Manufacture and Materials

It is during this period in which the fashion influence of the world began to shift from Europe. The nouveaux riches in the United States began setting trends in dress and footwear that were exported to England and the European continent.

Sombre colours remained popular for both men’s and women’s footwear at the beginning of this period.

The introduction of rubber led to several new fashion fads in the later part of the 19th century. In the late 1880’s, rubber becomes a novelty for summer wear. In the 1890’s, rubber heels become popular and common.

Steel springs were added in the waists of weak arches for women’s shoes as early as the 1880’s, making them more durable.

The greatest advancement in ready-to-wear shoes was the standardisation of sizes. By 1885, sizes were standard in Britain, with the United States following only two years later. Half sizes as well as several different shoe widths were also created in the 1880’s, ensuring that one could get a good fit without the expense of custom made footwear.