Boots before Corsets: the Steampunk Shoe Fetish (Part Two)

Detail of beaded silk slippers from the 1880s.

Detail of beaded silk slippers from the 1880s

In the Victorian period, women didn’t show off their shoes, and they were generally hidden under their long skirts. There were two main types of day-wear shoes worn by women for the appropriate occasion: the boot, and the slipper.

Velvet button boots

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Two-toned laced boots circa 1900

Boots were the workhorse of the Victorian-era women’s shoes. The boot could be made from hard leather and was worn by working women (of all classes) during the day, or could be made from more luxurious materials to create a riding boot or festival boot for the aristocrats and middle class women. The boots could be laced or buttoned.

Leather button boots

Canvas button boots

Even my cat Felix has buttons on his boots.

Even my cat Felix has buttons on his boots.

 Slippers were for everyday wear indoors – if you were wealthy – or festivals and celebrations, like weddings and balls. They could be made of leather or a range of fabrics. They were often richly ornamented.

A selection of decorated dancing shoes

A selection of decorated dancing shoes


Cotton and silk shoes circa 1845–60. As you can see, these would be nearly useless if worn outside.


Filed under Bling, Boots, Fashion, History, Steampunk, Steampunk Aesthetic

8 responses to “Boots before Corsets: the Steampunk Shoe Fetish (Part Two)

  1. Hey there ‘Coggy’ can I impose? I like to think of the people I communicate with regularly as a mutual community. One of those people is having a hard time right now with depression. If you get a minute can you pop over and say a few kind words?

    Her name is Deborah, the link to her last post is here:

    Stuck on what to say?
    ‘Hey Deborah I’m a regular at The Ed’s Journal and I heard you weren’t feeling great, just wanted to drop and line to say hang in there…’ anything like that would be great.

    Thanks in advance if you can and do, not a problem if you can’t and don’t. The Ed.

    Aside from that I can’t believe there was this whole genre? cultural thing? that bypassed me. Since you explained steam punk to me I have been seeing it’s influence everywhere and I say to myself, ‘Ah, Coggy!’

  2. Carol

    Notice how much closer the boots fit than modern boots. Perhaps our ankles would be considered sexy if our boots moulded to them the way Vicwardian boots did rather than the straight lines of modern boots.

    • One of the joys of having cobblers around rather than buying pre-made boots. My great granddad was a boot maker and cobbler. I often wonder – if he were around today – if he would starve, or if he would be as popular as Pendragon Shoes from the Sunshine Coast.

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