Nineteenth-Century Footwear

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Nineteenth-Century Footwear

Men and women living in the nineteenth century enjoyed a variety of foot covering choices. Men's styles were visible beneath their trousers or breeches, but women's long gowns hid their shoes from sight. Men began to wear different styles of heavy boots during the day. Many of these boot styles were popularized by European military uniforms. By midcentury, women began wearing shorter skirts for walking out of doors and made laced boots or ankle-high boots with inserts of elastic at the side quite fashionable. Men and women needing less sturdy footwear wore leather and cloth shoes fastened with ties or buttons. For athletes, the first shoes made specifically for tennis appeared during this century. Delicate flat-soled leather or satin slippers were preferred by both men and women for formal events and evening wear for most of the century. However, both men and women began to replace their slippers with heeled satin pumps, or heeled slip-on shoes, at weddings and other formal occasions by the end of the century.


Bigelow, Marybelle S. Fashion in History: Apparel in the Western World. Minneapolis, MN: Burgess Publishing, 1970.

Cosgrave, Bronwyn. The Complete History of Costume and Fashion: From Ancient Egypt to the Present Day. New York: Checkmark Books, 2000.

Payne, Blanche, Geitel Winakor, and Jane Farrell-Beck. The History of Costume. 2nd ed. New York: HarperCollins, 1992.

Buttoned Shoes
Tennis Shoes

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Nineteenth-Century Footwear

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Nineteenth-Century Footwear