Women's Shoes

Up until the 1680’s one can see examples of square toes on women’s shoes. When the men’s toes began to change from a point to a block shape, women’s shoe shapes began to diverge from men’s. Some continued to wear the blocked toe, but most decided that the point was more elegant.

The heels of women’s shoes, like the men’s, were slender and quite high. The sides of women’s shoes became closed soon after the beginning of the period, though men’s shoes continued to be open until about 1680.

Latchet ties were popular with women’s shoes throughout the period. Women did not adopt the buckles worn by men since the expense was so great and the shoes were so rarely seen under the long skirts. Also, the prongs of the buckles tended to catch on the hem of a petticoat or dress, making the ornament quite inconvenient.

Women wore clogs and pattens during this period. The clog was a small wooden wedge that fit under the arch of the shoe. It was covered with strong leather, and extended under the ball and toe of the foot. The heel end had a socket into which the shoe heel would fit. The whole shoe was underlain by a flat sole, which prevented the shoe heel from digging into the ground. The galosh or slap sole had become quite unpopular with women early in this period. When a galosh was worn, a latchet tied over the shoe and was usually covered in brocade of a similar material to the shoe. Pattens were very similar to clogs with the addition of an iron ring underneath to raise the wearer even further.

As was popular for men, mule type slippers of fine fabrics were the favourite for indoor wear.