Materials and Manufacture

Men and women wore very similar shoes during this period. 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.

The increasing number of settlers in the New World led to shoemakers moving to America to work in wealthy households, though most poorer settlers made shoes for their own families. In turn, Indian moccasins were being shipped back to the Old World.

Shoes were made mostly of light colours, with white dominating. Boots were of darker colours. Browns predominated, but a few grey pairs were seen. Decorative rosettes added the additional colour to footwear.

Leather was the favourite material for both boots and shoes. Many shoes were made on the flesh side as buff or suede, which was worn by both men and women. There are also many references to waxed leather being used, especially for boots. Indoor slippers were made of fine fabric, with silk being the favourite.