Manufacture and Materials

Footwear during this period changed more quickly than has been seen in any period before. Toe and heel shapes varied from decade to decade in both men’s and women’s shoes.

Though this was a period of war in many places, the unrest was not as severe as is had been prior to this time. This caused the demise of boots for everything but riding and military use.

Men’s shoes were still of practical dark colours with a high polish added from around 1725. Occasionally red heels were still worn for court, and red sole edges remained in vogue until around 1760.

Velvet was used primarily for dress wear. For dancing, satin shoes were seen, though fabric was quite uncommon for men’s daily wear. Mules at the beginning of the period were made from brocade. Later they changed to light leathers of assorted colours.

For women’s shoes, fabric was much more popular. Silk and wool were the primary materials. The lower classes favoured hardwearing wool, but this fabric was also used by the upper classes for winter wear. There were few leather and suede shoes in the women’s wardrobe, though the fabric shoes were often lined with white kid.