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Your Ultimate Guide to Goth Shoes

Welcome to the dark and delightful world of goth shoes!

April 19, 2014
5 min read

Published in collaboration with OtherWorld Shoes

Whether you’re prowling the streets or strutting into the night, goth footwear is made to make a statement. In this guide, we’re diving into everything from towering platforms that scream rebellion to elegant velvet flats for a creepy cute look. We’ll explore the history, styles, and materials to express your inner darkness. So lace up those boots and buckle those straps, and let’s get into it!

Types of Goth Shoes

Whatever style of goth you tend towards, there’s a shoe for you. 

Platform Boots

Platform boots are bold and dramatic, adding height and individuality to any goth look. Originating in the 1970s, they’ve featured in various subcultures including glam rock, punk and of course, goth. 

Over the years, the style has evolved, but platform boots have remained a staple for the goth aesthetic. Whether adorned with spikes, buckles, or with lace-up details, platform boots continue to serve as a powerful symbol of goth identity and subcultural pride.

They’re super versatile, as they complement a wide variety of looks and styles. From thigh high slit skirts to skinny jeans, there’s not an outfit that’s made worse with a platform boot. 

Combat Boots

Combat boots originated as footwear designed for military use. They were first developed to provide soldiers with sturdy and protective footwear for combat situations. Combat boots can be traced back to ancient civilizations such as the Romans, who wore sturdy leather boots for battle.

In the post-(world) war years, combat boots transitioned from the battlefield to the civilian world, where they were adopted by various subcultures and counter-cultural movements. In the 1960s and 1970s, combat boots became associated with the anti-establishment ethos of the hippie and punk movements, worn by activists and rebels as a symbol of defiance against authority.

In the 1980s, combat boots experienced a resurgence in popularity within the emerging goth subculture. Goths adopted combat boots as part of their distinctive fashion aesthetic, embracing their rugged appearance and militaristic connotations.

They’re so good when you pair them with a cute dress for a bit of grungy juxtaposition or double down on the goth vibes – you can do both! 

Mary Janes

Mary Jane shoes are characterized by a rounded toe, low heel, and a strap across the instep, typically fastened with a buckle or button. Initially, they were designed as practical and comfortable footwear for young girls. Over time, however, Mary Janes became popular among women of all ages, evolving into a versatile and timeless fashion staple.

Throughout the 20th century, Mary Jane shoes experienced various revivals in fashion, adapting to changing trends and styles. They were embraced by different subcultures, including the mod movement of the 1960s and the punk and grunge scenes of the 1970s and 1990s, adding a touch of retro charm to contemporary looks.

Mary Janes are the perfect option for a more feminine goth vibe, whether that’s trad goth, Lolita goth or nu goth. 

Creepers

Creepers have a rich history that dates back to the post-World War II era. They originated in the United Kingdom in the 1940s, gaining popularity among soldiers returning from the war. The style is characterized by thick crepe rubber soles, often with a suede or leather upper, and a distinctive chunky silhouette.

In the 1950s, creepers became associated with the Teddy Boys, a British subculture known for their dandyish style and love of rock and roll music. Teddy Boys adopted creepers as part of their distinctive look, pairing them with tailored suits, skinny ties, and pompadour hairstyles. Creepers soon became a symbol of rebellion and non-conformity, challenging the conservative fashion norms of the time.

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, creepers experienced waves of popularity, particularly within the mod and punk subcultures. Mod icons like The Beatles and The Rolling Stones were often photographed wearing creepers, helping to popularize the style among their fans. In the 1970s, punk rockers embraced creepers as part of their anti-establishment aesthetic, pairing them with ripped jeans, band t-shirts, and leather jackets.

In the 1980s and 1990s, various subcultures adopted creepers as symbols of alternative fashion. They were worn by goths, new wavers, and alternative rockers, adding a touch of edginess to their looks.

Stilettos and Heeled Boots

A typically feminine style of shoe, stilettos and heeled boots are loved by goths too. They’re feminine, glamorous and empowering, perfect for any goth style. 

They first came into being around the 1950s, with new technology meaning that the heel became thinner and thinner and thinner. In the sixties, the toe became more pointed too, giving the stiletto its angular appearance. It’s this pointy-ness that appeals to goths.

Gothic boots come in all shapes and sizes, from pointed lace ups that tend towards the witchy to sexy thigh high, high heels perfect for a night out at the club.

Materials and Aesthetics

Leather

Leather, used for clothes, has an alternative edge that’s hard to deny. If you want to sex up or rough up any outfit, the addition of a leather jacket, a pair of trousers or even a leather corset will certainly do the job magnificently. So of course leather shoes are a stalwart of goth aesthetics. 

Easy to style (they go with everything), easy to clean (wipeable!) and they’ll last for ages. You can even get cruelty-free alternatives that use plastic or leather made from fruit leftovers (I know, wild) so even people who are vegan can get in on the action.

Velvet

For the more romantic, glam and trad goths among us, look to velvet for your shoe material of choice. Whether you go for velvet platform boots or a Mary Jane style, velvet adds a sense of luxury to any outfit. Not as hard wearing as leather, velvet shoes are definitely best saved for special occasions or for when you’re really turning a look. 

Velvet looks particularly delicious in rich, jewel tones as well as black.

Patent Leather

With a glossy finish and a shiny allure, patent leather shoes add a little something-something to any outfit. It’s leather that’s been coated in acrylic to make it super lustrous and shiny. It used to be associated with the elite, but has since become more of a counter-culture kinky vibe, along with things like latex. 

Definitely think about patent leather shoes for a sexy goth look. 

Studs, Buckles, and Chains

These iconic embellishments can make any shoe feel more goth. Whether it’s leather or velvet, studs and chains, and buckles perhaps to a lesser extent, make your footwear read more goth. You could look for shoes that have been designed with these accouterments included, or customise a basic shoe yourself.

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Hi, I’m Darcie.

Bound in Bone is my goth fashion and lifestyle blog. I like to write about dark outfits, spooky interiors and the goth lifestyle in general. You’ll find everything from alternative markets to what to wear to the gym, and more!

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