their platform booties for the 90s? It was officially time for boots to be paired with everything, whatever your hem length. (Nobody cared about being conservative by this time!) Laces were switched out for more practical zip-up styles. Nowadays, boots of every shape, style, fabric and height have been adopted, particularly for autumn and winter. Every year is now the year of the boot.
Socks Not Optional
Don’t forget your socks! When you slip your booties on, wearing socks is necessary to ensure your footwear doesn’t rub and cause blisters. They also help to absorb swear (as great as they look, boots just aren’t as ventilated as sandals!) and will keep the cold out, too. In the olden days they would use footwraps, like the wraps boxers use inside their gloves today but for their feet. Thankfully, socks are readily available to us all now, in fun prints and patterns that our boots can privatise for us!