It is not often that I feel defeated shopping online. The dreadful day occurred when I was looking for men’s Victorian shoes for my husband. He needs a pair to both dance in and wear for outdoor day use.
Being in Nevada, an “Old West” state, men typically wear Civil War military boots or black cowboy boots. These are OK for day wear, but I think they look tacky at a formal Victorian ball. After doing some research, I set out to find a pair of period-appropriate, lace-up boots at a price I could afford.
That is where the feeling of defeat occurred. I looked online and found authentic or reenactor quality $250 plus boots. Even my local western supply outlet only had cowboy boots starting at $175. For a boot that will be covered up by pants anyways, the price just seemed too high to pay. Don’t get me wrong. The quality is probably top notch, but for this budget shopper I know I needed to keep looking.
What I finally found was a miracle. Not only were they inexpensive, but the styles were authentic men’s Victorian / Edwardian boots. A few short weeks after finding these boots online, I was a guest at vintage clothing collector’s home where I was able to take several pictures of authentic Victorian and Edwardian shoes. See for yourself. Stacy Adams Madison boots are dead ringers for authenticity.
Stacy Adams is a men’s shoe company started in 1875 that sells their line in almost every department or outlet store.
The Stacy Adams Men’s Madison Cap Toe Boot series offers some great choices for basic lace-up boots and oxford shoes (late Edwardian era). Black would be best for Victorian wear, while Grey or Brown would be suitable for the Edwardian era (with matching suit of course). The boots have a toe cap design common during these eras and lace-up fully. The best feature is the smooth leather sole which is ideal for dancing, yet durable enough for day wear.
Edwardian Formal Boots
Toe Spat Boot. These boots, with the button up spat style and two-tone option, could have come off a catalog page from 1910. Combining a white top with back bottom was common in the end of the Victorian era to the early 1920s. You can’t go wrong with these boots. They are the ones I selected for my husband.
Although not called Chelsea boots in Victorian time, pull-on boots with elastic side panels were quite common during the era. Most were plain, but some came in two tone shades or with decorative broguing around the vamp. They were easy to slip into quickly, without the time intensive task of lacing or buttoning. When covered with a pair of trousers, you would never see the elastic side panels.
The Chelsea boot never left fashion, but experienced a major revival in the 1960s when it received the name Chelsea boot.
Men’s Victorian and Edwardian Shoes
Finally, if you don’t want a full boot, Stacy Adams carries a basic Oxford in the same style and cut as the boots in their Men’s Madison Cap Toe Oxford collection. These come in every color imaginable. They would do well for an Edwardian through 1950’s historical event. My husband would even wear them to work today. Good style never goes out of fashion.
That’s what I love about shopping for historical clothes. The best never goes out of fashion, making your shopping experience anything but defeating.
One final note: Some comments about these and any new shoes is that they need a few days to a few weeks to feel “broken in.” Don’t wait till the last minute to buy shoes you plan to wear for several hours. Your feet will be very upset with you if you do. Instead, buy the shoes now, break them in around the house, and then dance the night away at the next ball in complete comfort.
Victorian men’s boots and shoes:
More choices in men’s Victorian and Edwardian era footwear. Shop Victorian boots and shoes in the UK here.