Men's Shoes

The footwear of this period harmonized with the spreading width of the costume. The wide square toe of the previous period continued to grow in width, mimicking the shoulders of the man's costume.

Men's and women's shoes were very similar, but the width of the toe was more exaggerated in men's shoes.

The square broad toe which had emerged in the previous period continued to grow in width throughout the Early Mannerist Renaissance until mid-century, when Queen Mary passed a law limiting the width to six inches. The main feature of the shoe was the slashing of the leather so that a coloured lining could be pulled through the slits for decoration. These duck-billed shoes were cut very low at the sides, offering little protection against the weather or dirty streets of Europe.

Gradually, the width of the toe increased, reaching a peak around the death of Henry VIII. At this time, the toes were often eight or nine inches in width, stuffed with moss or hair to keep their shape. During Mary's reign, a law was passed limiting the width of the toe to six inches, leading to the demise of this ridiculous fashion.

By the end of the period, slimmer shapes such as the low cut escaffignons, which were wide and puffed at the toes, were replacing the duck-billed shoe.

A leather galosh with a wooden sole was the general foot covering of the poor. These could be of a boot or low-shoe form. The work shoe of the peasants in France and the Low Countries was the clumsy sabot, shaped from a solid block of wood. A carved and painted version of this shoe was worn for dress.