Boots

As is usual in times of war and unrest, boots dominated the footwear worn by men in this period. There is very little evidence, however, that boots were favoured by women.

Thigh boots, which had been popular during Elizabeth’s reign, continued in this period for riding and hunting. These boots were soft, close fitting, and turned down at the knee. They fitted closely to the leg, with wrinkling at the ankles.

The new high-heeled leather boots with spurs replaced shoes in many cases. Until 1630, they were similar in shape to the riding boots of today, but the tops were gradually widened and pulled down, displaying the lace edging of the boot hose.

Beginning in about 1616 and reaching a peak in popularity in the 1630’s were boots for walking. The tops could be turned down, then back up to produce a cup below the knee. This style was especially fashionable early in the period. A more economical version of this style appeared in the 1630’s. The inverted cup top was then stitched on, making use of smaller pieces of leather to produce the boot. This style continued well into the 1640’s. All walking boots were worn with boot hose to protect the stockings from the waxed leather. The hose were frequently decorated with fringe or lace.

Most boots, whether for riding or fashionable wear, still had spur leather, usually with spurs attached. The spur leather on the boot grew under Charles I to a huge butterfly to protect the soft leather of the front of the ankle from the stirrup. This detail could be decorated with pinking. The whole effect was flamboyant, arrogant, and very masculine according to the militant spirit of the time.