A couple years back we made a stab at developing a men’s historic footwear collection. We did a pump, a latchet shoe, and a boot all from around the 1780s-1810s. To be honest, none of the designs sold particularly well, but in hindsight I think we were a bit limited, and the designs were a bit off. As Matt, one of our lovely team members says, “if we’re not winning, we’re learning.” So we’re learning!
One silver lining of the first attempt at a men’s line was that the *idea* of it was well received. We’ve gotten a lot of requests for more men’s designs, especially as we produced all of the styles in both men’s and women’s US size ranges. Some other great feedback was on how high the men’s sizes should go, and in what variety of calf sizes for the boots.
So time to try again. For 2021, we’ve put together another collection in a more varied time range, size range, and color range. Here’s what we’ve got going on…
Elizabethan/Early 17th c, as yet unnamed (give us your suggestions in the comments!)
This is a great one for a men’s/women’s unisex design, as this was historically the case in the late 16th and early 17th century. Louis XIV is often credited with popularizing men’s high heels in Europe, but they were hot stuff a good 50+ years before the Sun King.
Ivory is a commonly represented color in French and English portraits, possibly because the aristocracy wanted to display their wealth and privilege by wearing white shoes. Black is the favored color among the Dutch and Spanish. Black and 17th century Dutch and Spanish fashion go together like peanut butter and jelly.
As with all our shoes from 2020 onward, we’ll offer a variety of darker colors, not just ivory, promise!
Louis & Nell 17th century shoes
By about the 1640s, toe shapes and heels were changing quite drastically. The mid-to-late-17th century silhouette is very square with a blockier heel. Heels for men and women got higher – this we will give Louis XIV credit for.
Toe shape is very important on this one, but I’m confident we’ll produce something lovely and perfectly wearable. The toe shapes on the original above are quite extreme and very long, but as always with AD shoes, we strike a balance between antiques and modern wearability.
Pompadour in men’s sizes, at last!
This is a must-do for us. We’ve made women’s Pompadours for years up to size 11 and more recently up to size 12, but we’ve had many, many requests from men for this style.
It’s our top-selling design for the theaters and it’s about time those poor male dancers at Company XIV get some Pomps that actually fit them!
Frederick & Elsie 1880s-1920s side-button ankle boot
We’ve had a lot of requests for late Victorian to 1920s side-button ankle boots. This design is ubiquitous for men’s footwear in this period, and it’s easy to see why. They’re so attractive and cover a very broad time range.
I got an original sample from Sam at Overattired and have used it for the last, heel, and pattern of our version. Here’s a pair from The Met that is spot-on as well.
Lawrence & Marlene 1920s-1940s spectator oxfords
Once the gentlemen were over side-button boots, they were onto spectator oxfords.
There are a lot of options in the market already for this style, but I’m hoping we can distinguish the American Duchess version with attention to detail in last shape, proportion, and quality, with vital input from Dandy Wellington.
I’m pretty excited about each of these designs, and that they’ll be available in both men’s and women’s size ranges. This is important for reasons beyond historical accuracy and choice. It’s inclusive of gender identity and size, with overlapping women’s/men’s sizes providing a wider fitting. Our planned men’s size range starts at 6, which is a women’s US 7.5. Men’s width is D.
The plan is for a pre-order this Summer with delivery in Fall. I hope you’re as excited about these styles as we are!
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