Early Baroque 1620 – 1660
By 1620, the rounded shape of the previous period had given way to a square toe. This shape dominated the entire period. The shoes became more thick and sensible, particularly during the war years. The large open sides seen on earlier shoes also became less popular during the war. Military shoes were, of course, completely closed.
A few pointed toes were seen in the 1620’s and 30’s and were favoured, rather unexpectedly, by the Puritans.
Lace ties were very popular, ranging from elaborate roses made of ribbon lace or silk fabric decorated with pearls or jewels, to simple ribbon. The latter were worn by all classes, with red reserved for the poor. Often on more wealthy men, the ribbon ties matched stockings, sashes or other accessories.
Decoration was added to shoes by pinking the edges or with embroidered floral patterns. For the very wealthy, the shoe embroidery would occasionally match the embroidery on the doublet.
Overshoes made their appearance during this time. These flat-soled shoes with just a toecap were known as galoshes. The flat sole was necessary to keep the heel from sinking into the mud. A few shoes were made with the flat galosh sole attached. The undersole was not attached to the heel, and would slap up and down as the foot flexed while walking. The shoes became appropriately known as slap shoes.
It is during this period that men of royalty began wearing shoes with a red heel to denote their status, and this custom continued into the 1800’s. Footwear during this time could often be an aid in determining one’s religious beliefs. The Puritans, for example, tended to wear more pointed toes than the rest of society.