Chopines – Platforms of the Past

Chopines are so cool, especially when you compare them to the oh-so-modern heel-less shoes that are currently in fashion.  I guess they’re not as modern as they think. 🙂


How do you gals feel about chopines, then?  Would you like to see chopines added to our shop?  A seedling of an idea – velvet, moderate platform, without heavy trims, so you can decorate your own.  Thoughts?

Here are some originals that are quite inspiring…

Bata Shoe Museum – late 16th c.
The Met – 1590 – 1610
The Met – 1550-1650
MFA – possibly 1740s


  • AuntieNan

    June 19, 2013 at 7:24 PM

    Pretty impressive engineering! I have trouble with my clogs, so I don't think I'm a candidate, but I'm sure these could be a hot item with others!

    On a side note — I do wish you could come out with a line of pull-up black leather MEN's boots, suitable for wearing onstage in productions that are not necessarily completely authentic, but have no lacing or zipper, or at least a disguised zipper! My hubby has a pair from 1980 that are giving up, and I'd love to replace them! Comfort, knee-height, leather interior — I can just imagine American Duchess would do a fabulous job!
    Nancy N

  • Caroline

    June 19, 2013 at 7:49 PM

    About the only time I wear heels is when I'm dressing up (not often) and when I re-enact (AD's Kensies) so I'd definitely pass on these. The originals are certainly better looking than the modern version but still not my thing.

  • Unknown

    June 20, 2013 at 12:15 AM

    I would likely buy a pair because I love the look and the authenticity but I think Pattens would be more useful. I think 1600's shoes would be fantastic but you'd have better sales with a different type and style.

  • Anonymous

    June 20, 2013 at 11:27 PM


    I have always wanted a pair and the usual method of making them yourself from cork yoga blocks just does not work for my enormous feet! I have always wanted a pair, but they are the most difficult shoe to come across. No one really manufactures anything even close and they are arduous to make yourself unless you have a woodworking shop/tools available. I understand that many people are intimidated by these kinds of shoes, but like corsets, moderation is key. Platforms are so "in" right now, too. If you did a relatively modest chopine at 3 or 4 inches (like the green examples, which happen to be my favorites) made with a durable, simple leather covering, I'd wear them in everyday life! Chopines might not be feasible right now, but as American Duchess shoes grows and expands, chopines could become one of your major flagship offerings since you would be the only company to offer this true historical shoe icon!

  • Nessie

    June 21, 2013 at 8:30 AM

    Not my style either. I would love to see more late 19th to early 20th century shoes with low heels and pretty detailing than a shoe like this you could only wear now and then, or in my case never.

  • Marianne P.

    June 21, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Ooooooh man. My costuming guild is going to do a group activity making chopines this year. It's definitely a nitch that's currently impossible to fill without serious effort right now.

  • Hana - Marmota

    June 21, 2013 at 12:51 PM

    I've just read about them in a book about historical shoes I borrowed from the library – never heard about them before. Isn't it funny?
    The book says, though, that ladies who wore particularly high chopines had to be accompanied by servants at all times… You would definitely have to make sure yours were more practical!
    (Not my style, either, though.)

  • Ash

    June 21, 2013 at 6:06 PM

    I would LOVE a pair! (I'm a big fan of the heelless cantilever shoes too, though – it has to be said, when you get a good pair that fit and are properly balanced, you can barely tell you're not wearing a regular pair of shoes)

  • Isabella

    July 4, 2013 at 6:03 PM

    Although I love this style and this period, I agree that pattens (which were worn from the middle ages into the 19th C) would be far more practical in most situations. I can't see wearing this style outside – where most SCA events are held. Since I'd be wearing these mostly to SCA events, it would be hard to justify buying a pair when I could wear them maybe once a year at 12th Night – the only inside SCA event.

    I'd also like to see some nice mules of the period maybe out of a tapestry cloth?

  • Unknown

    December 23, 2013 at 4:09 AM

    YES!!! I would most definitely buy them – in every colour! I'm currently trying to figure out how to recover a modern pair of heel-less shoes to start, but would love to have a source to purchase the more period-accurate constructed ones.

  • Gabriel

    July 12, 2017 at 6:44 AM


    When I was a little girl, I had a children's book about clothing through the ages, and one of the topics that fascinated me most (along with panniers and Egyptian textiles and silk embroidery in China) was chopines and pattens. <3 I would dearly love to have both, someday.

Leave a Reply

Discover more from American Duchess Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading