18th Century Women’s Shoes

Last updated: Jan 7, 2024

Pages elsewhere on this site focus on pattens, clogs, tied shoes, slippers, and mules.

The Annals of Philadelphia describes women’s footwear:

It is deserving of remark, that no females formerly showed any signs of crumpled toes or corns. They were exempted from such deformities and ills, from two causes, to wit: their shoes were of pliable woven stuff, satin, lastings, &c., and by wearing high heels, they so pressed upon the balls of their feet, as necessarily to give the flattest and easiest expansion to their toes; while, in walking, at the same time, they were prevented from any undue spread in width, by their piked form. There was therefore, some good sense in the choice of those high heels, now deemed so unfitting for pretty feet, that has been overlooked. In a word, ladies could then pinch their feet with impunity, and had no shoes to run down at the heels.

Materials noted in the following links refer to what covers (at least the upper) of the shoe.

Slippers & mules

These have moved to a separate page focusing on mules & slippers.

Pattens, clogs, and overshoes

These have moved to separate pages on pattens and clogs.