Historical Chart for timeline of footwear
1600-25 Everyman’s Brogans, latchets with laces.
Boots, also much used
1650-30.1 Square toes, very ling red lined tongues that rolled over, red high heels and large bows.
1660 Shoes replaced boots, heel height 2”, bejeweled buckles of ribbon, rosette on instep, ribbons wired so that they stuck out at the side of shoes known as Cat’s Whiskers or windmill bows. Not the everyday wear of the farmer.
1685 Buckles replaced ribbons on shoes. Brass or Silver.
1690 High heels, long rolled-over tongue, red heels and small buckles.
1700-14 Red heels still in favor, much as in 1600’s
1720 Heels on shoes become flat, tongues broader.
1730 Tongues shorter and gathered in soft pleats on shoes. Small bejeweled buckles, plain brass and silver. Wellington English Jockey boot popular.
1750 Dragoon boots or our Swamp Fox boot. Shoe toes begin to point slightly.
1760 Country people used highland calf-length laced front boots
1770 Boots come back big with Hessian style and turndowns, square flat toe, two-piece construction.
1770 Franklin shoe, high heel6”, came back for few years, heel came straight down in back.
1780 Franklin shoe, low heel, rounder toe.
1790 Russian style boots.
Drawing room slippers or pumps, almost no heel, boots used outside, either turndown type, or Gary Owen type with cut=down back.
1812 Boots with buttons appeared
1815 Low heeled pumps and midcult boots.
1830 Pumps worn indoors with ribbons or buckle, boots shorter, Wellington type, worn under trousers.
1860 Patent leather shoes.
1600 Duck-billed toe, Cuban (thinner) heel, medium height, ribbon or rosettes on instep.
1660 Square toe, high heel painted red, long tongue, rolled over like men’s red lining showed.
1665 Buckles replaced ribbon, brass or silver.
1680 Pointed toe replace square toe
1700 Brocade shoes, high heels, and pointed toe, slightly tilted up. Decorated heels with jewels.
Lower class men’s brogans rough side out. , small buckle. Leather shoe worn with almost anything to 1780. Latchet’s made with eyelet hole for laces or ribbons, no buckle.
1714 Leather riding boots, laced well above the ankle tied in a bow, bootstraps, and vamps with silk rosettes.
1720 Maidservant, plain leather or fabric shoe, low heels, large tongues small buckle, square toes
1738 A shoe of black leather, long vamps and silver buckles.
1740 High heels with very turned up pointed toes.
1750 Shoes with more delicate squash heel turned up toe. Everyday leather in colors.
1780 Heels lower, also slipper type
1790 Shoes pointed toe, low heel buckles gone back to ribbon.
1800 Women’s boots popular, ankle high, laced up front.
1812 Heel-less sandals or pumps. Ribbons criss cross straps up above the ankle. Popular to 1840.
1820 Low demi-wedge heel, Toe somewhat rounded.
1830 Still low slipper and ankle boot. Some boots appeared with elastic sides.
1837 Plain black slippers, heel-less ribbon laced.
1850 Ankle boots very popular.
1860 Kid and patent leather boot.
French and Indian war 1750-56
Rev war 1776
Fur trade area 1790-1840
Civil War 1862
French Revolution 1789-95
War of 1812 1812
History of European and American Footwear, Iris Brooks
Stage Costume Handbook by Prisk
Early American Costume by Warwick
Mode in Costume by Wilcox
20,000 years of Fashion by Boucher
Working Dress in Colonial & Rev. America by Copeland
Costumes by Margot Lester
Footwear A short History, Iris Brooks
Folk costume of the world by Wilcox
One hundred ages by E Evans
Franklin Good for most all of colonial period. Early 1600 high roll over tongues., sometimes red heels, high heel, from 2 ½ to 4” some tied with large bow.
1700 still some red heels, but flat 1 to 1 ½”. By 1730 tongues were shorter but still much above shoe. 1730 saw pleated tongues and patterns cut into edge of tongue. Bejeweled buckles, brass and silver buckles. 1740 mostly black heels, red only in court. 1740 toes begin to point but square toes still seen. 1770 high heels in for about 10 hears, 6”. The heel came straight down in back. With bow tie. 1780 Low heel 1” rounder toe.
Franklin shoe still worn in 1800’s with low heel and medium tongue.
These are common from 1600 to 1800 with little change. The poorer would wear this with the rough side out. Also known as Brogans. Could be tied or closed with a buckle.
Jefferson Bootee ( Civil War Brogan)
Civil War shoes. Common soldier wore rough side out and polished the nap down. The smooth side out makes a good Garrison boot.
With a red heel and red lining, this would be a 1620 shoe. Tied with red ribbon. A rosette could be used for 1700 to 1780. This type shows up again around 1820-40.
This shoe with the square toe was comfortable and used by the working class from early 1600’s and changed little, except for the shape of the toe, into the 1800’s. It was also used by upper class 1780-1820 but with a pointed toe.
This classic 18th century shoe was copied from a brocade shoe. Brocade was more popular but leather was used also. The latchets were closed with a buckle; button and a rosette may have been worn on the vamp. A shoe that would look well with most all 1700 and early 1800 clothing.
Classic two piece gentleman’s boot. The turndown was from four to eight inches and was folded up over the knee for protection from weather, mud and brush while on horseback.
Cuff (turndown) could be any color, red, green, white, buff, russet, or black.
Notes on the straight last that fits either foot.
Early Paintings show Englishmen in left/right shoes and boots. One such painting is shown in the Nat. Geographic article on Early Virginia
/The straight last was for the cheapest shoe from the most unskilled shoemaker.
If you could afford it, your shoes were made to fit you.
As a note of interest on the amount of work that went into the best boots.
There were made of calfskin that had been peeled from the animal’s leg like a sleeve so that no seams were needed. It is obvious that much labor and skill was needed for these boots, no straight last here.
Our boots construction
Two-piece construction, full leather lining, pegged sole, steel shank. Our turn—downs are functional.