Browse photos

See all photos

People

Subjects

Holidays & Special Events

Historic Events

Military

Wars & Conflicts

Year

Photograph Types

Places

Vintage Shoe Fashion

"These boots were made for walking" - and so were the shoes. But they also were made to be fashionable in their time.

From foot binding in China to the Inuit's sealskin boots - decorated with vertical patterns for men and horizontal patterns for women, foot coverings have varied widely throughout cultures and time. But no matter what the culture or the era, most societies have used a type of shoe (from sandals through high heels) to protect their feet. The use of shoes is thousands of years old.

Some interesting shoe facts:


  • Heels were first introduced in the 1590's - at an inch high. By the mid 1600's, women's heels were 2 - 3 inches high.


  • During the reign of Louis XIV, red heels could only be worn at court - giving rise, throughout Europe, to the "power" status of the color red.


  • In the 18th century, as skirts inched up to the ankles, high heels on women became of erotic interest. At the same time, for practical reasons, the heels of men's shoes became lower - under an inch.


  • By the end of the 17th century, buckles had replaced ribbons laces for practical reasons.


  • Ankle boots - called demi-boots or half boots - came into vogue in the 1800's because of the popularity of "pedestrianism," women walking for exercise.


  • In the latter 1800's, due to an interest in Asian cultures, embroidered silks were used on shoes.


  • At the beginning of the 20th century, shoes became less interesting. Black, brown, and white footwear predominated until the 1920s. Colored footwear was generally worn only with evening dresses.


  • In the 1930's, shoe makers became (fashion) designers and shoes - especially for women - became really interesting. Spectators, oxfords, pumps, sandals, brogues, platforms . . . the designs and materials became endless.



Today, shoes are a great expression of individual taste and can be coordinated with any personal style. But what was popular in the past can be adapted to today - and with the advent of photography we are lucky enough to be able to see what was popular in days gone by.

Select a Tag
A photo of an unknown girl 121 - front
Shared on Dec 29, 2015 by
Taken in .
A photo of an unknown woman named "Bessie" - 139 - front
Shared on Dec 29, 2015 by
Taken in New York, NY in .
A photo of my mother's older sister, Aunt Rose Finkel, as a flapper, in the... more
People in this photo:
Shared on Sep 17, 2015 by
Taken in Barcelona, Barcelona County, CT Espanya in .
A photo of Maria Poirson Carbonell
People in this photo:
Shared on Aug 31, 2015 by
Taken in Barcelona, Barcelona County, CT Espanya in .
A photo of Maria Poirson Carbonell with a doll. Maria was dressed in black... more
People in this photo:
Shared on Aug 21, 2015 by
Taken on .
A photo of Theodore & Fanny Meta (Janssen) Roos on their wedding day.
Shared on Jul 29, 2015 by
A photo of Albert Schekoske and Emma (Marquardt) Schekoske
Shared on Jul 24, 2015 by
A photo of Nonnie Emma McWherter (1926 - 2008)
People in this photo:
Shared on Mar 11, 2015 by
Taken in Cedarville, Modoc County, CA in .
A photo of Annie Jacobs and cousin Gertie Fritz in a Christmas Pageant,... more
Shared on Mar 4, 2015 by
Taken in Palisades Park, Bergen County, NJ in .
A photo of William Russ and Louise Maurer Russ, NJ. Written on back... more
Shared on Feb 8, 2015 by
Taken in Jackson County, MI USA in .
Vera Thamer, High school graduation photo, Jackson Michigan
People in this photo:
Shared on Apr 12, 2012 by
We had an antique store close recently and I "rescued" it, trying to find... more
Shared on Aug 12 by
This photo of Rena Lassiter, Betty Sue Sharp, and Vernon Bell was taken in... more
Shared on Jul 9 by
A photo of Roxane Kursa from a bunch of photos I acquired, researching names... more
People in this photo:
Shared on Feb 28 by
Taken in Steuben County, IN in .
A photo of a boy sitting on a chair , Jefferson Gundrum, age 14 , 1897.... more
People in this photo:
Shared on Feb 27 by
Taken in Philadelphia, Philadelphia County, PA in .
I’ve “rescued” three old photographs identified as Marion KOLLEY or... more
People in this photo:
Shared on Feb 25 by
A photo of Lillie Mae Nail - grandma shopping
People in this photo:
Shared on Feb 22 by
Taken in Saint Louis, MO in .
I've "rescued" two old photographs belonging to the THOMAS Family of St.... more
People in this photo:
Shared on Feb 5 by
Taken in .
I’ve “rescued” an old photograph of Oluf JOHNSON’S children including... more
Shared on Oct 5, 2017 by
A photo of an unknown man, Stewart Country, Tennessee. In 2009 an archive of... more
Shared on Feb 18, 2016 by
A photo of Pearl Striger/Strigler - her wedding picture. Picture found at... more
People in this photo:
Shared on Dec 30, 2015 by