Friday Review: Fugawee “Connie” Shoes

Okay, this is as much a post of excitement and *glee!* as a “review,” but I wanted to show you my new Fugawee shoes, and talk a bit about them.

I’ve held off getting proper 18th c. style shoes for WAY too long.  I tried passing off my standard mary jane dance shoes, tying bows around the straps and whatnot, but they were just…not…right…ever.  So I gave in, made the investment, and got proper shoes.

I ordered Fugawee’s “Connie” shoes in “rough,” or suede-side out.  When they say rough, they mean it – the suede is not what we would consider high grade suede, and it’s the only thing about the shoes that I’m not absolutely thrilled with.

I ordered a size 6.5, based on the measurements Fugawee sent, after I wrote to them to ask for a sizing chart.  Typically the sizes run the same as normal shoes you buy in the store.  I could have worn a size 7, as the 6.5s are a bit tight, but I also understand that these shoes have to conform to your feet.  They are straight-lasted, which means that there is no left and right shoe, so when you first put them on they are mighty uncomfortable, but after just a little bit of wear, they start to take shape.  You don’t notice at first until you try switching feet, then it becomes REALLY obvious that they’re already taking left and right shape.  I made a little “L” and “R” on the bottoms.

The really cool part is that you don’t need to buy buckles right away.  Fugawee included four velcro tabs that allow you to turn back the latchets (the straps) and form loops to tie a ribbon through. (you can also stitch down the latchets if you’re anti-velcro)  I love the look of big frou-frou bows anyhow, so this worked out perfectly.  I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to wear them without buckles, so problem solved!

To help them conform to my feet, I put them on with wet socks, and also sprayed the exteriors with water.  It did not discolor or spot the suede at all, but helps it stretch.  “Leather stretch” from the shoe department would also work, and I may give that a try.  However, after only 4 or 5 hours of wear – some walking about, sitting around, etc. – they’ve stretched quite a bit and are pretty darn comfortable.  I imagine these shoes will become a second skin, and be perfect for, well, just about everything!

The shoes are engineered wonderfully.  They are very attractive to look at, and just high enough in the heel to make for a graceful look on the foot.  There is no question these are 18th c. style shoes, but I would not be hesitant to wear them with a modern dress too.  Depending on the decoration, you could also use them for other periods – I fully plan to wear them with the 1660 gunmetal gown, and I’ve seen others wear them with victorian outfits, and I imagine they could also be used for Elizabethan if you dress them right.

All-in-all, I highly recommend these shoes for anyone dressing in costume on a regular basis.  They are very comfortable, super versatile, and well-crafted.  Worth the money, for sure.  Here is the link to Fugawee’s website, and also the link to Ladies’ Colonial shoes:

Fugawee Home Page
Fugawee Ladies’ Colonial Shoes


  • LadyHarriet

    May 7, 2010 at 11:54 PM

    Thank you so much for your review! I've heard other people recommend Fugawees all over the place, but it's nice to see someone go into detail about their purchase!

    Good to know about not needing buckles right away too!

  • Lauren R

    May 8, 2010 at 12:19 AM

    Glad to be of service! I found the same thing, Lady H, lots of recommendations, but not much other information.

    FJ – get a pair! It's worth the investment, and they're so cute you can wear them with modern clothes and not stand out.

  • Gloria

    May 8, 2010 at 5:55 PM

    I have the same shoes, but in smooth leather. I agree, they are well worth the money, look great, and do start conforming to your foot after just a bit of wearing. I have tension buckles, also from Fugawee, for them, so I don't need to punch holes in the latchets.

    I want to try other Fugawee shoes too!

  • Duchess

    May 8, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    I'm thinking of getting or making some tension buckles – I'm going to try some buckles with cockades attached, through the turned-back latchets. Will report later!

    I found the Connies to be the most feminine looking, but there are a couple others that are divine as well. The fabric covered ones I bet are pretty awesome.

  • Gloria

    May 8, 2010 at 10:53 PM

    I was also curious about the Debbie shoes and the Martha ones. My husband has the Franklin men's shoes, and we are also pleased with those.

    I'm interested to see what other ways you try for closures. The idea of cockades is awesome.

  • Anonymous

    June 28, 2010 at 2:21 AM

    So very happy you are enjoying your shoes! Thank you for the lovely review.

    The rough out leather was a period method of manufacture. The split leather and finishing techniques we have today to make what we call suede were not available in period. Our current research show the rough we use is as close to commonly available period leather as we can get. Modern cow suede is made from split (cut down the center) hides and tends to be too thin to match the historical examples we have examined. Another reason is that rough side out leather was used so the texture would take boot black for water proofing.

    There will be an update in the Fugawee website to indicate the difference between rough and suede, sorry for the confusion.

    If you want a replacement for boot black that dries and is fairly durable, you can use Kiwi shoe polish (granted a lot of it) to give you the same look but without the problems of the original. It's not really suggested as the results often are not quite what one might expect (it will never look like a shined smooth out leather and was most often used for heavy boots, not Ladies shoes).

    Rob Ayotte – Fugawee Associate (My Mom owns the company.)

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