One of the most difficult parts about creating a historical costume is choosing shoes. Finding information about historical footwear online is hard enough, but buying Titanic era reproduction shoes can be next to impossible. Shoes are expensive to make and usually need to be sold at very high prices to break even. Finding shoes with working buttons like they had in the Edwardian times is downright impossible.
Luckily, American Duchess is changing all of that. She has launched a new Edwardian Titanic shoe “Astoria,” which is not only very reasonably priced but more importantly accurate in style to the time period. The three crossover straps with buttons, low heel, and a rounded pointed toe throw it right back to the Titanic era. The design is based on a pair of antique 1910 Edwardian shoes similar to pairs found in the Titanic wreckage:
Since writing this a few years ago, American Duchess has expanded into a full line of historical footwear. There are quite a few new designs for the Titanic era. *** Beware of the cheap knocks offs being sold for around $30. They are not good quality. Your feet will hurt wearing them***
Some Advantages of the Astoria Shoes:
- Two color choices are only the beginning. The Ivory shoes can be painted or dyed to any color you like. Match your dress or keep it neutral for all future costumes. The choice is yours. Coloring is not hard and can be done at home (instructions on American Duchess blog) or professionally dyed by a local cobbler.
- They are designed with dancers in mind. The smooth leather soles make these shoes ideal for dancing. Most other shoes will have rubber soles, which are not good for dancing. If you are going to attend a Titanic tea dance or formal ball, these are your best options for shoes. Even for non-dancers they are still ideal, as the leather soles are very durable for any kind of flooring.
- They are built on a B width last, which means they will fit like typical dress shoes. International sizes can be easily found by searching for an International shoe chart and picking your corresponding American shoe size. While these shoes fit true to size, you may want to order one half size up if you like a little extra room in your toes. These shoes were built for modern feet, so needing to make major adjustments to your shoe size is not necessary (thank God!)
- The leather body makes these easy to apply beads, rhinestone, lace applique and other decorations for a one of a kind Titanic shoe. I used stick on rhinestone stickers made for scrap booking to decorate my Astoria shoes.
Possible Disadvantages of the Astoria shoe
- They are NOT available in wide or narrow widths, sizes smaller than 6, or any size larger than 12. Because of the unique nature of manufacturing small batches of shoes, the standard B width is the only option. In the future, more options may be available. I have a medium to slightly wide foot in 6 to 6.5 and I wear a 7 in the Astoria.
- Price. While I find $135 very reasonable for the quality of these shoes, it is still out of budget for many shoppers. If this is you, consider buying modern shoes with an Edwardian look to customize, such as these: