Shoes Across the Centuries

  • Jan 1, 1400

    Flat soled shoes are worn

    Flat soled shoes are worn
    Flat soled shoes were made until 1610s, and heels sarted to be added inthe 1590s
  • Chopines and platforms are popularized

    chopines and platforms were known across Europe by 1600 but rarely worn outside Italy and Spain. It was assumed that chopines were made for outdoor wear because surviving examples of this over six inches mules were made of leather and suede.
  • Roses and latchets are popular in portraits

    in portraits, wehre skirts are held clear of the feet, shoes were often decorated with roses or ornaments of silk and lace and the ornaments were made the largest in 1610s to hide the closure of latchets.
  • Roses fell out of favor

    Roses gradually shrank in size because it interfered with the feet movement and disappeared altogether in 1660s
  • HIgh heels shoes become popular

  • Buckles become popular

    the style last until 1730, where ribbon ties are more preferred
  • Sharp and upcurved shoes popularized

  • Footwear receives artistic sense from French

  • Rococo Era established

    By 1730, the light, elegant, feminine tastes of the Rococo era were fully established
  • Blunter shoes style

    By the 1760’s, the shoes point had become blunter. At the end of the period, the toe was no longer upcurving, and had a matched pointed tongue. The heels, at the beginning of this period, were high and thick. The Louis heel, splayed at the base and waisted, was very popular until the 1760’s.
  • Elastic sided boots become popular

  • Heels rise in women shoes

    n 1851, the height had risen to three-quarters of an inch. Only ten years later, the heels reached a relatively staggering height of two and a half inches.
  • Boots design become more various

    By the 1860s front lace boots such as the Balmoral were in fashion, but were soon rivalled by the popular button boots including the Barrette boot with its openwork design.
  • Cloth boots known as Adelaide become popular

    Boots were exceedingly popular for women during this period, but toward the end, there was a change back to shoes for the primary footwear. Until 1860, the vast majority of footwear was some sort of boot. The side lace cloth top was the first seen for popular wear. This boot had a patent cap, was heelless, and could have as many as sixteen lace holes. Other styles soon followed, including cloth boots with a small heel known as Adelaides.
  • prolonged mourning by Queen Victoria after Albert’s death in 1861 popularised dark shoes

    prolonged mourning by Queen Victoria after Albert’s death in 1861 popularised dark shoes
    The popularity increased into the 1880s and 1890s when it was inappropriate for a woman to bring undue attention to herself in public. This required the wear of dark coloured shoes. Black has remained a popular colour for footwear ever since. Cloth topped shoes made their appearance during this era. They were usually black or white satin with a square throat and no heel.
  • Boots and cloth topped shoes become predominant

  • The rise of Cromwell shoes

    The Cromwell shoe, popular from 1885-1900 had a high tabbed front and buckle, taken from the shoes worn by the Puritans in the 17th century.
  • The heel lowered to a more reasonable height and three inches was objectionable.

  • Cuban heels make an appearance

    Cuban heels made their first appearance in 1904. These stacked leather heels at a height of two and a half inches became popular in 1910.
  • Suede become a popular fabric for shoes

  • Pumps become daytime wear

    By 1910, pumps with small heels had come into fashion for daytime wear. In the evenings, high cut shoes were worn, with straps to hold them onto the feet for dancing. Naked extremities were still considered indecent, so only Boudoir shoes were seductive, made from satin and silk, with tulle bows.
  • Decorations of the shoes become more prominent

    When skirt lengths shortened at the end of the war, there was a sudden interest in what was on the feet. Decoration was added to all shoes. Buckles are the favourite, but by 1920, feathers, rosettes, fur, velvet ribbons, lace and embroidery were all used to add interest below the ankles. By the end of the decade, buckles were only a functional detail.
  • Bar shoes and T-straps become popular

    In the twenties, the pointed toe once again fell into favour. Straps were added, and shoes became lighter and finer. Bar shoes became very popular with women, and were the most popular style of the decade. Apart from anything else, they stayed on the foot while dancing. These shoes had a strap going over the top of the foot, and fastened with a buckle at the centre front or side. T-strap shoes also made an appearance in 1920, usually fastening with a buckle. Crossbars were worn with afternoon go
  • A more slender version of the Louis heel appeared

  • The Great Depression, outdoor fad influences shoes

    The new tailored suit, which was fashionable for women’s daywear, required new, more business like shoes. Heels became lower, broader, and more angular. Suede was accepted for use on sensible walking shoes. The new fad for outdoor activity brought sandals into prominence. Starting as beachwear, they developed into party wear, and by the end of the decade, had graduated into eveningwear.
  • Spanish heel is introduced

  • Hollywood influences shoes styles

    The 1930’s proved to be Hollywood’s heyday. The new talkies had taken over and screen fashion became a larger influence than the couture houses of Paris.
  • Rationing and war initiates shoes material alternatives

    The cork-soled, covered platform, and the wedge were high in fashion. However, during wartime the platform and the wedge were stripped of their covering, leaving the cork exposed. For walking, low chunky heels and wedges with laced and buckled uppers were quite popular.
  • war ended and shoes styles become more various

    After the war and rationing ended, light revealing shoes appeared very swiftly. These gave very little support to the foot. In 1947-8, the shoes had a rounded shape; the toes being less chiselled. Wedge soles were still popular, but much thinner than during the war. Strapped shoes appeared, and all kinds of sandals and peep-toes reached a height of popularity after the long years of sensible footwear ended. Velvet, kid, coloured leathers, bright satins, and bronze (a burnished leather) were all
  • Spool heel become popular

    Spool heel become popular
    The spool heel, so called because of its resemblance to a thread spool, was very popular in 1952, and although its large diameter went out of fashion quickly, the circular heel shape remained.
  • Oriental style influenced shoes' style

    In 1954, a craze for all things Oriental hit the west, and Turkish slippers in deep hues appeared. These were often embroidered and decorated with gold beads. Though the craze quickly died, the colours and fabrics of the 1955 lines show how influential the mood had been.
  • Stiletto heels arrived

    The stiletto heel arrived in 1955, with a heel so narrow it appeared pointed. This heel was added to court shoes and pumps, punching holes in sidewalks and hotel lobby floors all over New York until the fashion died out. It was still worn in 1960, but in a much lower and less dangerous form.
  • The invention of wedges

    The court shoe also remained, though it was cut very low at the sides and top of the foot, and was almond toed. Gradually, these almond shapes became more pointed, but by 1958, Dior cut the point off these shoes completely to produce the new wedge shape
  • Lower squat heels displaced stiletto

    In the late 1950’s, lower squat heels began to rival the stiletto, which had reached staggering heights. Flatties with no heel and a flimsy sole were also popular, but mostly for indoors or for wear with trousers.
  • Slip on shoes become acceptable

  • Ethnic african style influences the shoes