Men's Shoes

When Charles II came out of his exile in France, he brought the fashion of shoes with long square toes. By 1676, these square toes began to be blocked, giving the toe a curved, classical shape.

The heels of men’s shoes were quite high, made of wood and covered with leather that matched or contrasted the colour of the uppers. Stacked heels were also common for men. Up to 1700, these heels were quite slender.

Latchet ties continued to be used on men’s shoes, but the popularity of open sides declined. Ribbon ties were very popular during the reign of Charles II in England but in around 1690 the floppy and butterfly bows changed to a much stiffer, formalised wide bow. Until about 1710, this bow projected beyond the shoe.

From the latchet tie a buckle arrangement was adopted. The buckle had a stud to lock through a hole in the latchet. The other strap was then cut longer to fasten the shoe. Both straps tended to be narrow, and the buckle could appear either on the side or centre front of the shoe.

When heavier shoes emerged under the reign of George I, a larger buckle became more appropriate. Two sets of double prongs then became popular. One prong would anchor the buckle on the strap, while the other acted as a fastener.

Throughout the period, the buckle or lace was set high on the instep, with the tongue extending above. During the reign of Charles II, the tongue was allowed to fold over. This was eventually formalised and stiffened with a lining from 1690 through about 1710. The tongue could be cut into fancy shapes, with a contrasting lining adding decoration.

Slippers in mule form were worn for indoors by both sexes. These were made in a variety of colours and fabrics, including velvet, leather and brocades.