Howdy! Today on our “little history” posts, I’ll be giving you some background on our wonderfully exciting new late 18th century and Regency era riding boots.
Oh yes, I said riding boots!
|The stunning Maggie in her 1790s riding habit.|
Boots were a fairly new thing for women in the last quarter of the 18th century. Prior to about the mid-1780s, women wore boots for riding and hunting that were either the same or very similar to men’s boots. (Men’s and women’s shoemaking were two separate trades; women’s boots were most likely made by and for men) Enter about 1785 and the popularity of outdoor activities for women demanded a fashionable yet durable boot.
|“The Masculine Gender,” 1787. Lewis Walpole Gallery, 787.02.02|
The boots from this period track perfectly the style for very pointed toes and short Italian heels seen on women’s pumps and low shoes. We thought it would be great fun to create this kind of boot, so seldom seen. We’ve named them “Mansfield,” after the Jane Austen novel “Mansfield Park.”
Here are some of the original boots that served for reference…
|Leather Boots, 1780 – 95. The Met, 2009.300.1487|
|Boots, c. 1810. Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences|
|Boot, 4th quarter of the 18th century. Musee International de la Chaussure.|
Nicole also studied an original pair of boots in the Royal Ontario Museum, which we unfortunately cannot share photos of. A few more examples and variations can be seen on my Pinterest board here.
I spent quite a lot of time at the factory to get the fit of these boots just right. As a result, the ankles have a bit more curve to them and should be a better fit and the width across the ball of the foot is very relaxed. The pointed toes extend beyond the foot’s toes rather than pinching the toes from the sides.
|Mansfield boots in black leather. 1785 – 1810|
|Yummy, black and green with tiny little heels.|
We’ve done our Mansfields in classic black with black binding and heels, but we’ve also done a beautiful pine green leather trimmed in black with black heels too. The heels are our adorably tiny 1″ Italian heels. Mansfields are made of calf leather with leather facings and soles. The lining is canvas. They have a 3″ wide tongue for adjustment and are historically accurate for c. 1785 – 1805.