Thanks to everyone who voted in the poll to help determine what our next shoe release is.
I’m happy to announce that the winner, by a landslide, is Gettysburg!
We’ll be preparing to release these sweet little boots in a few weeks. In the meantime, here are some original side-lacing, foxed boots:
|Museum of London, 1840s|
|History Up Close, 1850-55|
|Bata Shoe Museum – click through for a podcast, “How Victorian Women Protected Their Modesty”|
|Shoe-Icons, 1830-40 – This is Gettysburg’s closest ancestor.|
|Oakland Museum of California, c. 1860|
|Vintage Textile, c. 1830|
|The Met, 1840s|
Side-lacing boots, or “gaiters,” were fashionable from the 1830s to the 1860s. During this time, women’s footwear changed very little, and only minor shifts in the squareness of toes or the height of the top of bootees occurred.
Side-lacing boots like these, and “Gettysburg,” were meant for outdoor use. The leather applications on the toes and often heels were known as “foxing,” and protected textile shoes from wear – these bits also look extra chic, I think. 🙂 Boots of this shape were also made in satin, but were confined to indoor use.
Most ladies’ shoes of this period had a very short life – they were thin, with thin soles, and often were often made by the lady who wore them. “Every Lady Her Own Shoemaker,” published in 1856, provided instructions and patterns on how to make a variety of everyday footwear with minimal tools and experience. You can get your own little copy from Originals by Kay.
By the mid 1860s, gaiter boots had small heels, and were then eventually replaced by front-lacing and side-buttoning styles.
“Gettysburg” boots follow the lines of these square-toed, side-lacing gaiter boots as closely as possible, though we did compromise in adding a bit more width to the sole through the arch of the foot, where originals would be as narrow as 2 inches or even less. We’ve removed the toe boxes and followed the same seam lines, in an effort to create the perfect Victorian booties for Dickens Fair, Civil War, and other 1830s-60s events.