These Boots Are Made for Walkin’
Before the advent of go-go boots, which arrived in America from Europe in the early 1960s, boot wearing for women was limited to outdoor activities and inclement weather. The go-go boot became a symbol for female empowerment and independence at a time when social equality movements were harbingers for styles and fashions.
I suppose my love affair with boots began one evening in 1966 when I watched sultry and sleek Nancy Sinatra appear on TV singing her Transatlantic hit “These Boots Are Made for Walkin’.” Nancy and her entourage of booted, mini skirted go-go girls pranced on stage doing some of the coolest moves I’d ever seen. They frugged and ponied to the sassy lyrics about how a cheatin’ boy was gonna get walked on by a pair of boots. For the next couple of years I learned to do the pony with the best of them, though I didn’t have a pair of go-go boots to complete the look.
In 1968 Jane Fonda took up the boot cause with her character Barbarella, that naughty space traveling vixen, and it seemed women were asserting their independence and strength like no other time in American history. Wearing bikinis and boots not only became fashionable, it was a profession of woman’s ability to express her sexuality freely.
But the defining boot moment for me was in the sixth grade on the day that Helen came to class sporting a mini skirt and a pair of shiny beige vinyl boots that were longer and sleeker than the go-go boots of the earlier 60s. Helen,a self-confident girl who had matured more quickly than the rest of us, had lanky, long legs which could have launched a thousand ships and a bust line that the puerile population barely noticed, preferring to focus on chubby Pierce Evans whenever he bent over, exposing his butt crack. From that day forward all I knew was that I had to have them and wear them.
Eventually, I got boots similar to the ones that had inspired me, though fashion dictated chunkier, wedge shaped heels in the early 1970s. And like many of today’s women, I enjoy wearing a nice pair of leg hugging boots. And somewhere in the back of my mind as I pull a pair on, I can hear Nancy chiding that boy of hers “Are you ready boots? Start walkin’.”