At the beginning of the period, shoes were the widely accepted footwear. The buckles which had been popular before the Revolution were discarded, and the latchet tie reappears. In the United States, it can be noted that buckles remain longer than in Europe.
One had a choice of several basic toe shapes for men’s shoes. In 1790, the toes were pointed, though a blunter oval was worn concurrently, and ousted the pointed toe to last into the next period. In 1789, in France, men’s heels disappear. Men complained that they were necessary to anchor down the new long trouser strap, so a small half-inch to inch high heel was added to the shoes. This is the heel that remains for standard men’s dress shoes today.
The lace shoe had become popular, though metal eyelets would not be invented until the 1820’s. With the laces came a very low cut, short vamp, and low heel. These shoes were usually black. The open tab from the buckled shoe remained initially, but soon after 1800, the closed tab (what we now call an oxford) began. This new style required a more exact fit than previous shoes.