What kind of shoes did people wear in the 1960s?

Updated April 17, 2017

Fashion in the 1960s wrought a dramatic change from the more conservative styles of the first half of the century. Along with the variety of bold, colourful, expressive clothing styles were complementary shoe styles. Shoes were made out of new materials and manufactured in bright colours that hadn't been in use before. Art movements and futuristic trends were as influential as the footwear worn by TV and movie stars.


In the 1960s shoe designers started to experiment with new materials. Leather had started to go up in price and the idea of what "modern" was had changed from past decades. Shoes were being made out of synthetic and plastic materials and zippers were more popular than before. These new materials reflected the change in trends from classic, conservative styles to more creative and futuristic ones.


The range of colours used in shoes exploded during the 60s, also inspired by the Pop Art and space age trends that changed the material. Shoes came in a broad palette of bright colours to match the colourful fashion of the time. Shoes and handbags were also expected to match each other and your outfit, so shoes often came with matching purses. Colourful socks and stockings to complement these shoes were also popular.


In the 1960s, conservative styles were still worn alongside the newer fashions. Stilettos and sling backs were still popular. Slip-on shoes with chunky heels were often worn with trousers. Square toes and thick heels were common on all styles, even tennis shoes. Patent leather with buckles were available but came in more colours than before. Hippies often wore moccasins or sandals.

Go-Go Boots

One distinct style to come out of the 60s was the Go-Go boot. This style was inspired by TV and movie stars, starting as an ankle high boot and moving gradually to knee-high. Go-Go boots were typically paired with miniskirts and considered a "must-have" for the decade. Originally they came in loose plastic or plain leather but as time went on the style became tighter and more form-fitting to the leg.

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About the Author

Rachel Hoover has been a writer since 2003. Her articles have appeared in zines such as "Ax Wound." Hoover holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from North Central College and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.