Kinky Boots: An Enduring Symbol in Fetish Fashion
For well over half a century, kinky boots have been a symbol of BDSM and fetish fashion. Fifty years have passed since actors Honor Blackman and Patrick Macnee (who co-starred in the 1960s British spy series “The Avengers”) recorded their single, “Kinky Boots,” which in its own fun, lighthearted way, celebrated the dominatrix-like footwear that Blackman wore on that program with tight black leather. And after all these years, kinky boots (which are often stiletto boots of either the knee-high variety or the over-theknees variety) are more popular than ever. Many pro-dommes and fetish models consider tall boots to be an essential part of their wardrobes, kinky boots are common at BDSM gatherings, and kinky boots are sold by both brick-and-mortar retailers and websites like LeatherLust.net (which breaks boots down into different sub-categories such as knee-high boots, thigh-high boots and platform boots), ExoticHighHeels.com and the U.K.-based FabulouslyFetish.co.uk.
One way in which kinky boots have evolved over the years is in terms of the material used. Leather was the dominant material in the BDSM and fetish fashion world of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s, and to many pro-dommes, fetish models and providers of BDSM erotica, leather still symbolizes all things kinky. But these days, it is also common for kinky boots to be made of latex or PVC.
Colin Rowntree, president/founder of Wasteland.com (one of the most successful, long-running sites for BDSM erotica), explained: “In the mid- to late 20th century, pretty much all kinky boots were hand-crafted masterpieces made from a variety of leather. You really begin to see a transition to patent leather in the 1980s, and then, a natural expansion into vinyl and other shiny synthetics by the 1990s as bondage and fetish gear manufacturers like Joel Tucker at The Stockroom began experimenting with new materials.”
Kinky footwear certainly isn’t limited to boots. Stiletto shoes are also a popular part of fetish fashion, and that fetish was recently carried to a new extreme when Stiletto Metal Works (StilettoMetalWorks.com) unveiled a fetish shoe with a towering 13-inch heel. But the company insists that the shoe does not forsake comfort, noting that it contains a foam insole that is 3/8 inches thick and is covered by deerskin leather.
Along the way, fetish fashion and BDSM have come a long way in terms of social acceptance. Kinky boots occasionally found their way to mainstream pop culture in the 1960s — not only with Honor Blackman and her successor Diana Rigg on “The Avengers,” but also, with the dominatrix-like attire that the Catwoman character wore on the television series “Batman.” In the Velvet Underground’s 1967 song “Venus in Furs,” Lou Reed sang about a whip-toting dominatrix and her “shiny boots of leather.” But overall, BDSM and fetish fashion were much more underground in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s than they are in 2013 (when kinky boots, whips and tight black leather often turn up in mainstream sitcoms and Top 40 music videos as well as major adult film studios). In 2005, the mainstream comedydrama “Kinky Boots” focused on a fictional shoemaker who saved a family business by shifting his focus to fetish footware.
Rowntree pointed out that while “The Avengers” exposed many Americans and Brits to kinky boots half a century ago, that program was hardly the beginning of kinky boots. “Actually, tall kinky boots in modern pop culture and media goes back a lot earlier than ‘The Avengers,’” Rowntree stressed. “John Willie was a pioneering fetish photographer, illustrator, comic strip cartoonist and bondage artist best known for his comic strip Sweet Gwendoline and Bizarre Magazine, published somewhat irregularly, from 1946 to 1959.”
The fact that websites selling fetish boots (either the knee-high vixen boots or over-theknee domination boots) get so specific with their boots descriptions says a lot about how obsessive and detailminded kinksters can be when it comes to boots. SMBoots.com, for example, not only divides the boots it sells into the knee-high and thigh-high categories: it also breaks them down into heels ranging from three inches to 10 inches. The site also has a section devoted to ankle-high fetish boots, but as a rule, fetish boots are known for coming up to at least the knees. And SMBoots.com even breaks fetish boots down by manufacturer (including Funtasma, Pinup Couture, Demonia, Bordello and others).
Asked to gauge the popularity of different types of boots in contemporary fetish fashion, professional domination and BDSM erotica — knee-high boots vs. over-the-knee boots, latex and PVC boots vs. leather boots, stiletto boots vs. platform boots — Rowntree responded: “That really depends on the look that the femdom is going for. Some prefer knee-high, others dig thigh-high. Same with individual taste variations between leather and synthetic/shiny.”
However, the fact that tall boots signify BDSM and fetish fashion to many kinksters doesn’t necessarily mean that all pro-dommes wear them. For example, Veronica Bound (a Philadelphia-based pro-domme and fetish model who has appeared in manyspanking videos for the BDSM site PunishedBrats.com) said that she usually wears neither boots nor shoes in her sessions with clients. “I am the barefoot dominatrix,” Bound noted. “My experience with fetish clothing is roleplay. When I’m the executive, pin-striped suit. When I’m naughty nurse, my whites. In general, though, I don’t wear any shoes or boots at work.” Bound quickly added, however, that one of her interests is sign language for the deaf — and in a sign language class, the miming of putting on tall boots combined with miming a spanking was easily understood as meaning “dominatrix.”
Certainly, the fact that a prodomme/fetish model/adult performer as busy as Bound usually goes barefoot in her sessions underscores the fact that kinky boots are hardly mandatory for dominant women. And at the same time, there are many women who love the look of kinky boots but aren’t active in the BDSM world. Nonetheless, kinky boots haven’t lost their long-standing appeal as a symbol of BDSM and fetish fashion, and Rowntree doesn’t think that they will anytime soon.
“One of the factors that makes kinky boots so appealing not to just submissive men, but kinky folks in general, is it adds a visual element of strength and drama to an already strong and dramatic femdom,” Rowntree asserted. “Just add in a corset, and the image is complete.”