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Thigh-length boots, known also as thigh-high boots or simply thigh boots, are boots that extend above the knees. Other synonyms include over-the-knee boots, and especially when cuffed, pirate boots. Lengths vary from reaching just over the knee to reaching almost to the crotch (referred to as crotch boots).
Like all boots, thigh boots are made of different materials ranging from various leathers, to various synthetic materials (vinyl, polyurethane, or latex), to various fabrics (silk, polyester microfiber). Many are constructed with zippers for ease of entry, but some are constructed as pull-on boots. Heel heights vary, but the majority are sold with heels greater than three inches (7.5 cm). Heel styles vary from metal spikes to chunky.
Thigh boots are considered by many to be erotic or kinky. They are used as fetish clothing in boot fetishism and shoe fetishism. They are frequently associated with sadomasochism. They are often worn by prostitutes and professional dominatrices, so many people consider them icons of such trades. Nevertheless, they are frequently sold by couture designers, perhaps because of the implied eroticism.
In the world of women's fashion, thigh boots run through cycles in both popularity and design. Most recently, they were very popular among a handful of designers in their Fall 2004 and Fall 2005 collections. Boots in the collections during this period featured tighter fits, thinner heels, and pointed toes. In the Fall 2006 and Fall 2007 collections, thigh boots were not as popular, and they moved toward looser fits, chunkier heels, and rounded toes.
Couture fashion houses who have favored thigh boots in their collections include the following:
A number of couture shoe design houses regularly include thigh boots in their collections. These designers include:
On occasion, thigh boots find their way into popular culture. Thigh boots are popular with a number of female pop stars as part of their costuming. Stars who have worn them in their acts, on album covers, or in publicity photos include:
- Victoria Beckham
- Kelly Clarkson
- Celine Dion
- Janet Jackson
- Jennifer Lopez
- Katharine McPhee
- Christina Milian
- Kylie Minogue
- Gwen Stefani
- Shania Twain
- Carrie Underwood
Motion pictures where thigh boots were prominent in an actress's wardrobe include the following:
- In the 1990 Silver Screen Partners release, Pretty Woman, the protagonist, Vivian Ward (played by Julia Roberts), wears her black vinyl thigh boots throughout much of the first part of the movie as a symbol of her role as a prostitute.
- In the 2006 Fox 2000 Pictures release, The Devil Wears Prada, the protagonist, Andy Sachs (played by Anne Hathaway), completes her ugly-duckling-to-swan transformation by strutting confidently into her employer's offices wearing a pair of Chanel black leather thigh boots.