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Boot fetishism is a sexual fetish focused on boots. Boots have become the object of sexual attraction amounting to fetishism for some people and they have become a standard accessory in BDSM scenes (where leather, latex and PVC boots are favoured) and a fashion accessory in music videos. Boots are seen as perhaps the most fetishistic of all footwear and boots may be the most popular fetish clothing attire.
One of the earliest descriptions of boots as a fetishistic object can be found in Émile Zola's 1868 novel Thérèse Raquin. Actual boot fetishism is described in the diaries of 19th Century British woman Hannah Cullwick, of which parts have been published.
Hermine Hug-Hellmuth described boot fetishism scientifically in 1915. This article has also been published in English with comments by Arlene K. Richards in 1990, as Female fetishes and female perversions: Hermine Hug-Hellmuth's "A case of female foot or more properly boot fetishism" reconsidered.
Boots were used by S. Rachman as a subject for research on conditioning as a cause for fetishism in the 1960s, making men sexually aroused by seeing pictures of boots, but the results have been put into question later, as boots already were very much en vogue for sexually attractive women at the time.
Unlike shoes, boot styles have often appeared as street wear before they inspire fashion designers. Boots are usually seen as a sign of empowerment for the wearer, especially when worn by women. This may be a reason for the connection to BDSM, where boots usually are seen as a statement of dominance. So called boot worship became a common subcultural practice among sadomasochists and related fetishists in the early 20th century.
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